Survive and Thrive with Expert Top Tips from MD of HIT Training, Jill Whittaker

BRITA Professional has just launched Return, Renew, Reinvent, a brand-new series of podcasts to support hospitality businesses after such a turbulent period.

In the first episode, we hear from Jill Whitaker, award-winning Managing Director at leading hospitality and catering apprenticeship provider, HIT Training. She explores the resilience of the industry throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as how hospitality businesses can adapt to new and emerging trends to future-proof their operations for long-term success.

Here is an exclusive glimpse of Jill’s top tips discussed in the first episode…

“Turn Resilience into Action”

There is no doubt the hospitality industry has been impacted greatly by the pandemic and shown immense resilience during such a challenging time. Jill says: “There is a lot of talk about resilience in the hospitality industry, and we have a phenomenal amount of it, but we have to translate it into action.”

Now the industry has reopened, there has been an emotional response to this resilience from customers and hospitality businesses should take advantage of this. Jill highlights how we have all been looking forward to sitting in our favourite restaurant, chatting with members of staff, and eating delicious food – undoubtedly something we can all relate to.

In fact, 44.5% of hospitality and catering professionals believe the demand for food and drink, which cannot be recreated at home, will increase.[1] Jill says this is because, as consumers, the experience of eating out is a part of our lives we have missed so much during lockdown, but more importantly because we want to support those businesses which have weathered the storm.

[1] Research is from 3GEM conducted with 600 decision makers within hospitality, catering and food service businesses (February 2021).

“Have a Clear Vision”

According to Jill, whether outlets are large or small, having a clear and proactive vision is a vital step in future-proofing hospitality businesses. She says: “The businesses which have done the best are those which have had a really strong vision and a really positive outlook.”

Jill adds that, businesses need to tune-in to the current climate and new customer expectations and adapt their strategy as they re-open and move forward.

“It is also crucial to engage staff in this process to ensure your strategy is being executed effectively,” she says.

“Stay on top of digital trends”

“One of the trends which I think the industry needs to get on the back of is digital,” says Jill.

“As consumers, we expect touchless payments, we probably expect to be able to do some sort of ordering digitally, and that is going to be normal in the future.”

Jill adds, “There is a more digital approach to the way we live. For example, cash has become less common due to hygiene concerns, so contactless payment is vital to ensuring customers feel safe.”

With this in mind, it’s crucial that businesses protect the personal details of customers. Jill adds that businesses should “establish trust between your business and your customers” when it comes to their personal information.

Jill’s full interview is the first episode of BRITA Professional’s Return, Renew, Reinvent podcast series, which delves into insights from experts in the field to help your business not only survive, but thrive, in the wake of the pandemic and beyond. To listen in full, click here.

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