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What Happens When It’s Over?

My thoughts on what happens to our business when we open back up.

I’ll continue to add to this list as I see things happening.

A personal note.

With today’s crisis, you’re probably wondering . . . is my business built to last?

Let me tell it to you straight: if you keep doing what you were doing before this crisis, your business will probably not grow after this crisis.

I’m talking about . . .

  • Working longer hours hoping it’ll give you better results
  • Panicking at every crisis and reacting out of fear instead of leading through it
  • Never investing in yourself or your staff or your business
  • Letting your business swallow up your personal priorities at home
  • Never delegating to your team and piling more on your plate
  • Failing to embrace change
  • Putting out fires instead of prioritizing the true work of growing your business
  • Never focusing on growth and always on survival
  • And the biggest one of all…never asking for help.

Today’s crisis might’ve shown you just how much you and your business are missing in order to grow and scale over the long haul.

The good news is, I’ve been where you are, and I know the way out.

And with that, let’s get started.

General


  • Utilize current SBA programs – check qualifications to see if you qualify
  • Closely monitor news for changes to SBA relief programs
  • Continue to simplify EVERY offering and service until you can reboot your operation in accordance with the recovery timeline for your Guests.
  • But move quickly to shore up your expanded position (after you have created a strategic recovery plan) and added the talent necessary to execute.
  • Be more strategic in your planning. How could you have evolved your concept into a brand that could dominate your category in your market before the crisis? Can you do that now? Why not?
  • Utilize technology to help you grow your business. Yes, I said grow.
  • Does a ghost kitchen make sense?
  • Does a food truck make better sense?
  • Communication with your Guests will be as critical (if not more so) than it was during the crisis. Remain positive and create meaningful, differentiated value for your Guests.
  • Until the supply chains ramp back up, be wary of inventory and continue to be creative with the basics and sourcing, but now may be the time to be as bold as your level of risk will allow in order to differentiate yourself from the herd.
  • But keep your processes as simple as possible. Remember you don’t have the staff you used to.
  • Labor shouldn’t be an issue so now you can be more selective in the talent you hire.
  • Continue to pressure your vendors for help in reestablishing your value.
  • For the ultra-aggressive, you should be able to pick up equipment, supplies, locations and talent at really good prices.
  • If you don’t have a good enough website (most do not) with online ordering capability or mobile app, now is the time to invest in one.

Dine-In


  • Guests will be only slightly weary of getting out so fast and dine-in will recover slowly but it will resume quicker than you imagine (July 4th). Be prepared. If market conditions improve generally, (Baseball starts real schedules, concerts, conferences, etc…) then be prepared for business.
  • Avoid the temptation to deal like everyone else will.
  • It will be important to recalibrate (simplify) your menus to facilitate service to all of your off premise venues.

Delivery


  • Delivery was just ramping up when all hell broke loose.
  • Delivery will remain solid as long as 3rd party delivery companies maintain their price breaks. Once they lift them, people will respond by using other options. The question is how long will they last. Eventually 3rd party delivery companies will have to recalibrate their pricing or they won’t be able to continue their organic growth.
  • Also, Guests have grown accustomed to ordering from 3rd party delivery companies so it will be hard to ween them off unless they have a value option to go to.
  • This is the point where everyone, chains and independents, will need to decide how they will recalibrate their delivery offerings. I think it’s time you look at owning your delivery brand instead of letting a 3rd party abuse it.

To-Go & Catering


  • To-go will continue to be a solid performer until Guests get drawn to gathering again in your dining room.
  • Look for opportunities to extend out from your basic menus in ways you didn’t before. Start thinking seasonal rotations/additions and LTOs.
  • Family packs and meals will continue to add sales but watch them closely.

Staffing


  • Hopefully you kept in touch with your “A” level staff and can quickly re-mobilize them.
  • Please, please, please be smarter about who you hire and don’t be so desperate to get back into the game that you cut your nose off to spite your face.
  • Now’s the perfect time to ramp your service game up to set you apart from the herd. Guests will want more service and Hospitality than before. Don’t let their desire to have a good time now that the worst is over, fool you into thinking they won’t be even more demanding.
  • Train better than you ever have. Make this 2nd chance count.

If you have any questions about any issue. Just ask. I’ll answer them here.

Jeffrey Summers
For four decades, my coaching, consulting, public speaking, workshops, management team retreats and articles have helped thousands of hospitality leaders worldwide, build successful businesses. The Summers Hospitality Group is a global full-service hospitality consulting firm best known for its unique results-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on their organizations.

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