Adam Neal, Director of The Parasol & Swing Company bar in Auckland’s Viaduct, shares his tips for opening your venue on May 21 – and making sure it stays open.

Safety

Safety has to be priority number one – for both customers and our guests. Make sure you’re in close communication with the teams at Restaurant Association, Hospitality NZ and Chomp NZ, all of which are extremely helpful with advice on what needs to be done. 

Take on board all of the rules from the Government and put a solid plan in place to ensure staff and customers can feel safe.

Communication

Communicate with your team to discuss plans as things develop. Adapt your business to be able to follow the ‘three S’s’ rules set by the Government and work closely with your team over the coming weeks to adapt your new business model to continue to improve. 

For customers, have plenty of signage with the rules that they are required to follow. Some customers will find it very frustrating to have rules put in place for how they must enjoy their night out, so your job is to make it as easy a process as possible. With plenty of signage on display and staff well-versed on the rules, expectations of customers will be clear. 

The Parasol & Swing Company

Be prepared

As the old saying goes: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. We’re in uncharted waters here, so I’d recommend over-staffing to begin with (as long as you’re keeping in mind the rules around staff staying separate where possible). This will give your team more time to get comfortable with the rules, and to begin with, your staff may have to spend more time with guests to explain the rules etc. 

Know your weaknesses. Maybe you’ve never properly set out sections? Are your staff competent with a tray? Is your venue simply not set out for full table service? Do you need to move things around to be more efficient? Communication is key again here – brainstorm problems and solutions with your team.  

Look into getting a contact tracing app. You may prefer a tablet or pen and paper but at Parasol & Swing, we have opted for a website, so that people can update their info on their phones – it’s quick and easy. 

Look at the positives

For customers:  You’re being forced to sit at a table and be served completely by one person. Enjoy the experience! Sit back, relax and let us look after you!

For businesses: We’re open! I’m originally from Scotland and feel terrible for the venues back in my home country (and globally) – there is even word that places may not open till July, it’s terrifying! 

One thing I love about New Zealand is that people are always willing to help. Speak to the businesses around you, see what they’re doing, talk about cross-promotion. Kiwis will want to support their local businesses. 

Adapt and conquer! This won’t last forever.

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