Final preparations: is your business ready for the London 2012 Olympics?

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Olympic games, 2012 summer olympics, Summer olympic games

London's hospitality businesses are being urged to get ahead of the Games
London's hospitality businesses are being urged to get ahead of the Games
With less than a month to go until the London 2012 Olympics kick off, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called on the capital’s business leaders to finalise their travel plans, urging them not to chance it by adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach.

At an event set up for London’s high-profile businesses to share best practice and experiences, Johnson was joined by secretary of state for transport Justine Greening MP, London’s transport commissioner Peter Hendy CBE, and LOCOG chair Seb Coe.

Businesses were advised to finalise their plans and, crucially, to communicate these plans to staff. The Mayor has also recorded his own announcement which was broadcast across London’s tube and transport networks for the first time yesterday, warning travellers to plan their journeys ahead of the Games.

“This summer will be a hugely exciting time for London,” said Johnson. “With a million extra visitors a day to our great city, our roads and public transport services are going to be exceptionally busy, and journeys may take longer than usual.

“So, it’s vital that businesses and Londoners don’t adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach and play their part in putting on a fantastic Olympics. So don’t get caught out – check how your journeys will be affected and plan ahead at​."

Greening added: “The London Olympics and Paralympics will be once-in-a-lifetime events and it’s going to be a great time to be in London.  

Logistical challenge

“Whether you’re a global company or a sole trader, you need to make sure you’re looking at your options for travel during the Games and that you have the latest information on how your journeys will be affected.”

This is not the first occasion that hospitality businesses have been warned about the potential travel chaos of the Olympics. Late last year, Transport for London (TfL) warned of the ‘huge logistical challenge’​ posed by the event, with the release of detailed hotspot information.

Prior to that, Johnson had called on London’s SMEs to take advantage of the latest wireless technology​ during the Games, and also called on higher food standards​ across the capitals hotels and restaurants.

Among the speakers at yesterday’s Olympics preparation event was Lawrence Keogh, head chef of The Wolseley – part of Rex Restaurants - who shared the Group’s plans for Games-time travel.

“Our restaurants, such as The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel, are established names on the London restaurant scene,” he said. “Key to our success is the total focus on our customers’ experience and ensuring that we consistently deliver this at the highest levels.

Deliveries and staffing

“In preparation for the Games, the team and I have met with all our suppliers and worked with our deliveries department to guarantee an uninterrupted delivery schedule.  We have adapted our bookings policy to allow for customers who may have been delayed reaching the restaurants. 

“We’ve also had to think of new ways of working, such as sharing facilities to store stock among our three restaurants; ordering extra refrigeration in advance, ensuring we have extra spare parts for critical equipment and working with staff to confirm they have alternative routes to get in, linking up staff members who live in the same area to advise each other on potential delays.

“We feel certain that we are well-prepared to deal with whatever challenges or opportunities the Games may bring and look forward to welcoming Londoners and visitors alike to our restaurants this summer.”

Meanwhile, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has this week welcomed a poster that pubs can use to advertise that they will be showcasing the London 2012 Olympics.

Watch the Games here

LOCOG has designed the poster and in most cases its use should ensure that businesses can stick to the brand guidelines on how they associate themselves with the Olympics.

“Watching sport in a pub is now part of our DNA,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds. “The Olympics and Paralympics offer pubs a real focus for the summer. 

“If estimates of a £750m retail spend come to fruition, pubs need the ability to market their premises to visitors and the local community who can drink a pint and watch and support their team.”

“It’s good to have an official ‘watch the Games here’ poster to enable pubs to advertise that they are showing the Games and encourage customers to watch.”

Despite the UK gearing for an influx of visitors from around the world for the Games, there have been questions raised about the impact of the event for hospitality businesses, particularly those in the hotel sector, with some believing it may in fact lead to a drop in occupancy figures.

So… is your business ready?

If you’re unsure whether your business is fully prepared for the Olympics, or if you need some extra advice on staffing, transport, deliveries or marketing, take a look at these:

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