Hospitality: How to deal with Christmas “Plan B”

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Worried your business will be adversely affected by the new Omicron Variant rules? Here is how we can help keep you right.

The UK government is offering a constantly changing set of guidance for businesses considering this new variant. Most recent instructions say that we will move to Plan B for hospitality businesses, which includes pubs, restaurants, hotels, and cafes, among others.

Here is an up-to-date accounting of what you need to do to follow the government guidelines in Plan B.

What is “Plan B” and what does it mean for Hospitality?

Plan B is the government’s new set of rules to navigate the British public safely through this new threat posed by the omicron variant. Daily deaths are currently rising again, with 1-latest figures around 150 people per day. Plan B comes into effect this week, which will raise the NHS to alert level 4. This means they will go back to delivering a national service instead of operating as individual trusts, to slow the spread of the virus.

Omicron is currently infecting 200,000 people every day. It is theorised that infections rates are doubling every two to three days.

But what are the New Guidelines and what they mean for Hospitality?

This comes as a crushing blow for the hospitality sector, who are facing a wave of Christmas cancellations considering the new rulings. The guidance for Plan B is that:

  • People have been asked to work from home

  • Face masks must be worn in public places

  • The NHS covid pass is required when in large areas

Nightclubs and other hospitality venues are seriously impacted by this new rule. These rules will be in place until the 5th of January. While it is not a national lockdown, the NHS app is overrun with members of the public seeking their Covid Pass.

The Covid Pass itself has received a lot of negative press from the public, who see it as an infringement on rights of movement. 100 Tory MPs switched sides to protest this, but the mandatory Covid Pass bill was pushed through by the labour party.

Hospitality has received a whopping 25% surge in cancellations due to these new rules. Less customers mean less Christmas takings – reportedly up to £8 billion less across the UK. Hospitality sector experts speculate this could be the final nail in the coffin for many small businesses. Many of our small hospitality businesses were depending on the Christmas takings to get them back on track. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have been facing calls to reintroduce the furlough scheme as traffic in London fell 68%.

The Effect on London Hospitality

Within the city itself, those workers staying at home means less traffic. Less traffic results in less business from those workers. Takings in Central London have been down as much as 40% this week considering the new rules. The Guardian reports an overall 13% drop in trade and a 15% increase in cancellations in the UK. Inside London, which becomes a 25% cancellation rate.

The Guardian estimates that this is a full 40% drop in takings on pre-pandemic years. While the Financial Times echoes that we should be embracing the Covid Pass, the NHS app is struggling to provide them. In fact, as of September 2021, we had only reached half of the hospitality sales generated by the same point in 2019.

What can we do in Hospitality to deal with ‘Plan B’ measures?

Reports are that “Hospitality operators have invested heavily to ensure the safety of staff and customers, focusing on better ventilation, hygiene and sanitation … As a result, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs are safer places in which to socialise with family and friends than at home this Christmas.”

It is clear that the UK government wants the hospitality sector – and other sectors – to enhance cleanliness, follow the rules, and take all possible measures to avoid queues and crowds. This is where Kayana could help you and your business to follow those guidelines safely even if they change.

Kayana can help Hospitality to deal with Covid rules

Kayana is a hands-off mobile app which allows customers to order and pay without ever even contacting a waiter. It works through a QR code on the table, where your customers can scan and browse the menu. They pick what they want, and it arrives to the restaurant’s ordering system. Tickets can go straight to the kitchen without human interference, and food venues can offer a cleanlier service with less cross-contamination.

Kayana lets restaurants, bars and pubs maintain social distancing using its payment settings. It has an innovative split-the-bill feature, which lets groups pay between them and takes the hassle away from the serving staff. There is no need to hand out bills when the clients can simply pay online.

When you use Kayana At The Bar Technology customers can order and collect from the bar, with no waiting in line. They do not need to hand over any cash, further limiting the danger of cross contamination. It has never been more important than it is right now to manage our contamination points. As food and beverage industry representatives, we must keep doing our part or we risk being closed again.

How Hospitality can Implement Effective Long Term Change

Apps and payment systems like Kayana offer long term solutions for changing government guidance. If we can implement a new way of dining where there are minimal points of contact, we can help stop the spread of the virus. In doing so, we can prove that dining is a safe experience that we can still enjoy, even in a post-pandemic world.

If we adhere to the government guidelines (due for review January 5th) then we can hopefully avoid a full lockdown. If the reduction in takings over the Christmas period does not close our vulnerable SMEs down, then they certainly will not survive a full lockdown. We should continue to weather the storm in the hospitality sector, and make sure to stay up to date with announcements. It is still possible that Rishi Sunak will announce measures to help small businesses through this tough time.

Katriona MacMillan

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