There are a plethora of valuable lessons that have emerged from the pandemic. Here are the top 5 lessons you need to take from this last couple years of a weird business world. If you can ensure that you take care of these for now and into the future, you are setting your restaurant up for sustained success!
- Take-Out Matters
If indoor dining being closed or limited didn’t teach you the importance of take-out, then you missed the boat. Take-out dining is amazing for several reasons but the most important is that you get to sell product to someone who isn’t taking up the valuable real estate of your dining room or bar. If your costing is off, take-out is where you see it best. Although some states changed laws so you could also sell alcohol, just food sales really makes you focus on your budgeting.
- Appropriate Staff Levels Matter
With limited dining, you really had to hone in on your staffing levels. Gone are the days of having extra FOH hands. I can’t tell you how many restaurants used to take advantage of their employees simply by over-staffing the FOH because labor was so cheap compared to other roles. With the limited capacity and less service opportunities should have opened your eyes to what your restaurant actually needed in terms of staffing.
- Your Food Matters
Without the ambiance of indoor dining to help influence your dining experience, your food quality better be up to par! Consistency amongst dishes is of the upmost importance. With less opportunity to showcase your dining floor, you need to make sure every piece of food is on point. With to-gos especially, it isn’t easy to just turn around and re-fire a dish… Finding another driver, travel time, secondary businesses handling the communication all make clearing up mistakes even harder. Accurate and delicious plating is more important now than before.
- Community Matters
Having a strong community backing is critical! Some restaurants pivoted to adding a grocery service or cook your own meal packs or even gift card purchases which have all added to their business. Having a strong community that supports you, your mission and your restaurant can help navigate slower times because of their consistency. Finding ways to work with organizations in your community are great ways to advertise your business. Meals for those in need, being a space for community organizations to congregate on your closed days, sponsoring a local sports or dance team are all wonderful ways to impact your community.
- Your Team Matters
Turnover sucks. Turnover sucks even more when you are struggling, it only exacerbates your issues. Having a strong core of people that are invested in the deeper mission of your restaurant are the biggest asset you can have currently. Without a strong team, you might as well pack up shop now because one-person operations are very exhausting and even harder to expand. Reward your team members with every tool possible; from income, to responsibility, to benefits, to bonuses, to company picnics, to birthday recognition, to anything else you discern to keep your team interested, motivated and working towards happy and engaged!
Applying these 5 lessons to your business model will make your restaurant successful and at the same time, provide a culture where everyone continues to look forward to coming to work.