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Restaurant Industry News speaks with Fred Sirieix, Maître d’hôtel about the challenge facing the hospitality sector and tips and advice for restaurateurs

Firstly Fred, how has the pandemic impacted you?

Everything stopped for a while. Like everyone I had to adapt and change to get through it

Talk us through your journey into the hospitality industry

Catering college from 16-20 and then I worked my way up to where I am now

How can restaurants prepare for customers’ return?

As customers return – there’s a need to re-establish trust between hospitality venues and guests.

Good hygiene standards and cleanliness is the first thing the customer will experience when they come into any venue. It is your absolute first line of defence.

Hygiene standards are also about offering a high quality experience, which has to be a priority – which includes everything you see, touch and feel. If a customer touches a table that hasn’t been cleaned, or if they see a mop that hasn’t been put away, this erodes their overall experience.

How important will it be to ensure that cleanliness and hygiene standards are the top priority?

The biggest risk to ANY restaurant business is poor hygiene. You simply cannot afford to get it wrong. Research[1] from P&G Professional found 64% of Brits say that a good hygiene rating is now most important when choosing a restaurant, above cost (58%) and customer service (45%).

Ultimately, it’s about establishing trust with your guests. If you are failing at a simple set piece like cleanliness that they can see – customers won’t want to imagine what else could be going wrong behind the scenes…

It’s clear that trust is more important than ever before to ensure diners are happy to return – a study by P&G Professional shows one in three Brits would be more likely to visit a restaurant if staff used cleaning brands they know themselves.

How vital is it to communicate them clearly to customers?

Clear communication means both what the customer sees happening on the ground – but also ways of signposting your commitment to hygiene standards for when it’s not immediately obvious.

For example, diners won’t always see the toilets being cleaned – but they’ll be reassured to know that it happens very regularly. Cleaning a bathroom once a day will look very different to one cleaned every hour.

What is the CleanPLUS experience?

Using products that customers recognise will help to build trust in your hygiene standards.

If your venue uses cleaning brands that customers recognise, such as Flash Professional, Fairy Professional or Professional Microban 24, you can display a CleanPLUS Experience sticker in your window.

We know this makes a difference as these brands are already known by diners as they use them at home. In a recent survey[2] – 43% of respondents stated they are more likely to order food from a restaurant featuring a CleanPLUS Experience sticker.

Talk us through how vital high front-of house standards are

If diners see visible cleaning and good standards being enforced, it shows that it’s a priority for the establishment. If you want people to come back – customers need to know all hygiene standards are taken care of.

Hygiene standards are also about offering a high quality experience- which includes everything you see, touch and feel. If a customer touches a table that hasn’t been cleaned, or if they see a mop that hasn’t been put away, this erodes their overall experience.

How can the restaurant dining experience still be prominent with the measures put in place?

It’s our job to make diners feel secure, but also offer a great dining experience. I believe you can’t provide one without the other.You can’t offer an amazing experience while the front of house space doesn’t meet basic hygiene standards.

What are your three top tips and advice for restaurateurs to ensure a well-run restaurant with the new guidelines put in place?

  1. Hygiene practices that you can see. This is about action on the ground.  When you walk into your venue, are you proud of what you see? Has the pavement outside been swept? Are all the lightbulbs working? When you sit down, can you see greasy finger marks on the table? When you go to the bathroom – have the bins been emptied? Are there watermarks on the taps? These are important questions to ask yourself. Be sure to pay attention to the smallest details.
  1. Communicate what you can’t see. Diners won’t always see the toilets being cleaned – but they’ll be reassured to know that it happens very regularly. A form with signatures and time stamps after every clean, stuck to the back of the bathroom door will help communicate your standards and keep all your staff accountable. If your venue uses cleaning brands that customers recognise, such as Flash Professional, Fairy Professional or Professional Microban 24, you can display a CleanPLUS Experience sticker in your window.

Be consistent. Ensure you have well-established processes that happen without anyone needing to be reminded, and that are never ever missed. Show all staff what standards are expected and make sure they are followed every single time. As soon as a guest leaves, the front of house staff should be completely clear on exactly who will wipe down the table and when, to what standard and knowing which products to use. The team should understand whether the chairs need to be cleaned, when table cloths should be replaced – and crucially – when cleaning products need to be topped up.


[1] One Poll survey of 2,000 British adults, September 2020

[2] The research for Procter & Gamble Professional was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 20 / 11 / 2020 and 23 / 11 / 2020 amongst a panel resulting in 2023 UK adult respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018).

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