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Tue 12th May 2020 - Loungers to launch trial takeaway service across selected sites
Loungers to launch trial takeaway service across selected sites: Cafe bar operator Loungers is trial a takeaway service across six of sites this week, Propel has learned. The AIM-list, circa 170-strong operator launched the takeaway trial last Friday (8 May) at its Tinto Lounge in Gloucester Road, Bristol. Operating from 10am to 2pm and 2pm to 9pm seven days a week, consumers can order from a limited menu by phone or in person, with 50p from every main course and burger being donated to the company’s chosen charity Marmalade Trust. There is also a 50% discount on food to any #NHS workers. Loungers chief executive Nick Collins told Propel: “It’s early days at Tinto, but we will be replicating in a further six sites this week. Very much a trial in these sites, to see if it is something that works with the Lounges and our locations, and potentially gives us another string to our bow in a socially distanced trading environment. There’s also a lot to be said for the morale impact of having part of the business operating, albeit a very small part!” Talking to Propel at the start of this month, Collins said the current lock-down provided the circa 170-strong business with an opportunity to see how it could evolve. Speaking as part of Propel’s “navigating the coronavirus” series, Collins said the company’s focus was on reopening, understanding what that looks like in a socially distancing environment, and how to best position the company to get through it. He said: “There is a real risk of running off in a million directions in circumstances like this and not achieving a great deal so we are trying to stay focused and doing a lot of analysis.”

Greater Manchester establishes night-time economy task force: A group of experts from across Greater Manchester’s hospitality, events and cultural sector have come together to start developing a long-term plan for the protection and promotion of the regions’ restaurants, bars, theatres, clubs, festivals and music venues. The night-time economy task force has been put together by Greater Manchester night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord and Elise Wilson, the portfolio lead for economy for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The task force will work together to better understand the full extent of the impact lock-down and social distancing has, and will have, on operations in the coming months, as well as developing longer-term plans for support and recovery. Wilson said: “While we recognise all sectors will be affected and have to adapt to new ways of working, our night-time, cultural and hospitality businesses, so vital to the economy and vibrancy of Greater Manchester, look set to be hardest hit for the longest time. It’s vital that we understand the scale of the challenges and opportunities facing this sector so that together we can support each other to survive and eventually thrive.” Lord added: “We want all our residents and businesses to be responsible when it comes to social distancing and unfortunately that means our restaurants, clubs, bars, festivals and cultural organisations just won’t be able to operate in the same way they have for quite some time.”

HVS London – Hotels will need to re-think every aspect of their business: With much of Europe’s hotel sector still closed for business the industry faces a huge challenge to rebuild consumer confidence once covid-19 lockdown restrictions start to lift later this year, says global hotel consultancy HVS London. Providing hotel businesses survive financially – utilising a combination of rent and bank loan freezes, government support, working with owners and furloughing staff – they also face the question of how long it will take for consumers to once again feel confident staying in hotels. “When demand for hotels does start to return, whether that’s later this year or next year, operators will be coming back into a very different market to previously, with a new set of consumer concerns and requirements,” commented HVS chairman Russell Kett. “Building trust between hotelier and customer will be paramount with businesses operating and presenting their services in a way that makes the guest, and the staff who take care of them, feel comfortable, confident and protected.” On-going hygiene and cleaning protocols will be top of the agenda, with global operators Marriott, Hilton and Accor already launching programmes designed to communicate and promote high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. Operators will need to consider how best to protect guests and staff at each interface – screens at check-in and a remote check-in/out option; social distancing in public areas such as restaurants, corridors and lounge areas; controlling the numbers of people using lifts at any one time; as well as how guests can, and should, make safe use of leisure facilities, pools, gyms and spas. “Hoteliers will need to rethink almost every part of their business, focussing on all areas that are accessed by guests as well as considering the safety and protection of staff. The traditional buffet breakfast is likely to become a thing of the past – at least for the time being,” Kett added. HVS anticipates most hotels will re-open gradually, adding rooms and rehiring staff when demand improves. This might result in the need for furloughing schemes to be continued for some staff while hotels implement this ramping up. “Governments must understand there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the hotel sector and prematurely curtailing the furlough scheme could sound the death knell for many hotels. Likewise, kitchens need to consider a pared down menu that can be produced by a smaller team as well as with what could be limited supplies. Room service may also need to be stepped up as some guests will perceive this as providing more safety,” said Kett.

Ryanair to restore 40% of schedule: Ryanair, Europe’s largest low fares airline, has announced plans to return to 40% of normal flight schedules from Wednesday 1 July, subject to government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports. Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90% of its pre-covid-19 route network. Since the covid-19 flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe. From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe. There will be fewer daily/weekly frequencies on trunk routes, as Ryanair works to restore some services on the widest number of routes, rather than operating high frequency services on a small number. While temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the cornerstone of this healthy return to service, social distancing at airports and onboard aircraft will be encouraged where it is possible. On board its aircraft, Ryanair cabin crew will wear face masks/coverings and a limited inflight service will be offered of pre-packaged snacks and drinks, but no cash sales. All onboard transactions will be cashless. Queuing for toilets will also be prohibited on board although toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request. Ryanair encourages passengers to regularly hand wash and use hand sanitisers in airport terminals. As a temporary further public health measure, while EU States emerge from their respective covid-19 lockdowns, Ryanair will require all passengers flying in July and August to fill in details (at the point of check in) of how long their planned visit will be, and also their address while visiting another EU country, and this contact information will be provided to EU governments to help them to monitor any isolation regulations they require of visitors on intra-EU flights. Ryanair’s chief executive Eddie Wilson said: “It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards. Governments around Europe have implemented a four month lockdown to limit the spread of the covid-19 virus. After four months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.”

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