Helping You Prepare Your Venue for the Unexpected

Yes, we’re stating the obvious, but the past two years have been a rollercoaster for the food and venue industry. We’ve leaned into the twists and turns, stomached the dips, been thrown sideways, found ourselves upside down and back-to-front and more than once felt like throwing our hands in the air and screaming.

It may not feel it yet, but the turbulence and unpredictability of this pandemic won’t last forever. Fortunately, the experiences of the past two years have served to make the food and venue industry resilient, creative, agile and ready to face anything that comes along. Here’s what we’ve learned during the COVID pandemic to help prepare for future challenges:

BE KIND TO YOUR KITCHEN

Staff shortages are common issues for food business owners and operators. When your venue is running at reduced capacity, be kind to yourself and your team and make changes to reduce the burden on skeleton staff. Consider running a reduced menu, temporarily changing your opening hours, adopting a takeaway-only model or supplementing your menu with easy-to-serve products that save time and labour.

Helen’s Hint: Heat-and-serve products such as Filos, Savoury Rolls and Gourmet Scrolls, are a great solution to understaffed venues as they require minimal preparation. Menu items that come in pre-portioned and individual serves, such as Lasagne or Deep-Dish Pies, are a time-saving solution for both dine-in and takeaway customers.

LOOK LOCALLY

Supporting Australian suppliers and using local distributors minimises the risk of supply chain issues so you’re less likely to be caught short on stock. Sudden, hard border closures during the pandemic demonstrated how quickly distribution networks are affected and natural disasters such as floods, bushfires and cyclones – both nationally and globally – can disrupt food supply chains for long periods.

Helen’s Hint: Sourcing Australian-made menu items, handmade from Helen’s, has the added benefit of offering your customers products filled with fresh seasonal ingredients that deliver a premium taste and high nutritional value.

STAY UP TO DATE

Adaptability and agility are the best ways to overcome an obstacle. Prepare your venue and your staff by keeping on top of industry trends, current affairs and government-mandated operating restrictions and conditions. Having this knowledge puts you in a better position to predict when the next disruption may occur. For example, if a cyclone warning is issued for North Queensland, plan for the possibility of crop damages and possible ingredient shortages.

Helen’s Hint: Stay flexible and always have contingencies at the ready, whether that’s a ready supply of takeaway containers, access to substitute ingredients or a pared-back menu of easy-to-prepare customer favourites.

CLEAR COMMUNICATION

Communication is key when it comes to customers, staff, suppliers and distributors. Customers will appreciate venues being open and upfront about reduced operating hours, menu changes or staff shortages that may lead to kitchen and service delays. Suppliers and distributors face their own challenges so try to provide as much notice as possible if changing orders. Your staff are your venue’s ambassadors so keep them updated on any changes or challenges you are facing to best equip them to do their job.

Helen’s Hint: Use your social media accounts and email databases to deliver clear and concise updates to customers and third-party suppliers.

Helen’s premium savoury and sweet products are handmade with love using fresh, seasonal ingredients from traditional family recipes. See how Helen’s range of high-quality menu items can help your venue navigate a challenging situation HERE.

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