Just about the only thing that is certain right now is that everyone is looking forward to the day when the COVID-19 crisis has passed. We all want to be back in business and doing what we love. When we get there, it’s likely that our industry won’t look quite the same. Whether you are closed temporarily or are adapting to off-premise dining options, operators may have some time on their hands and staff that they may want to put to work – especially if you are expecting to receive Paycheck Protection funds soon. For that reason, we have created a Top 10 Shelter in Place task list to help you make the most of your time.
Apply for relief funds If you missed the first round of CARES Act PPP loans or chose not to participate because of reopening uncertainty, consider checking out the next wave of funding. Smaller banks are being prioritized in the hopes that the money will go to the small businesses that need it the most. That being said, it won’t last long and there are lots of applications in the queue, so it’s time to get your paperwork in order. Seven Rooms published this helpful calculator to help you decide if the Paycheck Protection Program is for you.
- Invest in your digital properties
If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that omnichannel isn’t just a silicon valley buzzword. Being present in delivery partner marketplaces, having a functional website with online ordering, and a solid social media game are keys to success not only in the current situation but also with today’s consumer.
- Streamline your menu
Consumers love choice and variety – this is until they are hit with an economic recession. History tells us that when times are tough, we want simplicity in decision making and value in our purchases. Value-based bundles that don’t skimp on quality will be the way to go.
- Explore new partnerships
There have been some creative partnerships formed during the crisis. From restaurants and wholesalers to farmers and independent operators, it is refreshing to see how the industry is pivoting to keep the doors open. Look at your list of suppliers and local vendors for inspiration – you may find a new revenue source that can help in our eventual recovery.
- Check with your insurance broker
It’s an excellent time to see what kind of coverage you have, what coverage you might need to extend (think Delivery Drivers), and what you have that will protect you now in the current climate.
- Food safety refresher
It’s never a bad time to take a food safety refresher course and maybe think about how you will adapt your procedures going forward. ServSafe is offering a free Food Handler course and some additional training for take-out and delivery best practices. Have your team take advantage of this opportunity today, then be sure to share with your customers the heightened safety guidelines your team is now adhering to.
- Evaluate your dining room floor plan
Operators need to consider adjusting dining room capacity to meet on-going social distancing norms. Consumers were already showing their preference for off-site dining options and the crisis will likely reinforce some of those behaviors. Adapt your dining room to give guests more space and your delivery/ to-go business room to grow.
- Brush up on forecasting
If you are forecasting pro, you are aware of the need to document these times that we will view as an anomaly sometime in the future. Even some of the most experienced operators, who are doing a healthy delivery and to-go business, have not addressed the need to set-up revenue centers. When it’s all said and done, you will want to know how much of your business came from all the various off-premise channels and partners. Take a look at some of the training videos we have put together to guide you through this process.
- Stay connected to your teams
If your team is furloughed or laid off, it is critically important to keep the lines of communication open. Regardless of their employment status, HotSchedules managers continue to use our messaging and preload features to check in on their people, do wellness checks, and keep them posted on their efforts to get back on track.
- Plan your comeback party
Everyone needs something to look forward to right now. Why not brainstorm with your staff on your plan for an epic comeback? How you can reward customers who stood by you and celebrate with the community once we can gather again.
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