Weathering the Storm

Top Tips for Business Longevity from Founder of Yummy Pubs, Tim Foster

Following a turbulent year, in which hospitality businesses have been forced to adapt to a series of new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, BRITA is proud to launch a new series of podcasts called Return, Renew, Reinvent. In each episode, a different industry leader gives invaluable advice on how to future-proof and ensure business longevity, as we emerge from lockdown restrictions and hospitality begins to open back up.

In the second episode we hear from Tim Foster, founder of Yummy Pubs. He operates four pubs in London and Surrey and believes that COVID-19 has brought about some positive changes in the industry. He now predicts a period of “huge innovation” and growth, as hospitality businesses explore exciting new opportunities, such as finish-at-home meal kits and cocktails by post.

Even as restrictions lift, Tim explains why it’s still so important to exceed customer expectations through safe and attentive service, invest in your team, and continue to innovate, despite operational challenges.

Here are his three top tips for ensuring business longevity…

Exceed expectations

“We are following the government guidelines 100%, says Tim. “In fact, I’m under-booking the venue because I want customers to feel comfortable about being out and about, without sitting too close to other people. We have ‘meeters and greeters’ on the door, so they can see straight away if someone seems nervous so we can accommodate them. If they look worried, we put them on a table to one side.”

“I’d say that the focus on cleanliness and hygiene is one of the best things that Covid has done for us. How often have you been out and had a sticky pint glass or a sticky table? Cleanliness has always been an issue in hospitality, and this has allowed us to up our game. The level of attentiveness in our team has been great for us, and now it’s a part of being exceptional.”

Invest in people

“When lockdown ended last July, no one knew what to expect,” says Tim. “We’ve all had a year to get used to these measures, and this time round, customer expectations are sky high. You’ve got to be at the top of your game and ready to deliver.

“We’re over-recruiting and making sure there’s time for staff to get trained and feel confident. We’ve got tax breaks at the moment – business rates and VAT are lower, so we’re spending that money on people and making sure the team are great and happy. It’s all about investing in people and self-development. If they want to do online courses, or create opportunities to give themselves a new role, we’ve got people who can help them do that.”

Embrace change

“We should never be afraid of change,” says Tim. “One thing we’ve seen is that you can never predict what’s coming, and now we’re in a period of huge innovation. Customers now want restaurant-quality food for home delivery and, during lockdown, we created an entirely new company with our letterbox cocktails by post. It’s been a great success – it’s definitely something that’s here to stay.

“I think you should be out and about and in other people’s pubs absorbing ideas and inspiration evolving them for your own business. I don’t see anything wrong in that. We can innovate at pace, and we can change anything in our business – that’s the lifeblood of who we are.”

Tim’s full interview is the second 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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