I’ve been trying to write this post for over 6 months. I’ve been wanting to write this for so long and have been putting it off because I honestly don’t know where to begin. Is it weird that I have so much to say about the topic but I also don’t know what to say?!
I guess let’s start with this (I may need to make this a series on my blog) – no matter where you stand regarding the pandemic, masking, social distancing, etc. the damage has already been done to the restaurant industry. It’s going to be a slow climb out of this situation, and truth be told our industry will never look the same again. Restaurants have closed or are on the verge of closing. Others are trying to hold on for dear life while accumulating more debt and bills continue to stack up.
But don’t get me wrong, some are thriving. And I do believe that food businesses can be profitable and serve customers even during this pivotal time in our industry. Here are a few ideas on how:
- Make a shippable product. A lot of food businesses have found ways to create online stores and ship food products to their customers.
- Be malleable and observant. Observe your customer patterns and pivot to what works for you them (and for you). An example: Do you notice that your customers prefer online ordering so they can just swing by and pick up instead of wait? Create an online ordering system through your POS system so they can order and make it easy for them to access.
- Cut down on your expenses. This coincides with tip number 2. Did you observe that your peak customer times are during a certain time of day? Cut your hours of operation to your peak hours. Trying to save on your utilities? Unplug your appliances that don’t need to be connected while you’re closed. It’s not a lot, but every penny counts.
- Create multiple sources of income. Multiple revenue streams is important, that way when one is slow you’ve got another stream going. In person pick up may be 1, another could be an online store, and another could be wholesale.
- During down time focus on things you can control, like marketing and training. If you have employees doing nothing while they’re waiting for customers to walk in use it as an opportunity to brush up on some of their skills or teach them something new to take some load off your plate. During down time create content to post on your social media because marketing is SO important during times like these.
The harsh reality is that even if communities begin to lift safety protocols like mandates, not 100% of people will feel comfortable going out on a regular basis. So even if we as an industry are ready for our customers to return, society will need its time to return to normal. That means we as an industry need to brace ourselves for the long haul and slow growth. In the mean time, until this pandemic becomes a fond nightmare that was behind us completely, how are you going to remain profitable and thrive?