At this very uncertain time during the coronavirus outbreak, many restaurants have been forced to make the decisions whether to close completely or transform themselves into a to-go or delivery service.
If you are taking the step to convert into a to-go or delivery service, we have put together 15 points that you may need to consider whilst making the transition.
- Analyse your cash flow. Careful consideration needs to be made as to whether it is worth converting to a to-go or delivery service. If you have never offered these services before, your revenue may go down to around 5-10% of your usual on-site sales.
- Communicate with your employees. If you decide to remain open, your employees must be made aware of their rights and responsibilities. Local governments have released guidance on employee rights and responsibilities. It would be advisable to have these printed and available for view in your staff area.
- Adjust labour. Review your requirements and run on skeleton crew. If you have employees that are no longer required due to the COVID-19 outbreak, take advantage of the government retention scheme.
- Research a delivery team. There are many services around that offer a delivery service for a fee. Research which companies operate in your area, and which would be most suitable for you. Some companies, such as uber eats, are waving delivery fees for independent restaurants during the corona virus outbreak.
- Consider how you are receiving payments. During this time, it is best to take payments as contactless as possible. Is it worth considering implementing a no-cash policy at your venue? Bearing in mind the limit imposed on contactless credit card payments. If you are using an online ordering and delivery company, they may handle online payments for you.
- Alcohol to-go. Do you already have a licence to sell alcohol? It is worth reviewing the terms of your licence to see if you are able to sell alcohol with your takeaway orders? This could boost your revenue. If you do not have a licence, consider whether it would be worthwhile offering an ‘everything but alcohol’ cocktail service with food orders. You can supply a premixed cocktail without alcohol to customers for them to add their own alcohol in at home.
- Review your menu. Is it worth downsizing what you offer as a takeaway service? With only skeleton staff working, you need to ensure the kitchen is not over stretched and you are able to meet the demand for orders to maintain customer satisfaction. Review what your most popular dishes are and consider only offering them at this time.
- Review your opening times. If you are a restaurant usually open all day, it may not be financially beneficial to keep these opening hours the same. Consider only opening of an evening when customers will be most likely to order.
- Adjust your ordering accordingly. If you do decide to downsize your menu and opening times; take stock of what is in your inventory and adjust your orders so that you are only ordering what you require. Try not to stockpile certain items and keep to your regular order schedule. A national quarantine has not yet been implemented; however, it is still a possibility and you don’t want to have surplus stock if this becomes the case.
- Over-communicate handwashing. Set strict protocols amongst your employees and over communicate the importance of compliance with them. Provide employees with suitable PPE whilst working. If you are still taking cash, provide hand sanitiser at till points for use after handling cash.
- Set up an additional hygiene checklist. It is important that frequently touched surfaces are shown additional sanitation during this pandemic. Websites such as coronaviruschecklist.com will provide you with free checklists and resources to implement addition hygiene within your venue.
- Check for symptoms. Make it a requirement that any employees with even mild symptoms do not come into work and stay home for 14 days. Likewise, if you are offering a to-go collection service, do not allow customers displaying symptoms to enter your premises. Display posters on your door asking customers not to enter if they are unwell.
- Adhere to confidentiality. If one of your employees does become unwell with COVID-19, do not disclose their name. You should however, disclose to your other employees that they may have been exposed to coronavirus.
- Market yourself. Let your customers know that you are still open for business as a to-go or delivery service. Consider offers for customers to boost sales and maintain a presence on social media.
- Observe social distancing. If you are offering a to-go collection service, ensure your customers are complying with social distancing regulations by providing floor markings in the collection area 2 metres apart. This can be done quickly and cheaply by using tape on the floor. Provide hand sanitiser on your collection counter for customer use.
We are currently in a very uncertain time; the hospitality industry is facing the greatest challenge of many of our lifetimes. Upon government advice, ‘non-essential’ businesses have been asked to close, leaving many Bar, Restaurant and Entertainment Venue owners and their employees worried about their businesses, employment, bills, essential supplies and their future.
We have put together a list of 15 ideas that can help you survive during the next few months and keep you on track for your GRAND REOPENING.
- Step back and gain perspective. Its very easy in uncertain times to feel overwhelmed. Emotions are running high and people are feeling stressed. The best thing you can do is to try to step back from the situation and assess what you can change right now and what you have no control over. Try to let go of the things that you have no control over and instead, focus all your time and energy into what you can do. How can you use this ‘downtime’ to positively influence you and the future of your business?
- Limit the airtime you give the media. Spending too much time following every media story surrounding the coronavirus outbreak can have a negative effect on your wellbeing by consuming too much negativity. Instead, set yourself a daily time limit, and try to obtain your information directly from factual sources such as the World Health Organisation, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the NHS.
- Remain social. In the hospitality industry, we are social creatures. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, we have all been asked to self-isolate at home, however in the world of technology these days, self-isolation doesn’t have to be lonely. Find new and creative ways to communicate with your family, friends and colleagues to keep everyone’s spirits high… create a new group chat to keep everyone included and involved or hold a quiz night via a multi person video messaging service. The only limit is your imagination.
- Use your time productively. It’s very easy when at home to sit for hours in front of the television. Whilst downtime is enjoyable and important, its also important to keep a sense of routine. Write yourself a list of goals that you would like to achieve whilst self-isolating. Rank the goals in order of what is most important to you. Next to each of the goals, formulate a plan on how you can achieve it. Refer back to your plan when you feel yourself procrastinating.
- Grow as a person. How many of us have personal goals that we have never really taken seriously? For instance, learning a new language or skill? Many of us have dreams that we never find the time in ‘real life’ to achieve. However we have now all been given the gift of time, so use it wisely and learn a new skill, read a book, start a blog; do whatever you would like to so you don’t look back once this is over and wish you hadn’t wasted the time you had.
- Take advantage of Government help. You have worked hard to build your business up from the ground. Nobody could envisage the coronavirus outbreak, but it doesn’t need to be the end of your hard work. Take advantage of the Government scheme to pay 80% of your employees’ wages whilst your business is closed. This gives your employees the security of knowing they have some money to pay their bills and live, but also gives you the security that when you’re ready to open your doors once again, you will have all your loyal staff by your side.
- Reduce your outgoings as much as possible. Contact your landlord about a ‘rent holiday’. Contact all your service providers to place your subscriptions on hold i.e. till payment systems, online booking systems, credit card device subscription, payroll. Anything that you are subscribed to, ask for your services to be suspended during closure.
- Sort your finances. If required, look into obtaining a bank or Small Business Association Loan. They have set up help dedicated to the COVID-19 breakout.
- Clean and revive. When able, use this time to perform a deep clean of your venue ready for reopening. If funds allow, now is the perfect time to repair or renovate areas of your venue so that it has a complete fresh start.
- Revive your social media. Go through all of your content and correct any inaccuracies. Update your opening times anywhere that you appear. Add your website and phone number to google.
- Remain active on social media. This doesn’t have to be marketing based, just touch base with your fan base from time to time, reassure them that you plan to open as soon as you can. Promote any future plans of events with dates to be confirmed. Let them know you are performing a deep clean. Tease them with the knowledge that you’re undergoing a small face lift to excite people to come back once reopened. Consider selling gift vouchers with a long expiry date on so that people are able to help financially support you right now and will be able to use the vouchers once you reopen.
- Up your marketing skills. Learn how to create better Facebook and Instagram ads. Begin creating unique content and save it ready to post once you reopen.
- Review your technology. What are you doing within your business that can be done more efficiently? Are you still using paper for health & safety and cleaning checklists? Consider signing up to the ItsTicked checklist app and spend this downtime setting up ready to hit the ground running when you reopen. Are you staff still taking orders on paper? Research a POS system. Are your staff rotas pinned to a wall? How can this be more efficiently?
- Touch base with your employees. Keep them up to date with new plans you have for the business once open, draw from their experience and welcome ideas from them, it pays for your employees to feel part of the business and for everybody to be on the same page.
- Learn. What have you learnt from COVID-19? What can you do to help your future self if anything similar happens again?
Above all, remain positive. This will pass, we all just need to pull together and ride it out.