The current crisis has thrown the industry a curveball, and many restaurants aren’t sure how to react. While this isn’t the kind of extra hours in the day we asked for, it can be an opportunity to come back better than before.
Many cities and states have implemented lockdown rules, and there are new sets of policies and procedures to follow, from reduced capacity to take away only. These are mandatory, and we have to react fast, but can also help keep things afloat while we work through this. Being open to a shift in concept is an opportunity for work for your staff, and can build relationships with future guests. Many restaurants are moving to family-style options, meal prep options, or even setting up a menu a la carte style. Take a look at what you have, and what you can provide. Partnering with a food delivery company can also fast-track this new booming concept. Get the word out on social media, and give your community a new experience with your food.
Knowing where to start can be hard, so to get new ideas update yourself on the newest restaurant trends. It’s easy to get caught in the bubble of your own location and be set in following the path that has always worked before. But restaurants are fast-paced and staying competitive starts with keeping an eye on what’s happening in the world of hospitality. There are many online journals dedicated to helping restaurants know what’s around the corner. It’s important to know what opportunities and shifts are coming, from customer preferences, design, menus, operations, and how the industry itself is changing. A perfect place to start is Modern Restaurant Management, it covers every imaginable corner of what goes into running a restaurant today.
Take the available time to work on all the little projects and jobs that you’ve been putting off.
Clear out the office, get storage better organized. Fix up all the little bumps and bruises your locations take, and when you reopen, welcome guests into a better, brighter version of their favorite place to meet with friends and family. This can also be a great time to reach out to your community, build a better social media presence, reply to each comment and engage locally.
This is a great opportunity to look at what is working, and what’s not. Are the current systems in place really the most efficient and cost-effective. This can be from the bottom up, “Are we using the space under the POS station well?" all the way to “Can we be saving money with a new, more modern Reservation System?” Take the time to look at what you have and reevaluate. Now would be a good time to check out new possibilities, and try them out, train, without the learning curve affecting your service.
You have some rockstars on your team, and you don’t want to lose them. Employees who feel valued and invested-in stay. Loyalty is the golden goose in this industry, most restaurants will say that staff turnover is the top three biggest headaches and stresses. So while adhering to CDC guidelines, bring them in and show them the skills you want them to have upon reopening. You want to show a strong front, and boost the morale of your team. Set up a call or video chat, and encourage your staff to help come up with ideas they would like to see implemented. New perspectives can bolster your efforts in bringing together your team as well as open your eyes to new areas of opportunity to improve upon.
When this ends, be ready to spring back better than before.
By Jen Cheney
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