There is no doubting that 2012 is going to be a challenging year for everyone working in the hospitality industry. The prime minister himself made it clear in his New Year message that "there are fears about jobs and paying the bills" and that "the search for work has become difficult, particularly for young people".
This means that, more than ever before, guests and customers are going to think very carefully how they spend their money when it comes to hotels and restaurants, pubs and bars, school canteens and staff restaurants.
Businesses cannot, therefore, afford to be complacent. Now is the time to ensure that the very basics are in place - sparkling premises and enthusiastic staff first and foremost - and to consider exactly what it is that your customers want, and then make sure it is in place. Talk to everyone who comes through the door, as well as those who take an interest in your operation through social media.
Caterer and Hotelkeeper kicks off the new year with a major feature on what all savvy hospitality operators should be doing to keep existing customers coming back for more - and attract new ones (see page 28).
With the world's eyes focused on the UK throughout the year as a result of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, the hospitality industry needs to ensure that it is ready and willing to showcase itself with the upmost professionalism. We hope our pages help you create the best possible welcome which will have customers and guests returning not just throughout 2012, but for many years to come.
By Janet Harmer
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