From utilizing staff in order to add or update restaurant roles, to maximizing off-premise dining, these three check-list items below should be kept top of mind for operators looking to optimize their restaurant’s operations in the new normal:
1) Making the most of off-premise dining options.
Most consumers are really appreciating — and even enjoying! — curbside pick-up, efficient drive-thrus, and expanded delivery options. Stacia, in Los Angeles, even said she has seen restaurants stepping up their game with takeout. Consumers have been impressed with Wendy’s, California Chicken Cafe, Shake Shack, and Chick-fil-a. “I can't get takeout all the time, but it was a really, really great customer service and I loved it,” said Stacia, describing her experience at Shake Shack. Many in the industry also believe curbside pick-up, when done right, will be the most profitable off-premise source of revenue for operators.
Remember that choosing your off-premise menu offerings, it’s always quality over quantity. A major hurdle for restaurant operators is bridging the gap from an on-premise experience to creating a memorable meal for diners at home. Menu selection, delivery packaging, and the operational decision between using third-party delivery apps and an in-house system will all come together to determine the success of off-premise service for a restaurant.
Check out this guide for advice on how to best optimize your off-premise experience.
2) Identify opportunities to utilize staff in a different role than before.
Addo, a Puerto Rican restaurant in Seattle used its own staff to make drop-offs rather than relying on a third party delivery service. This can help keep staff employed while also not losing money from labor cost. Just Salad has also taken cleaning, health and safety to the next level by appointing Cleaning Captains. Shifting the focus of existing roles and creating dual roles are two strategies to mitigate the stress of increased staff responsibilities with limited resources. Restaurant operators will want to think carefully on when it makes sense to consult with experts or new technology for support.
Check out Rethink your Labor: new roles for the COVID era for more ideas.
3) Determine ways to connect with consumers outside of the restaurant.
Face-to-face interactions with consumers are difficult to replace, but the shelter-in-place brought to light many great virtual options to help keep people connected. Restaurants can leverage this trend and create ways to connect with consumers such as a cooking class or happy hours through a platform like Virtual Dining Chicago. The Refectory Restaurant and Wine Shop in Columbus, OH has hosted a Virtual Dinner Music Series throughout the pandemic on their Facebook page.
Restaurants have always relied on the face-to-face interactions between their staff and diners to create relationships and thus word-of-mouth business growth. A strong digital presence is now essential to a restaurant's ability to survive and a virtual dining experience is just one way that operators and chefs can connect to their diners at a safe distance.
Check out our guide How to Create a Virtual Dining Experience to learn more.
Trust20 is the new standard of restaurant safety and diner comfort, based on 20 tactics by health and safety experts. Supported by Gordon Food Service and General Mills, Trust20 provides an independently verified certification of restaurant practices, training, and other resources to help restaurants create safe, healthy, and welcome spaces for diners.