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Restaurant, Bar & Pub Reopening: Learnings from France

To assist in the reopening of UK hospitality businesses on the 4th July, four French operators spoke to Brigad to share their insights experienced since their reopening on the 2nd June. Similarly to the UK, French business owners didn’t know to what extent consumers would feel safe to eat & drink in public again. With this in mind, predicting levels of activity and knowing where to focus communication efforts was based on guesswork. These insights shared with you will:

👉 - Provide a benchmark of what you can expect when doors reopen

👉 - Help you focus communications to the correct people

👉 - Tell you how you can attract old and new customers

Recent Statistics

A survey conducted by Yougov & Stuart on the confidence of French consumers returning to restaurants showed:

📈 - 60% ready to go back to restaurants

📈 - 40% prefer to continue using delivery or takeaway

📈 - The biggest concern was health & safety not being respected in the kitchen (40% of people)

📈 - People have higher trust in fine dining restaurants adhering to health & safety regulations

📈 - 74% people interviewed care about the financial difficulties of restaurants

📈 - 62% ready to order directly through them rather from delivery app

The businesses we interviewed

Four French operators shared their experiences on the previous four weeks

Siamsa - Modern French Bistro Black Sheep Society - Expat bar G-IV - Wine bar/ cellar Nous - Mediterranean restaurant (5 locations)

Simon - Owner - Siamsa
📍 "Adapting the menu to suit a takeaway model has ensured continuous revenue"

Elin - Owner - Black Sheep Society
📍 "Within 1 hour of reopening the terrace was full. Largely down to an attractive space and social media communications"

Géric - Owner - G-IV
📍 "Reservations came in straight away… The wine bar is practically at the same level of output as before lockdown"

Ludovic - Ops Director - Nous
📍 "We had immediate reservations and teams across each location were extremely enthusiastic to come back"

The commonality we heard from all of the operators was the unexpected show of support from locals within the neighbourhood - people which have never stepped foot inside the establishment were coming in to A. Ask how they were doing and B. Consume!

Changes made throughout the crisis

Several businesses adapted their menus to start delivery/ takeaway. Given the fact that a healthy level of revenue is being generated with many consumers still opting to come into the business to pick up food to go, these adaptations will be maintained.

So, doors reopen. What can you expect?

Taking recurring comments from the four business owners, we’ve compiled the key insights they’ve learnt.

✅ No big Friday & Saturday nights but even attendance throughout the week

✅ Clientele: Your regulars will come back. On top of that, you’ll see new faces from your neighbourhood - local people showing support for local businesses

✅ An outdoor space will attract customers

✅ Staff who are ready and highly motivated to work

✅ Reservations start immediately

❎ The rules and guidelines may not be super clear - which has been a source of frustration for French business owners

❎ It’s obvious but must be stated, those with high %s of revenue from tourists have had to vastly adapt communications

What should you do?

👉 If you have an outdoor area, make it as appealing as possible. Customers will come in droves. It may seem obvious but we’ll say this anyway - rain cover. If you don’t have an adequate parasol/ patio umbrella, strongly consider the extra sales this will generate

👉 If you rely on tourists, spend more time on raising awareness to locals. How you do this will depend on your business but consider an event (whilst staying safe!) to bring locals in

👉 Communicate, communicate, communicate. To both your pre-existing customers and the local community. About your terrace, about you strictly adhering to safety guidelines, about reopening and taking reservations

A final word from us and the French business owners who wanted to share their insights with you… This has been such a difficult time and we sincerely wish you the best.

🎥 WATCH: The full webinar with Elin from the Black Sheep & Simon from Siamsa

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