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Refurbishments form an integral part of the hospitality industry. After all, if businesses let their rooms, restaurant or communal areas lose appeal, key customers will start to filter off to competitors.

It’s not just about replacing a broken lampshade here or a cracked tile there. It’s about keeping on top of ongoing interiors trends and making your establishment as visually appealing as possible.

Once a business has made a decision to refurbish a large area, it’s imperative to communicate this refurbishment to staff in the most direct way possible. This becomes particularly important when you’re going to be closing down your business whilst the refurbishment is taking place.

How to let staff know

Sending out a company-wide memo is your first step. This ensures every member of staff is in the know and stops idle gossip.

If you decide to tell some staff before others, it’s natural that word will get out and will lead to questions. Make sure your memo is full of facts and not fluff. How long will the refurbishment take? How will it affect jobs? If the business is closing, will staff still be paid?

These are key considerations that staff will want to know ahead of finding out what the refurbishment will entail (although it’s important to add details on which areas will be refurbished as part of the first memo, too).

It’s worth setting up a dedicated email address or person to direct queries to. That way, staff will feel as though they can ask questions in a collaborative fashion.

Part-time and casual workers

A refurbishment is most likely to affect part-time and casual workers the most — i.e. people who aren’t on permanent contracts.

Contracted members of staff will know they will get paid during the refurbishment, but casual workers won’t feel as comfortable.

Make sure that you take time to address this situation. Are they able to seek other work whilst the refurbishment is taking place? Will they have a job once the refurbishment is over? An honest approach is key here, to save people feeling left out.

What to do with staff while the refurbishment is taking place

Some staff will continue to work as normal — especially office staff. However, people who are affected by the refurbishment will have a different working scenario.

It’s important to keep your staff connected to their place of work, even if they aren’t working in their usual capacity. There are plenty of great ways to achieve this.

Setting up classes, workshops and keeping regular contact with them will keep them aligned with the business and its core values.

It also offers a good opportunity for people who otherwise wouldn’t speak on an average day to communicate. For example, one of the classes could be a cocktail making workshop, which would allow the bar staff to showcase their skills.

What about when they go back to work?

By keeping them updated with what’s going on, it will make staff feel part of the journey. It’ll also help them communicate the refurbishment with future guests.

When the refurbishment is complete, have an ‘open day’ for staff – as you probably will have for guests. Give them a chance to walk around, look at the new updates and hear about the story from start to finish.

It’s your staff on the ground who will sell the new (and probably quite pricey) refurbishment to guests, so don’t spare any expense when selling it to your staff.

Caroline Allen

Caroline Allen

Writer

Caroline is a writer and author with 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, specialising in marketing, social media and employee/employer communications. She has worked in-house at some of the biggest hotels in the world but now spreads her time across a range of different clients working – mostly – from home with her assistant, Milly the rescue Labrador.

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