Without a doubt, restaurants are one of the businesses that have taken the biggest hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The rules of the game changed overnight as going out became unsafe and lockdowns were announced. So, whether you are a small-scale eatery, a fine-dining restaurant, or anything in between, the biggest worry has turned from growth or expansion to keep the business afloat while taking care of employees, isn’t it? It’s like a superstar went to sleep and woke up as a nobody one day. Well, we see you and we are here to tell you that there are ways to manage the crisis.
With the number of Covid-19 cases rising and no real end in sight, it is now time to enter survival mode while adapting to the drastically changed lifestyles of your customers. Here are ten tips to manage a restaurant business in India as the new normal pans out.
Laws, rules, safe practices, needs of customers, everything is changing almost as fast as the spread of the notorious virus itself. But, the good news is that people always need good, safe food. So, accept that your former strategies, approaches, and goals might not hold true anymore and you need to find what works for today. It is a hairpin bend for sure and it is not going to be easy. But, the quicker you accept the reality, the better equipped you will be to take on the challenges that come with it.
Agility might just be the life jacket that can keep you afloat right now. Obviously, online orders are the order of the day (pardon the pun) and they are going to function completely differently when they are your entire business versus when they were just a small part of your business. So, tweak your business model to offer maximum value through channels that are relevant. Maybe remove the minimum order value, offer free deliveries, guarantee contactless deliveries, etc.
Make a thorough list of your complete inventory, including perishable and non-perishable items, and plan your action points to minimize wastage. Also, keep a tab on the data that you have accumulated as it can be a very powerful resource right now. It is also important to have a clear record of finances and chart new financial goals to survive.
Your employees are the pillars of your business and are crucial to getting the business back up on its feet. Ensure their safety as a priority and communicate transparently. If any of your employees test positive or show symptoms, ask them to isolate themselves and support them in all ways. You could even raise
money from your patrons to support your employees if finances are inadequate.
This is probably the most valuable service you can offer right now. This might also be the most extensive area for you to work on. Invest in the best protective gear for your employees and work on developing the safest possible processes at every level of operations. Implement the processes very strictly and carry out regular inspections to avoid any gaps.
All the taking stock of resources, tweaking business models, and surveying customer problems will give you enough potential to re-imagine what you offer. Maybe you have to design a temporary menu that utilizes existing stock, especially perishable stock. Or, maybe you can offer additional services such as curbside deliveries. The point is to not restrict your imagination and be creative in offering solutions.
Many customers are looking up on the internet more than ever now about their favorite food and this is the best time for you to leverage social media and digital marketing to reach them. Invest in building strong content to communicate your value, improving your online listings, and advertising. Research about customer searches and find every possible way to meet them where they look for you.
It is a tough time for everyone around and this is when the real values of business come to the fore. Build a community that brings together people on the basis of empathy, offer value in terms of information, and keep your customers close. Engage your audience through different channels. There is no better time to really bond with your customers and build loyalty.
You don’t have to go through the challenges alone. Many entrepreneurs are coming together, doing live chats, giving shout-outs for each other and sharing notes. Reach out to entrepreneurs you know, join existing communities online, or start one if you feel the lack of it. It is worth finding support and going forward as a tribe instead of struggling alone.
In continuation of the previous point, as you connect with other entrepreneurs, find ways to collaborate and solve problems together. This can open up a wide range of possibilities in terms of product variations, operations, service additions, etc. We ourselves offer collaborations to help restaurants in their processes and you can check our services here SupplyNote.
These are unprecedented times for sure. But, we will survive and come out stronger with a hell of a story to tell. Let us hold on to that hope and look forward to that!