By the time you read this we are likely to be hours away from the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.
The event, described in hospitality terms as the world's largest peacetime catering operation, is staggering in its scale. Some 14 million meals will be served across 40 locations to athletes and spectators (London 2012: Welcoming the world), while the UK is expected to receive some half a million extra overseas visitors.
Around London and the regional Olympic venues, operators have been readying themselves for spikes in guest numbers. Though, even this week, there is still some uncertainty as to whether the predicted footfall will be realised. The recent rain has washed away some profit in July, but now the sun has emerged there is some optimism that August will exceed expectations, particularly among our Business Tracker operators.
These three businesses, who we have been following for a year in the lead up to the games (Profiting from 2012 Business Tracker - the final countdown), are all in a position to profit, being located right by Olympic venues. Each month we charted their progress as they explored every means of delivering a great welcome and ensuring they could cope with the crowds.
But you don't have to be next to an Olympic venue to play your part in promoting British hospitality. Many operators have told us that the Olympics won't mean anything for their business, but it only takes an excursion by a foreign journalist or group of tourists to put your area on the map.
All operators should think of the long-term effect of a successful games. It's not just the weeks of action that matter; a flawless performance from the hospitality industry could create a lasting legacy of sustainability, diversity and top-quality service for many years to come.
By James Stagg
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