Comment: Paul Evans on how Solutions Leisure is handling the coronavirus pandemic

From not taking up delivery to keeping staff occupied, Evans shares his methods

Paul Evans of Solutions Leisure
Paul Evans of Solutions Leisure

The F&B industry, along with many others, has been hit hard, harder than anything has ever hit it before. These unprecedented times have shaken and stirred what we perceived to be normal life and removed all we took for granted. Our world has been turned upside-down in a nanosecond and now, like the rest of the world, we are learning to rebuild.

We are no stranger to downturns, we have seen and encountered multiple challenges in the past; Shifts away from particular venues or certain types of cuisine, changing or adapting of concepts and events, but while previously always having the time and knowledge to adapt. We lent and relied on other venues as the market fluctuated, today this is not the case, this is a completely different situation.

You can’t outthink it, you can’t outmanoeuvre it, you can’t outrun it.

This hits you so hard the wind disappears from your lungs. However, like most people, I did not choose this beloved industry because it was easy, I chose it because I love it.

No matter how hard it gets, our love for the food and beverage industry will help us find a way to succeed. To pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and go again. This is the big red reset button, the button that forces you to reinvent, relaunch, and reignite on a whole new level.

Solutions Leisure runs venues created around customer experience. The atmosphere, the sound and light, the food, the beverage, the party.

Guest integration is our passion, this is where we excel. Unlike numerous other F&B operators now offering a home delivery service, we made a call to pass on what looked like the ‘New Opportunity’ within our sector. This was never an option, it just isn’t what we do! Food is not the essence of Solutions Leisure it is only one of the ingredients. I’m a firm believer of sticking to what you know and what you are good at, SL already has its tried and tested model.

We create the moments people live for and for that we need our customers with us. On the dance floor, by the bar and sat on their regular Thursday night table smiling like there is no tomorrow. Life will resume as we know it and the consumer will be hungrier than ever for that exceptional F&B experience. This is where we have focused our energy since the closure of the venues in mid-March.

We have spent time we never had before reviewing the venues, the offerings, the events, the branding, the artwork, and how we project ourselves and our company to the world. It has given us a great opportunity to complete a full internal review on every outlet we own and operate.

We have kept our teams engaged by thinking about the business structure and future operations. We keep them motivated with daily communications via messages, Zooms, and Skypes. We involve them in the toughest decisions which all help to make them feel part of the solution…

Solutions Leisure is famous in the city for its “family” culture within its teams. It’s something we are most proud of, this situation does not change that, it only strengthens it.

The New World start line has not started to show itself yet, but when it does, we will be first in the blocks and ready to go. New nights, new events, and new opportunities to create some amazing memories for our teams and all our gorgeous guests.

Stay safe and stay strong. When the world wakes up, we are going to need you all.

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