For big brands like YO!, re-opening post the COVID-19 pandemic is more than an already-challenging question of balancing rotas, furlough and payroll, it will involve the redesign of hundreds of restaurants to allow for social distancing, a re-education of thousands of staff and new ways of working in different markets around the world, depending on local advice and regulations.

To get a sense of what the big brand restaurants are doing right now and how they are preparing to re-open, er invited YO!’s HR Director Alyson Hancock on our webinar to give an insight into the planning of a worldwide restaurant chain right now.

It’s times like these — Alyson says — that HR departments can show their value to businesses and staff.

Here are Alyson’s top tips:

  • Conduct an internal temperature check with your teams. How do they feel about coming back to work? How can your business help with mental health or support right now?
  • Involve your teams in your re-opening and returning plans
  • Speak to an e-learning provider to see whether you can use this period to help re-skill or upskill your team and continue training programs
  • Share any online resources — including official advice as it comes to hand — with your team, so everyone can keep up with the latest procedures
  • Set up new courses such as HIT’s Infection Control Officer training so your team is ready to go

Alyson also says the re-opening effort will require rethinking and redesign of many physical spaces. So here are few things to keep in mind:

  • Do you have a one size fits all model? Put the time in now and plan for phases – starting with changes to take-away, followed by dine-in
  • Prioritise kitchen design to distance workspaces – does it mean a menu redesign?
  • Cost out and order things such as portable sneeze screens and any additional equipment such as chopping board sets and knives, for example.
  • Make sure you think about the pot wash areas and walk-in fridges

Then, when it comes time to phase your re-opening, here are a few things you will want to keep in mind for your team. Alyson says the key is to start thinking now and make a few dummy rotas.

  • Make sure your team is not travelling at peak times — can you stagger shifts?
  • Have you got a cycle to work scheme?
  • Have Team A and Team B for example, so you are minimising the contact between different employees
  • Ensure your team do not travel in uniform and source professional laundry services to manage washing in-house.
  • Secure any new equipment through procurement channels and design training
  • Stagger start and finish times so one person can get changed in the staff room at a time and breaks are not at the same time

Alyson says keeping your team up to date with any changes and making sure they are included in decision making will help you manage the return to work and re-opening in a safe and strong way.


Want to catch up on all the expert tips?

Watch the full UK hospitality webinar.

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