About three months after they were forced to close, restaurants and bars around the country have begun the reopening process in hopes it will help restore the economy and add some normalcy back into our lives. And while it’s a step in the right direction, it’s likely that the hospitality industry will be dealing with issues caused by the novel coronavirus for months, if not years to come. Whether it’s because of capacity or distancing requirements, lower sales, or health concerns, one thing is for sure: the hospitality industry looks different today than it did at the beginning of this year.
Despite the vast economic changes to the industry compared to this time last year, The NPD Group reports “found that transactions declined just 18% during the week ended May 24.” Although it’s likely business will continue to pick up, it’s important to remember that rolling lockdowns are possible – meaning it’s not time to relax just yet.
For restaurants to survive this pandemic and any future lockdowns, it’s important to find easy-to-implement actions that can help cut costs or improve limited operations should it become necessary. LGC’s CEO George Lessmeister, who has almost 20 years in the hospitality industry and double in the professional staffing world, weighs in on a few tactics that can be used to survive the pandemic.
1. Analyze existing expenditures for necessity
One of the biggest issues that has come from COVID-19 (besides health and safety concerns) is a lack of funds due to low sales. To make up for some of the missing funds, management should review all expenditures for necessity and adjust from there. For example, food costs. Are there dishes you can remove from your menu, can you combine/create new dishes that utilize more of your food items? By removing menu items that aren’t integral to your operation, you’ll be able to allocate those funds to something more pressing. Plus, this might be a good time to re-evaluate your menu in general if you haven’t done so in more than a year.
2. Investigate new avenues for payroll funding
Paying employees is another main issue that arose from the coronavirus shutdowns. In some cases, restaurants could not afford to reopen because they couldn’t compensate the employees they need to get up and running again. By finding alternative payroll funding, you can get back to business and continue to support your employees and guests long-term.
LGC offers a solution that allows you to pay your employees while deferring expenses for 30 days. To learn more about Payrolling, click here.
3. Utilize social media
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are great tools for restaurants to use at any point, but especially during the pandemic. Take this time to improve and organize your platforms to ensure you have consistent branding with your messaging and images. More importantly, you should utilize social media first and foremost to communicate with your guests (and maybe your team). Guests should be kept up to date on the following:
- When you’ll be reopening/what your current hours are
- What steps you’re taking to uphold health and safety measures
- What is required of guests (wearing PPE, etc.)
- Any other information pertinent to your operations
By being open and honest with your customers, they’ll feel more comfortable returning to your establishment once they’re able to. Not to mention, it’ll give you a leg up on your competition if they haven’t released similar messages.
4. Review your service model
It’s likely that there are parts of your service model that can be improved to better service the requirements that have come from the pandemic. Do you currently not offer to-go or delivery? Are your hours too limited? Can you partner with another business to create a brand-new offering? Consider reviewing your service model and implementing any necessary improvements that can help drive business – you never know what you’ll come up with.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to get creative in order to handle the months-long shut down we experienced across the country. Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet, with some experts suggesting years before the restaurant industry returns to what we deem as normal. But by following some of the suggestions above, you’ll be able to survive (and possibly even thrive) during these uncertain times.
Did you know LGC offers a variety of staffing solutions that can help you put together the team you need? Contact us today to learn more.