Author: Michael Fiato, SVP Customer Experience
As we look forward, I am happy to report that the thermometer is reading optimistic.
- 53% of business owners are feeling optimistic and expecting to emerge stronger than ever.
- 51% of our guests are feeling confident in returning to the workplace.
- 72% of our frontline team are feeling great about going back to work.
Across Eurest, 57% of our accounts open and another 9% are opening in the next two months. All of these measurements are important because understanding how our teams, our clients and our guests are feeling helps us create the right environment and a high level of experience for all.
If there was ever a time for ‘no complacency,’ it is today. Many of our clients are wanting to make the return to the workplace safe, but exciting as their workforce leaves the home office that’s kept them comfortable and safe for the past 18 months. As a partner to our clients, being a strong culture enhancer will be critically important.
As we emerge to perhaps a different workplace, our culinary brands paired with our exciting marketing campaigns will be our differentiator. Our teams will bring solutions and an opening strategy to their clients, share the successes we have had with past re-openings and collaborate to meet the mutual goal: a successful return to work.
You’ve probably seen the headlines about how the pandemic has affected the hospitality industry – from furloughs and layoffs to now a labor shortage. Smaller teams and increased expectation can cause uncertainty, which is why communication is one of our top priorities to keep our team engaged and connected. Our employee engagement app keeps our teams looped in about important company information, best practices and chat sessions for collaboration across the country.
Recognition is also a focus with our HERO awards and award pins teammates can give one another through our employee engagement app. Positivity is a not-so-secret weapon in today’s climate. If we can create a positive environment leading to happy associates, we know that will lead to happy guests.
Work from home will make trips to the office more purposeful, and that creates opportunities for us to enhance the return to work experience. We have seen a swing from food being a necessity to it being emotional. Combine that emotion with the fact that our guests have missed us and that we have missed them, and you get a spark that can ignite positivity and productivity. There’s no doubt that this is a win-win situation.
At the start of the pandemic, our guests were unsurprisingly focused on safety. Recent feedback shows the following:
- Safety – A Current rating of 90% shows that our guests feel safe.
- Desire for adventure – Our guests are ready for promotions and fun. They are eager to try new things and we’re seeing a rise in the requests for bold flavors, fusion and ethnic cuisines.
- Connection – Guests are requesting the return of made-to-order stations, Chef’s Tables and Pop Ups. Coffee bars and collaborative spaces will garner more and more use as guests settle in and feel comfortable.
- Wellness – Guests are looking for choices that holistically benefit them, which is a great match for our Food with Purpose platform.
- Local – Guests want to help local business that were affected by the pandemic and our Foodworks platform is a perfect match for creating a partnership with local restaurants.
- Ease – Guests have enjoyed using mobile ordering apps and want that to continue. In addition, activating social media to inform and create a buzz around what’s going on in the Marketplace is a must.
- Return to Normal – There is an overall drive to return to sense of normalcy.
Understanding our guests needs and a high level of hospitality equals a fantastic return to work experience for all!
Michael Fiato, SVP Customer Experience
Mike has a passion for guest service and creating a workplace atmosphere that inspires great experiences for our team and our guests. He spends the majority of his time in the field working with our associates and customers. He personally develops and delivers guest service training for over 2,000 associates every year. In addition, he has conducted focus groups with over 125,000 guests and has an in-depth understanding of consumers. A keen focus on generational preferences and business types has helped Eurest drive guest loyalty build same-store sales.