For the hotel management students at the EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality Passugg, the COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot in terms of their hospitality education, even if it could be continued online.
A highlight for all of them is certainly the development of a business plan during the last study semester. Normally the students prepare intensively together at the school for the upcoming presentations of their business plan project, which has been worked out with much diligence and creative ideas. This semester this was unfortunately not possible for security reasons. So they worked the whole concept out online and with the available digital possibilities.
How do you approach the development of a business plan in coronavirus times?
The starting point for the business plan project is usually the site visit to collect all the necessary basic information, which the classes then go on to together. Due to the Coronavirus Situation this was of course impossible in this semester. Therefore, an exceptional solution was chosen and the students were given a mixed task between a real case and the work on the dossier from home.
Reto Grohmann, Vice Director of Gastroconsult Zurich, was on hand to provide advice and support to the students. Due to the extraordinary situation he had offered to cooperate and supported the students significantly as an online originator.
The Case: Application for a takeover of a restaurant in the countryside
The business plan to be developed was based on a case study of the Landgasthof Halbinsel Au in Au-Wädenswil. The property is idyllically located, directly on Lake Zurich. Its owners have officially tendered the lease of the establishment from February 2022. The four business plan groups had the task of submitting a convincing dossier for this business takeover.
It goes without saying that an original business concept plays a decisive role in the elaboration of the continuation of the lease. In addition, the possible continuing corona effects, if they were to be felt before the planned takeover date, had to be taken into account as well.
As always, a detailed financial section rounded off the work.
What is new and what remains in this online version of the business plan?
Especially in this online project work it was natural that the students had to sit together at a virtual table and could only work with the existing dossier and based on assumptions made.
The hospitality management students received regular coaching from the module leader and could submit questions to the fictitious client in writing.
The training blocks presentation technique and rhetoric remained and were also evaluated at the final presentation on 14 May 2020, which was of course also held online.