It’s likely that every industry is going to be hit in some way by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The extent to which remains to be seen, but there’s no doubting the hospitality industry will be among the hardest hit.
If you’re a restaurant owner, you’ll be undoubtedly concerned about the future of your business. You may already be on lockdown, either forced by your government to do so or by your own decision.
So, what to do during this period? Remaining positive and determined to weather this storm is obviously important for us all, but the downtime you now have as a restaurateur actually presents some unique opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Here are ten vital tasks you can undertake.
1. Go back to your original business plan
Remember that business plan you wrote several years ago? When was the last time you reviewed it?
With some additional time on your hands, why not dust it off and take a look at the goals you set back then? How many have you achieved? Is your original vision for the restaurant still accurate, or do you need to make changes?
2. Keep the conversation going with staff
Your staff will undoubtedly be feeling anxious at the moment too, and anyone who works in hospitality will know how important your ‘working family’ is.
This is why it’s imperative you all keep the conversation going. Continue your regular meetings via Skype or WhatsApp. The content will be different, sure, but use that time to check in on people and share positive thoughts.
3. Check what financial support is available
Governments across the world are making emergency funds available for businesses big and small.
The funds available are changing daily, therefore we recommend heading to the relevant website for your country’s government to see what help is available to you now.
Recommended reading: [Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses] (UK)
Recommended reading: [Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources] (US)
4. Review your TripAdvisor reviews
Wow, why would you want to head into TripAdvisor at a time like this, eh? Well, actually, we think there’s two reasons:
- it’ll give you a lift - all of those lovely reviews are a reminder of how much people love your venue; and
- you can sniff out opportunities for improvement.
Few restaurateurs have the time to deeply review TripAdvisor feedback, but now you do have the time, why not identify the gems of advice customers are giving you?
5. Call customers
Your customers might be feeling lonely, so why not reach out to your regulars with a friendly call or email?
They probably miss you, and a gentle reminder that you’re still there could do wonders for you both. Plus, if you’ve implemented delivery during this period, you could highlight the fact you can still serve them even if they can’t enter your doors.
6. Keep learning
As a business owner in any industry, you can never learn too much about your craft.
So, use this time to dig into those business books that have rested on the shelf for months, and scour the internet for content that will help you further your craft as a restaurateur and business owner.
7. Catch up on admin
Boring? Yeah, we hear you. But when business slows, you probably use that time to catch up on the nuts and bolts of your business.
Accounting tasks, website maintenance and that bulging email inbox could all probably do with some love right now.
8. Get social
Social media is already proving to be a saviour for many people during the coronavirus outbreak. It provides a platform on which to keep in touch with people, but also one on which you can express yourself.
Be honest, and use social media to express how you’re feeling during this time. If you’re feeling worried, anxious or positive - tell the world. It’s a great way to keep your brand going and demonstrate that you’re human.
9. Catch up on maintenance
That leaky tap, dodgy stove or chair that’s threatening to collapse at any minute; if you have maintenance tasks that need to be undertaken, what better time to jump on them then now?
10. Set a goal
We’ll get through this. At some stage, your restaurant will reopen its doors and welcome an influx of new visitors.
That alone is still a reason to have a goal. It might just be to get through until tomorrow, but that’s still a goal, too.
If you have something loftier you want to work towards - do so! Set a goal while you’re isolating; it feels good to have something on the horizon.
You may not need to undertake every task above. Indeed, just one or two might see you through this period, depending on how long it lasts.
We’d like to extend our best wishes to everyone impacted by COVID-19 at this difficult time. Stay safe and positive.
We hope our tips above help.