How to get back on track during the aftermath of the pandemic?

How to get back on track during the aftermath of the pandemic?

In the COVID-19 pandemic, every business adopted a new way of functioning and a new set of norms. The restaurant industry took a heavy blow. But now, many restaurants are following a fundamental plan to maximize success and get back to their winning ways.

1) Reopen Your Restaurant at Your Own Pace

While some restaurant owners are choosing open theirs for patio dining where weather permits, and indoor dining where allowed, there are also some owners who are choosing to remain as ‘takeout and/or delivery only’ for the time being. Whichever option is right for you, it’s important to get prepared for future changes to your restaurant’s plan during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s important to note that even if reopening your restaurant is possible, things will not be able to go back to ‘normal’ from day one – there is a lot to do, staff to bring back or hire, vendors to contact, menus to update and preventative measures still need to be taken to protect the health of customers and staff. By thinking and planning ahead you can become one of the first businesses available to customers once the lockdown is lifted.

2) Consider updating your hiring and training methods

As restaurants begin to rehire employees they laid off at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, updated health guidelines and other operational factors might cause the existing workforce to look and function very differently than it did pre-coronavirus. Foodservice job boards are reflecting a renewed focus on off-premise services, crowd management and health and safety. For many employees returning to work after being furloughed or laid off, they are finding that restaurants have radically shifted its operations: They may be hiring more delivery drivers than servers, more drive-thru workers than cashiers, and completely new positions have opened up like sanitation captains and food-safety officers. Despite the job demand both on the hiring and the hired sides, restaurant industry turnover is higher than ever mainly due to safety-and-health concerns in and out of the workplace. Because of this trend, the hiring, training and onboarding processes work differently now. The number of hires for broad titles such as crew member and team member are becoming much more common nowadays. This is because they have added new steps to the training process: new hires start by managing the front door to temperature check people and make sure they are wearing masks. The second stage is cleaning and sanitizing, and then if they make it to the third month, they learn more skills. But even with jack-of-all-trade positions on the rise at restaurants, many restaurants are also looking for specific skills when hiring (or rehiring) employees.

3) Start leveraging big data to enhance your marketing and promotions

In an increasingly competitive and unpredictable F&B industry, it is difficult to keep up with the latest trends and align the processes accordingly. However, with the recent advancements in technology, restaurant owners can now have detailed access to valuable information. Operational issues such as poor inventory management, employee scheduling, unidentified marketing metrics, or menu forecasts can be easily tracked and rectified through restaurant data and analytics. When utilized adequately, this restaurant data can be beneficial in understanding business patterns and improving your overall business. Restaurant data analytics can readily determine the fundamental performance of menu items. Based on the economic trends and customer preferences, you can determine the items that have been most preferred or least ordered. If a specific item isn’t getting many orders or your overall sales are going down, you can investigate the root cause with data and analytics. Based on these insights, you can either add new items to the menu or eliminate dishes that are not doing well from the menu altogether. It will also help you to achieve the right balance of items across different categories of the menu. Data analytics plays a significant role in elevating the overall guest experience. With information such as order preferences, demographics, etc., restaurant owners can readily personalize their customers’ dining/ordering experience. Based on the customer’s ordering history, you can send push notifications related to their food preferences or send out personalized offers on special occasions.

September 23, 2021