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What will make people comfortable returning to your business?

Now that lockdowns are ending and businesses are starting to open up, what health and safety practices will make people feel most comfortable to return to your business while the coronavirus is still out there? Whether you have a location-based entertainment venue such as a family entertainment center (FEC), bowling center, a cultural venue, a restaurant, a retail store or any other type of B2C brick-and-mortar business, what will make people feel safe to return? Morning Consult ran a poll on May 7-9 of 2,200 American adults asking them to what extent would different precautions make you feel more comfortable visiting businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums in the months ahead. Here’s the results for all adults, as well as by generation, who answered ‘much more comfortable’ or ‘somewhat more comfortable’ for eight different practices

It is interesting that sanitizing high touch surfaces and installing hand sanitizers ranks higher than social spacing and less density or requiring employees and customers to wear masks, since the majority of infections most likely occur from airborne transmission rather than from touching common surfaces. And regardless, since many people are asymptomatic carriers of the Covid-19 virus, either newly infected before symptoms show up or asymptomatically infected, having everyone wear a mask and maintain social distancing can be the best preventive practice (Researchers say 25% to 50% of peoplewith Covid-19 are unaware they have the virus. Some studies show even higher percentages).  

The generational data suggests that GenZers are least concerned about their safety than the older generations. 

To customers, perception is reality. So, to maximize their attractiveness to customers, businesses need to make sure customers see employees regularly sanitizing high-touch common surfaces, the highest-rated practice in the poll that made people feel comfortable. Additionally, as my personal recommendation to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, as well as being supported by the poll results, follow all social distancing and lower density recommendations, enforce them and make sure all staff and customers wear masks (except when eating and drinking.)

We have a survey on May 6-11 by Civic Science that examined what type restaurants people trust the most for its cleanliness and safety protocols. National and regional chains were trusted the least, accounting for only 17% of survey responses. Local restaurants were by far the most trusted at 42%. It is disappointing to see that 41% of people distrusted any restaurants.

It’s probably not too much of a stretch to extrapolate these results to location-based entertainment (LBE) venues, most of which serve food and beverages, often accounting for one-half or more of their revenues, and conclude that people will trust the cleanliness and safety protocols of local LBEs much more than regional or national chains. 

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 30-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri , has worked for over 550 clients in 36 countries in North and Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Projects the company has produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment, play and leisure facilities. Randy was featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company’s projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment. Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He has authored over 100 articles that have been published in leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker at conventions of over 20 different leisure trade groups. Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter - https://twitter.com/whitehutchinson
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