How you can adapt to the 2022 calorie labelling legislation
As of 6th April 2022, new legislation came into force whereby any UK restaurant, cafe or hospitality venue with over 250 employees must display the calorie information of each dish clearly on the menu.
This legislation has been put in place to encourage the public to make healthier choices, and ultimately address growing concerns about the nation’s obesity rates.
Opinion on this latest legislation is largely divided. Some feel it will only exacerbate disordered eating behaviours – others think it’s a positive step towards a healthier nation.
We know that those of you in the industry feel ultimately it’s restaurants and hospitality that stand to lose out as the industry tries to economically recover from the pandemic.
What operators need to be aware of to move forward
As with every other industry, we know that the hospitality sector is working its way out of the global pandemic. Huge amounts of revenue was lost during this time, and staff turnover has been at an all time high. In fact, the hospitality and leisure industry has been hardest hit by the ‘great resignation’.
Economists suggest that this is due to the amount of uncertainty and lost hours caused by constantly changing guidelines around the Covid pandemic.
Since the legislation was announced, the industry has voiced a number of criticisms. Here, we’ll highlight just a few, as well as ways your organisation can overcome and adapt to these new requirements.
Frontline staff can grow their knowledge base
The government is hoping that these new calorie-display menus will help customers to make healthier, more balanced choices when they’re eating out.
But we know you’re concerned about the level of training that will be required to get front of house teams up to scratch with nutritional information. They’ll need to be prepared to answer customers’ questions.
Not only do staff need to be armed with thorough knowledge about each dish on the menu, but they also need to be confident about upselling higher calorie meals.
With food being an emotional and sensitive subject for a lot of people, understanding nuances of human behaviour is going to be critical here.
Kitchen staff and suppliers can get creative
With the new legislation in place, you may need to completely redesign your menu to make it less intimidating for customers. However, chefs might now feel as though they’re restricted in what ingredients they can and can’t use.
Your relationships with your suppliers may change. You may even be considering switching suppliers altogether.
Increased operating costs
Across the country, we know that venues are having to find the funds to reprint menus with calorie counts.
But as customers can still request menus without the figures, you’ll need to consider these too. And if the legislation means you’ve had to re-evaluate your menu, it’s likely that you’ll need an entire reprint across the board.
Looking at these issues, it’s easy to see why some organisations are feeling overwhelmed, even disheartened.
But if there’s one thing we know about, it’s that learning, development and good quality training can be a real catalyst for positive change within an organisation.
You have a real opportunity to use training to your advantage here. Turn this legislation into an opportunity to upskill your teams, close knowledge gaps, and, most importantly, get ahead of your competitors.
Drive behaviour change across your organisation
As the disruption of the last few years has shown, reduced contact and interaction can lead to staff becoming disengaged with their work, leading to an increased knowledge gap.
Get your learning environment right and your staff will be more productive, engaged, and motivated. And it starts with behaviour change. It’s a tricky one but if you can deliver scalable and consistent training across your organisation, you and your business can grow together.
Having a way to set a benchmark for staff is vital in ensuring that your staff deliver a consistent customer experience whatever position they hold within your business, wherever they are located. It’s from this base that you can manage and improve staff skills, while driving a culture of progression and inclusion. We’ll drink to that.
The human stuff: Practice makes perfect
Technical knowledge is great, but we all know that this industry wouldn’t exist without its customers.
In addition to the technical information that comes with relearning menus and dishes, we all know how important it is to nurture customer service skills, particularly as your customers navigate their way through this new dining experience. From a staff perspective, learning how to approach customer requests and complaints takes time – and in the real world, you only get one shot at getting it right.
Creating a safe place to fail where staff can play through typical customer interactions without any consequences is vital. It’s in this safe zone – whether at home or on their mobile – that staff can test out different responses to tricky questions on anything, from the nutritional value of a dish to complaints about the beer being flat.
Then there’s the opportunity to upsell – one positive that’s come out of this new legislation. With an in-depth understanding of the most delectable dishes, staff will have the knowledge – and confidence – to push other taste sensations. Mastering these kinds of interactions will keep the customers coming back time and again.
The fun stuff: Whoever said training had to be boring?
It’s fair to say that e-learning, PDF instruction books and maybe an annual in-person course, aren’t always enough to inspire or upskill your workforce. Working with our hospitality partners, we’ve learned that staff are most responsive and engaged with training when it’s enjoyable. After all, hospitality it about providing a good time, right?
The right training not only drives repetition and greater knowledge retention, but it also drives professional and personal growth. Staff will push themselves to work to the best of their abilities and push for progression, promotion – or even improved industry knowledge. Whatever their motivation, the right training environment benefits both you and your staff, meaning you won’t fall victim to the ‘great resignation’.
The hospitality industry is no stranger to adapting to new circumstances. Just look at all the ways organisations have overcome the pandemic, rebuilding from the ground up in some instances.
With the right attitudes and the right resources, those learning the ropes of hospitality can’t go wrong. Speak to one of our expert Attensi team about incorporating gamified simulation training into the future of your organisation.