Customer care, well-priced food and developing your staff are vital in beating the economic downturn, according to Milsom Hotels and Restaurants owner Paul Milsom.
Speaking at the Hospitality show at Birmingham's NEC this week, Milsom said the family-run business had learnt crucial lessons from the recession of the early 1990s.
"Interest rates were as high as 16% in the 1990s, we didn't invest properly and we had some business ideas that went a bit pear-shaped. But we came out stronger and fitter and are better prepared for what lies ahead now," he said.
Providing a warm welcome for customers and ensuring staff members look like they want to be in the workplace are paramount, according to Milsom.
"At less busy times managers often disappear out back but you need to make sure star players are out there for the customers," he said.
He also advised focusing on key employees and promoting from within to tackle the problem of staff turnover.
"We have 50-60 key employees working at our operations who drive the business. We are choosy about who we recruit and prefer to work harder with fewer people rather than rushing into selecting new staff members."
Milsom also stressed the need to add value to a menu by choosing sensible dishes that customers want to eat.
"Choose food that people want to eat, not the chef. We learnt this the last time around. For example, you can serve a really good curry rather than lobster.
"If you're going to get through the recession you must offer good hospitality, service and food," Milsom said.
By Emma White
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