The restaurant industry is being profoundly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and in countries around the globe. Business is slower at many restaurants as customers are more reluctant to dine out. A recent survey discovered that three in 10 consumers say they “plan on leaving the house less often, not go to restaurants as often or not order food or beverages at away-from-home venues as often.” But don’t be discouraged! With a little savvy you can tweak your business model to adapt to the dining at home environment and even be a hero to those who are stuck at home.
Ramp up Your Delivery Service
Perhaps the most important thing you can do as a restaurant owner or manager as the country deals with the coronavirus epidemic is to enhance your delivery service. Areas all around the country, especially cities, have seen a spike in delivery orders as people work from home. Hire more delivery drivers and streamline your delivery process if delivery was not previously a big part of your business. You can set up a system that works similarly to an assembly line, with different workers in charge of different tasks, such as taking delivery orders, packing the food, organizing the food and having it ready for the delivery driver, and then of course the drivers themselves.
Also, make sure your delivery drivers wear gloves and follow best health practices! Some delivery services such as Postmates are even offering no-touch delivery, where customers can choose for the driver to leave the food at the door. You can also advertise delivery discounts for sections of the population who are most at-risk, such as seniors or those with underlying health issues who are self-quarantining. This will help the spread of the virus by presenting options to those who should not leave the house for health reasons, and it will show the community that your restaurant has their best interests at heart.
Update Your Menu
If your restaurant sells food prone to carrying infections, emphasize other dishes on your menu. Sushi involves a lot of handling by cooks, and people are less likely to order it during this time. The coronavirus is not thought to be spread through food, but you can advertise on your website that some dishes that are never touched directly by staff as well – emphasize that all staff wear gloves at all times now!
The coronavirus epidemic in the U.S. is bad news for the restaurant business, but it also presents opportunities to adapt to a new market landscape and show your customers and employees that you care about their health and are doing everything to help in the emergency.
Challenge: This week, streamline your delivery service by evaluating the new demand and seeing how much you should expand your service. Have gloves ready for all your current and new delivery drivers!