Operators advised to act now if they are to reap the benefits this summer
THOUSANDS of athletes, spectators and members of the media are set to descend on Glasgow this summer when the city hosts the 20th Commonwealth Games.
And with virtually all of the tickets sold, it’s likely to be a bumper event, bringing a positive spin-off for the city’s bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels.
With less than six months to go until the Games gets underway with the opening ceremony at Celtic Park on July 23, licensees are being advised
to make preparations now to ensure they have an adequate number of
staff, suitable training and a comprehensive marketing strategy in place.
Willie Macleod, executive director of the British Hospitality Association in Scotland, said staff are key to reaping any benefits. And he advised operators to consider staffing levels now.
“Taking on additional staff solely for the Commonwealth Games, which run for ten days, will need careful thought and would need to be justified by a considerable increase in likely levels of business,” he said.
“For most businesses, use of casual staff or offering existing staff more hours is likely to be sufficient to cope with any additional demand.
“There is certainly merit in arranging training for staff to ensure that guests who are visiting the city for the Games enjoy the best of Glasgow welcomes and have a great experience during their time in Scotland.”
Ryan James, chair of Glasgow Restaurant Association, also underlined the importance of staff training ahead of the event.
“Prepare as you would for a really busy Christmas,” he said.
“There should be activity starting about ten days before the Games begins and the same at the other side.
“Staff training is imperative. Additional staff will definitely need recruited and trained.”
His views were echoed by Iain Clague of E&S Positive Performance Solutions, who said failing to have the right number of properly trained staff in place could have a detrimental impact on business.
“The operators that have taken action will be in the best position for repeat custom, not only while the events are on but also for future tourism,” he said.
“At this stage they should be ensuring they have a core staff that know the business.
“Make sure that your core staff also know how to manage people so that when temp staff are brought in they can get them up to speed as quickly as possible, and to the standards you expect to achieve the results you are looking for.”
Stella Callaghan, project manager at tourism training initiative Glasgow Service With Style, said bar, restaurant and hotel staff are “key to the delivery of an outstanding Games experience”.
“Now is the time for businesses to think about what they need to do to ensure they are ready,” she said.
“Customer service training is a major consideration – our customer service must be world class to ensure visitors go home with a story to tell.
“Glasgow will be buzzing with thousands of visitors with different nationalities, cultural backgrounds and languages – do your staff have the skills and knowledge to deal with a vibrant mix of visitors?”
BHA Scotland’s Willie Macleod advised operators to have menus translated into some of the main international languages.
“While it is likely that visitors to Scotland or Glasgow for the Games will be perfectly happy to sample Scottish cuisine, there may be a need to translate menus or for staff to be able to explain a dish to someone whose first language is not English,” he said.
James at GRA also advised operators to use local produce where possible to give visitors a “real taste of Glasgow and Scotland”.
“Be proud of our natural larder and, where possible, name the produce and its provenance in the menus,” he said.
“Have menus prominently displayed for passers by, utilising as much outdoor space as possible.”
• 1.5 billion people are expected to watch the Games on TV
• 15,000 volunteers will help ensure the Games runs smoothly
• 100,000 more people will visit Glasgow in the next three years
• 390,000 meals will be served in the Athletes’ Village