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Business knowledge

2021 was a year with personal highlights despite Covid challenges

DISH
December 2021

In our last webinar of the year, we looked back on a challenging year, to say the least. But rather than think about the external factors that certainly had a great influence, we focused on internal actions of restaurateurs. Looking back, what would you consider a success? The restrictions urged many of the restaurateurs to try new things, like takeaway and delivery. The unwanted pause during lockdowns was a chance for many to install digital tools. Additionally, those tools also improved to let restaurateurs deal with changing demands of guests and society at large.

 

Strengthen yourself to deal with external factors

To underline the importance of strengthening your own skills and capabilities, our host Jens Ertel, used the image of a football duel. You can only foresee the external situation, your opponent up to a certain degree. You only influence how you train and develop yourself. If you continue to stay in shape and strengthen your agility and skills, you will be well prepared to take up the challenges ahead. In our webinars in 2021 our goal was to help you develop in the areas that you have influence on, to prepare you with all the tools and capabilities you need to be a winner.

 

Observations in the hospitality industry in 2021

Marc Scherr from Tageskarte.io shared his view on the past year. The news portal Tageskarte.io saw an increasing number of visitors this year – “views exploded”. The need for information is very high and the Tageskarte team is aware of their important task to serve the hospitality sector 24/7 with the most essential information and news. Sometimes the new regulations were not directly comprehensible but they wanted to inform the restaurateurs to the best of their capabilities about the changing local guidelines.

Looking into the industry itself Marc noticed a change in willingness of restaurant guests to accept changes and pay more for a restaurant experience. Paying 25 Euro for a pasta dish with some slices of truffle is acceptable. It is also okay to pay 100 Euro for a dinner for two in a restaurant that is not high-end. Marc has seen restaurants that request customers to select a dish from the menu, before coming to the restaurant. This has many advantages for the production planning and can be easily requested via an online reservation system. 

 

What were the highlights for you in your own business in 2021?

Hannes Glass, who is owner and manager of 4 establishments in Austria, immediately talks about the digital tools that changed his business this year. 80% of their reservations now come in online via their reservation system and they even decided to not show their telephone number for reservations anymore. The other 20 % come via Facebook or email.

Their takeaway business  which they established in the first lockdown was easily opened up again in the last lockdown at the end of 2021, simply by notifying their guests of this option via social media. Guests already discovered this possibility in the first lockdown so that communication was very effective. Hannes shared that his business probably earned almost 50 % of their normal turnover via takeaway and delivery, even though it is not a focus for them in normal times. Receiving guests is and will remain to be the primary focus. It had surprised Hannes and his team that it was possible to turn on this almost fully digital business so easily, with great results.

Without having a takeaway business in place, things would have looked much more difficult for their business.


VISTO“ in Andorf, Austria is one of the 4 establishments of Hannes Glass

Pepijn Francot works in his family restaurant and hotel Gerardushoeve in Limburg, the Netherlands. The EHL alumni is very active in gathering knowledge to bring into practice, since he rejoined his family business in July, after graduating in Lausanne, this is also a reason why he joins the DISH webinars. Pepijn is in favor of digitalisation but he also finds himself in discussion with the other generations of his family. Their business relies on seniors who do not always understand the digital tools that well. The biggest focus in 2021 was on efficiency, where could they reduce costs? How to do things faster, where is time to gain? How can they make things easier for their staff? The reservation book was replaced by a digital version . With 400 seats, the 2 telephones were constantly in use, 2 staff members were occupied dealing with reservations. With an online reservation system in place things changed, though completely shutting off the phone lines is not possible with their target group. In this article  you can find some more information on how a reservation tool can help you to better manage your restaurant’s occupancy.

Another successful change was to reduce the size of their menu, to lower the risk of new unforseen lockdowns and to make the production manageable with less staff, which is difficult to find these days.

What 16 million restaurant reservations via DISH in 2021 taught us 

With the DISH tools in mind, DISH sales director Axel Busch shared what he noticed in 2021. Many restaurants realise now that the guest journey starts online and often with Google. Just like for hotels and flights, people nowadays want to book restaurant tables online  and the easiest way is directly via Google. By simply adding your reservation tool to your Google-my-business account, you will attract more guests, even the ones that do not even specifically look for your restaurant.

Reminding guests of their reservation was another aspect of the guest journey that Axel thought about a lot in 2021. Does it make sense to give reservation reminders? Many restaurants ask for a telephone number and make reminder calls. Using a reservation system to automatically send a text message makes this part of the business much more effective and less time consuming. And does it indeed make sense to send reminders in the first place? Comparison tests helped us see that the no-show rate significantly decreases when a reminder is sent either by SMS or email. You can read more about how a reservation system can be helpful in this article .

With the DISH Webinars we look back on a year discussing crucial topics your restaurant should focus on in these challenging times. From takeaway ideas to the digital restaurant 3.0. If you would like to watch back our webinars, just have a look at the DISH Webinar playlist on Youtube.

 

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