Are hospitality concepts, design and interiors changing as a result of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is changing the design & interior of Hospitality

01-Nathan Social Media Post

Nathan Stevenson, a Senior Interior Designer at Harrison has recently outlined his thoughts about how he believes hospitality businesses will change post-COVID-19 and we’d like to share his thoughts.

“Hospitality has already changed dramatically because of COVID, brands have had to think creatively and pivot their business models to respond to the new needs of customers whilst developing multiple revenue streams to safeguard against changing conditions.

I think this has been an eye-opener for the industry, with increasing revenue from retail products, online and delivery will become the norm.

A key point will be to make physical space work harder, with smaller footprints doing more, offering Grab n Go capabilities, smaller dining areas, Click and Collect and take away via a delivery platform.
However, this new breed of sites will need to be carefully planned (rather than retrofitted) to accommodate the multifunction uses and minimise staff levels to reduce costs.

I can see businesses changing their site strategy by opening more smaller sites over a larger geographical area to cater for increased suburban trade and delivery coverage, this was already evolving but COVID accelerate this shift.

Nathan suggests that value and simplicity will increasingly be more important for brands and customers, whether that’s the design of physical spaces or food offer. Popular brands such as Flat Iron and MOD Pizza are two recent examples.

Nathan believes we will need to be more creative to achieve more with less. So, simpler design with cleaver detailing and working with the existing features and finishes of sites.

Technology will also be more important, Wetherspoons have led the way by introducing a table ordering via an app designed to lower staff costs pre-COVID. Now ordering prior to arrival is commonplace, helping decrease dwell time but increasing customer volumes.

I think for a long time there has been to many barriers to entry for entrepreneurs to enter the hospitality sector due to the prohibitive start-up costs, high rents, high levels of competition for prime sites and large well-established brands with strong covenants.

I think one of the fallouts from COVID has been to level the playing field to a certain extent with new brands coming into the market not having the burden of financial losses from COVID and being able to negotiate more realistic rents with landlords as well as potentially being able to take on units which are already fitted out with commercial kitchens. Also, the Front of House can be changed to accommodate a new brand at a relatively small cost. David Page, Fulham Shore said recently that this was a strategy that Franco Manca would be pursuing going forward. This creates huge (well needed in my opinion) opportunities for new brands/entrepreneurs to revitalise, what has been a pretty stale market for quite some time.

Finally, an increased focus and shift to online channels will also allow entrepreneurs to build strong brands virtually, allowing them to test/refine their offer before committing to opening physical sites. We are currently working with a new client, Gallio Pizza (www.galliopizza.com) who have launched the concept via a dark kitchen in SE London to test and refine their Mediterranean menu.

Brand Storytelling is the future of Hospitality Marketing

The future of Hospitality Marketing is in Brand Storytelling

Now, more than ever, hospitality businesses need to rethink and develop their creative storytelling. Covid-19 has given the sector a once in a lifetime opportunity to reinvent who we are, throw out the old and welcome the new. It’s a chance to come out of this industry shake-up smarter, leaner and more efficient and stronger.

We have recently been working with The Cambridge Society Union, on a new visual identity and brand personality, specifically looking at;

– Acknowledging the Society’s longevity and dependability.

-Appealing to, and retain a broad audience — students, teachers, guest speakers, general public and tourists, and those with an event in mind.

-Sharing the ‘brand story’ – it’s what makes the experience valuable, enjoyable and shareable.

-Increasing the knowledge of the location.

-Highlighting offerings and the potential to accommodate events.

To see how Harrison completed and built the brand foundations for the creative direction follow this link to our case study.

Adapting to the New Normal – Our Visual Guide.

Our visual guide, titled Adapting to the new Normal, (to download see highlighted link). Our guide includes our thinking and ideas about possible strategic approaches, re-opening restaurants, dealing with customer anxiety, communication, adapting operational processes, affordable and flexible design solutions, dealing with high contact areas, external dining areas, regulations and advice and the potential role of technology.

Please contact us directly if you’d like a copy or to discuss any part of this guide via richard@harrison.hn or Kanderson@harrison.hn in the US.

See the link is here.

Adapting to the new normal – The Harrison guide to the challenges facing the hospitality sector and how design can assist in finding solutions

Adapting to the New Normal

Over the past few weeks, Harrison has been researching, reviewing and formulating a number of potential practical solutions geared towards the challenges that new social distancing rules may create across the hospitality sector.

This has forced us to think differently to how we have traditionally developed floor plans, interiors and back of house areas for clients. Nothing concrete has yet been outlined by the government on specific guidelines and we are still on a daily basis building a better understanding of the long-lasting effects of this virus.

Our guide, titled Adapting to the new normal, includes our thinking and ideas about possible strategic approaches, re-opening restaurants, dealing with customer anxiety, communication, adapting operational processes, affordable and flexible design solutions, dealing with high contact areas, external dining areas, regulations and advice and the potential role of technology.

Please contact us directly if you’d like to be sent a copy of this guide, or you can contact us directly on webenq@harrison.hn, info@harrison.hn or 07799 871819

Harrison appointed to develop the historic Greenwich site Enderby House

London pub retailer Young’s has appointed Harrison to develop Enderby House in Greenwich. The historic building on the Thames Path will be restored to offer 140 covers inside, 70 on a ground-floor terrace and 30 on the roof. There will also be a first-floor octagonal private dining room with panoramic views. It is the company’s fifth pub in Greenwich and 18th on the Thames.

This historic building is where the cables for the first transatlantic underwater communications were loaded on to Brunel’s SS Great Eastern. It will be restored to former glories and reopen in the summer as a premium Young’s riverside pub with two terraces overlooking Canary Wharf.