Restaurant Owners: 6 ways to navigate the new foodservice landscape
Hustle and bustle filled restaurants just a few months ago until COVID19 changed that and brought hardships and damages to the food industry. No matter the past and difficulties, there are silver linings to be found and this trying time can be a springboard to a better and more secure future for your restaurant.
According to Melva Sine with the Utah Restaurant Association, she said in the first 22 days of March restaurants lost $173 million dollars in sales and lost more than 25,000 jobs. Multiply that by 49 other states some of which were affected much more severely than Utah, and it is easy to see that damages have been drastic. Change and uncertainty were always a part of business, but now are more inevitable than ever.
Change isn’t always a bad thing and can be used to ones’ advantage. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great wrote about how difficulties come but with faith, it’s possible to move forward.
“You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.”
These tough times will pass. Keep the faith and hope that your restaurant will become better than it was before. Break it down, apply these steps, and keep pushing forward.
The current circumstances are redefining what “normal” is and will be, so going back to the way things were will never be an option. However, this shift in the industry can be a major opportunity to take advantage of a shifting market. The first step is to look at what you have learned and find the silver linings. There is good that has come from this trying time – it is your job to find that good. As you break down your restaurant and what is going on you will be able to better address what to do moving forward.
Think of these three key components as you go through the 6 highlighted entities below to help you and your company not just survive, but excel through COVID19: Perspective: Where are you at? Vision: Where do you want to be? Adjusting, planning, and implementing: How will you get there?
We researched and found the six main things you and your company need to be life insured moving forward to know where you should be:
- Enhance Customer Experience
In order to keep your customers, you have to think about how they are thinking. Why do people want to eat at our place? What foodservice companies are thriving? Chick Fil A has long lines but has a system to make it as efficient as possible, deliver quality hot food, and satisfy their customers. To optimize customer processes, think about how efficient the ordering, delivering and curbside pick up are. Have someone watching for cars that pull up to curbside pick up to ensure timely, hot, and ready food. Consider including extra precautions for in-car eating, like wipes and more napkins.
2. Marketing in new ways: Find creative ways to get the word out
Creativity loves constraint. Before, there was nothing forcing you to be creative in your marketing, but now you are limited. These limitations are the perfect breeding grounds for creativity. Let your customers know you are still there and you care. Try new tactics and ideas to bring people to your restaurant. Create family take-home packs, meal kits, new deals, or new hours. Show that your company is taking all safety and sanitization precautions with tamper seals. Have community-based advertising and capitalize on local resources. Tell stories. Share how your company has handled COVID19. How are you pushing forward? What foods can you give the people that they can’t make at home?
3. Transparency in all things
Greater communication is needed with operations and manufacturers. How are they getting their products to you? More local outsourcing? Creating stronger relationships with your suppliers will help make sure you maintain a healthy flow in your company. Be transparent about these same things with customers as well – everybody loves to be informed, and they will trust you more for it.
4. Ensure Sanitation and Safety
In every area of your business, this is your number one priority. For your customers, do you have contactless ordering, digital channels, virtual drive-through/curbside pickup? Consider using tamper seals and getting new delivery packaging. When available to have people dine-in, how will you maintain 6 feet apart? Create a disaster plan. Look into a VP of operator solutions to ensure the safety and sanitization of your food.
5. Improve Technology
Touchless ordering is the main thing foodservice businesses are considering. In addition to that, does your company have an app? Is it easy to use? Do you have car tracking? Does your website have updates and an easy-to-read menu? Do you have self-sense ordering? What kind of experience can you create through technology? Technology has improved drastically over the past few years. You can use it for sanitization tracking. There are new ways to optimize ordering, point of sale, and delivery. With the foodservice industry relying heavily on curbside pickup, great technology is a must, and any technological improvements you make now will benefit you for years to come.
6. Internal Processes Running Smoothly
What is your company all about? What are your company’s motto and vision? Who do you hire and why? Once those questions are established, how do you protect your employees? Some companies have started taking the temperature of their employees as they come into work. How are you embracing your employees? Increase pay for employees. Be flexible.
Embrace a new reality
The foodservice industry will never be the same. Changing your perspective is key. Use COVID19 as an opportunity to improve all entities of your company. These six things will help your company know how to move forward confidently.