This year has been hugely challenging for businesses operating across all industries. However, the impact on the hospitality sector by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantines has been severe. The effects of being unable to open a restaurant business go beyond losing revenue during the quarantine; closure at short notice also means wasted produce and refunded deposits issued to pre-booked customers. These factors can have a disastrous impact on a business. The financial impact of the pandemic has been devastating for the restaurant industry, so to survive this crisis it is essential to have a plan in place to help your business make it through this time as unscathed as possible.
While 2020 may be a year that most people would rather forget, you may be feeling a renewed sense of purpose for the fast-approaching arrival of 2021. New years are always an excellent time for fresh starts, so helping your business to enjoy its best year yet during 2021 is a fantastic goal for the year ahead.
Trying to make the best of a challenging situation always requires some creative thinking. So, planning how you are going to not only guide your business through this tricky time but also help it to thrive is vital. Having a plan of action in place will help make it easier for you to stay on track and to monitor your progress along the way. The year ahead may not be an easy one, but with a robust plan and resilience, you should be able to ride the storm and help your business to thrive. Here is some inspiration to help you to get started on your plan to make 2021 your restaurant’s best year yet:
Protect Your Staff, Customers, and Your Business
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The health of your staff and customers is a number one priority right now, and keeping everyone safe will keep your business healthy too. Doing everything within your control to minimize the risk of any of your staff or customers catching COVID-19 is crucial for your business. Having an employee or customer test positive for COVID could potentially force your business to close temporarily, or at the least leave you short-staffed. Health and safety are the most important concerns right now. But to keep your business viable, you also need to protect it from the impact of a coronavirus outbreak forcing it to close temporarily.
Ensuring that you strictly follow the rules and take all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of anyone contracting COVID, is the best place to start. Training your staff to ensure that they are vigilant and that they understand how they can help to protect people is vital too. Knowing that your business is taking every possible precaution to protect them from the virus is reassuring for your customers. This will make them more likely to continue dining with you both during the pandemic and in the future.
Pivoting and diversifying have been the buzz words for businesses during the pandemic. Adapting your business to ensure that it stays viable is the best way to ride out this situation while still turning a profit. The big question is; how will you diversify? Listening to suggestions from your customers is an excellent way to make an informed decision on how to diversify. It is also essential to monitor how your competitors are adapting to the pandemic and how they have adapted their business model.
Understanding your customers’ changing needs and also being mindful of what your competitors are up to and how successful that has been should help you to make an informed choice.
You may want to introduce a take out service so that you can deliver to your existing customers and attract some new ones along the way. If you struggle with space at your restaurant, then a take out or delivery service could be the best choice. This will allow people to physically distance in the restaurant while still allowing you to stay open and allowing you to maximize your space and your profits without putting anyone at risk.
Health advice on how to reduce the risks of COVID often recommends that you spend time outdoors in the fresh air, rather than being inside with groups of people during the pandemic. Being outside in the air is believed to lessen the chance of the virus spreading, so enabling your customers to sit outdoors is hugely beneficial.
Creating an outdoor seating area is a wise idea for two reasons; firstly, customers are more likely to feel more comfortable eating outside, rather than being indoors surrounded by other people. Secondly, having outdoor seating enables you to seat and serve more customers, which means more covers and more income.
Making your outdoor dining area look attractive will ensure that even once the COVID situation has eased, you will still have a great-looking outside space for your customers to enjoy using. Buying the best furniture for commercial patios to use in your dining area is crucial. The furniture will be getting a lot of use, so it needs to be robust enough to accommodate constant use without looking worn and tired.
Respond to Changes Fast
So far, the pandemic has been an ever-evolving situation, and it could continue to change rapidly during 2021 too. While it would be impossible for you to predict how the virus will impact life over the coming year, it is essential to be as prepared as possible for any changes that come along.
The uncertainty of the current situation may feel uncomfortable, but being prepared to respond to changes fast whenever they occur is the best way to keep a proactive attitude in this challenging situation. Keeping your restaurant business afloat and helping it to survive the short term and thrive in the long term is not an easy task right now. However, developing your business’ resilience will strengthen it not just during this difficult time, but will also prepare it for challenging times in the future.