Sponsored article: As a result of Covid-19, the spotlight on health, safety and hygiene is stronger than ever. It's therefore even more essential for foodservice operators to create environments where consumers feel safe and enjoy visiting, in order to entice as many customers back as possible.
And how better to achieve this than by ensuring you have the very best in catering supplies. From disposables and hygiene to equipment, on their own they may feel like just a small part of the overall operation, but put them together and they become the core pillars that underpin everything.
Getting back in action
For many in the hospitality sector the past 12 months have led to either a complete shutdown for lengthy periods or being partially open, both of which have resulted in much of the usual equipment not being used for months.
We are seeing a surge in reopening as restrictions are slowly relaxed and consumers are starting to flood back to their favourite hospitality establishments. It's therefore more important than ever to take the time to ensure robust cleaning systems are in place. This could be as simple, but effective as setting up a colour-coded cleaning system to ensure optimum hygiene. For example, ‘red' equipment for toilet use only, ‘green' in catering areas and ‘blue' for public areas, greatly reducing the risk of cross-contamination and providing further reassurance to consumers.
The past year has not only dramatically changed consumers' dining habits, but also their daily lifestyle choices, with Just Eat reporting they it had taken more than 588 million orders in 2020 alone!
Takeaways have always been popular, but they now appear to be taking the industry by storm, meaning it's essential for operators to be tapping into this surge in demand and upping their game on their food-to-go and disposables offering. And, with the increasing number of people working from home, takeaways have not just increased in popularity at dinner time, but breakfast and lunch too.
Looking to create an eating experience that's as great as dining in? Compostable coffee cups, leak-proof lids and deluxe packaging all help to create a sleek dining offering for consumers planning an alfresco lunch, at-desk snack or quick coffee break.
The hygiene journey matters
Forget the days where safe and hygienic operations were run behind the scenes, the pandemic has drastically changed the way people perceive cleaning, with the visibility of cleaning protocols now of huge importance. Consumers also want to know that where their food is made and where they eat is clean and safe, in all life's settings.
This can truly be make or break for the future of a business, with 50% of customers who experience poor cleanliness, admitting they would spread the word – and in this era, this really is reputational damage for outlets' future growth.
It's not just about implementing hygiene and cleaning routines, it's about the impact these have on the customer journey. Take hand sanitiser, for example – are these positioned in places that make sense? Inside the door as you enter is usual, but what we don't often see is having one just outside customer bathrooms. The customer will have washed their hands but then had to touch the door handle to exit, potentially contaminating their hands again.
Thinking through the journey will make a real difference to how smooth and safe it feels. Choosing your sanitiser wisely will not only have an impact on how clean an establishment is, but also on the speed of service and overall experience. A product that kills viruses in 30 seconds or less is the optimum time, having one that takes two to three minutes to take effect will mean a longer than usual wait to sit down at a just-cleaned table.
Let's not forget drying hands, a part of the hygiene journey that many people don't realise is just as important as washing. In fact, hand dryers are not effective in killing viruses and may actively spread germs! Think about how often people use a hand dryer to then end up wiping excess water on their clothing, or just putting up with slightly wet hands for the next few minutes, allowing them to be more susceptible to germs? If you haven't considered switching to paper hand towels, then now would be a good time.
Consolidation is key
Consolidation is a big area of change within catering supplies and is increasingly important for foodservice operators. Being able to order your hygiene and packaging products at the same time as your food goods enables your operation to become more streamlined. One account number, one order and one invoice means the number of orders placed and deliveries coming in are reduced, consolidating time, money and resource. Invaluable when you're working hard to drive revenue and profit.
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