How can Food and Beverage Service establishments beat COVID-19 challenges?

There’s no doubt about it; these are surreal times for everyone around the globe, as the Coronavirus is spreading rapidly and mainly through close contact with infected individuals.

The U.K. Government has now introduced some dramatic and specific measures to ‘flatten the curve,’ a term that refers to decreasing the rate of infection so the NHS can cope with increased demand and medical equipment can be delivered to hospitals to help save lives.

With the U.K. government ordering all doors in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry to be shut, to say keeping business going is difficult, would be an understatement.

Coffee shops, restaurants, small cafes and eateries depend on service workers showing up daily, and visitors coming into each establishment to dine, drink, and socialise.

The recent raft of government initiatives will help, especially the scheme of paying 80% of wages up to £2,500 for employees that would have been made redundant.

Apart from claiming the Government support what can you do during this time? How can you keep the wheels of business turning? Well, there has been a lot of creativity out there, some ideas looking for ways to support cash flow and other altruistic actions that support communities.

Altruistic actions are of particular importance for many reasons, above all because the country needs help and it’s a good thing to do. It also helps the business stay positive, have a purpose, and when this is all over the law of reciprocity will kick-in. People will remember those businesses and go back to them the minute they can!

Let’s look at some of the creative ideas that are out there…

Community-driven Actions

So, what do community-driven actions look like?

Let’s break it down into each category and how those involved, whether managers, owners, or employees, can contribute to a positive outcome of service.

Perhaps the hardest hit, besides the airline industry, are the restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops that rely on daily visitors to spend money and keep the economy in a high swing.

Plenty of restaurants and chefs in the U.K. are going above and beyond to maintain business the best they can.
From offering delivery and take-out food from their menus to the general public to turning in the shop into a mini grocery store. Even though the experience is vastly different from the in-house dining and drinking atmosphere, this particular action step for communities at least keeps the hopes alive for earning an income.

Eatery establishments can offer the following to their loyal customers:

  • Curb side delivery service – Just the other day I saw an Indian Takeaway van park up full of ready-cooked food and selling to people. Most of them were following social distancing rules.
  • Gift cards or vouchers to be purchased online – This could be a great option to pull in revenue without any outgoing costs. Run an email campaign or social media campaign to your audience asking people to buy a voucher or gift card for future use.
  • Requesting people donate the value of a coffee or another small denomination. We’ve seen a few businesses offering this, and it can be a great way to get support. Remember though many people are short on cash and want donations themselves. At least with gift cards or vouchers, they are going to get something back in return.
  • Set up a catering option where food can be delivered to remote workers at home, ensuring the delivery complies with protocols such as gloves and hand sanitizers.
  • Deliver to the elderly population, who’s in most need of care and love.

Each of the above community-driven action steps allows restaurants to remain productive, remain hopeful, and continue to serve the customers who have been dining with them for years.

Providing options for the community to stay local and help you cope under the current chaotic circumstances is an excellent way to alleviate cash flow challenges due to having to shut your doors temporarily.

Getting Creative with Time Off

Although it’s causing a significant worldwide ripple effect for the economy and overall local communities, there can be a silver lining other than offering continued delivery services albeit online or at a distance.

For instance, managers and operators who have time off from the regular day-to-day functioning of a business can take advantage of the opportunity to revamp the company’s mission statement and overall business plan.

Is it working? Does the organisation need an overhaul on the business development side? Is it time to hire remote content creators and website designers who can change the course of your lagging sales once you reopen?

These are all viable questions to ask yourself as someone who operates in the Food and Beverage Service industry. To add more fuel to the positive quarantine fire, here are a few revitalisation tips that can steer you and your business back on track once the COVID-19 has completed its expiration date:

  • Make a new strategic business plan
  • Start an email campaign to keep your customers aware of you – Send them recipe ideas or drink-making ideas
  • Consider revamping your brand
  • Evaluate your team and provide them with resources to learn new skills like customer experience or leadership skills.
  • Paint, refurbish, upgrade all dining, kitchen, and customer eating areas to reflect a new uplifting experience.
  • Start an informational and recipe-based YouTube video by your lead chef. They can always do it from their home kitchen if travel to work is not feasible. Given the situation, people will forgive the less polished feel of the video.
  • Have weekly brainstorming sessions on Zoom to involve every worker in the process and captcha ideas that people may have previously not had a chance to mention.

Hope on the Horizon

Not to be consistently dramatic, but it’s anyone’s guess as to which way this will all shake out. If the food and beverage service industry remain calm, diligent, thoughtful, and community-driven, there’s no doubt that loyal customers will return in droves.

As we’re all in this together, let’s honour those at home and abroad. Let’s be there for each other, through thick and thin, to remain connected, to give back, and to uphold the businesses that deserve to prosper when this is all said and done.

Open your heart if you want your community to remain open as well.

About this article: Restrictions are changing all the time and we appreciate that at the time of publishing (or within a few days) some of these suggestions might not be viable. Please think about which ones you can apply while staying save and adhering to government coronavirus guidelines. We apologies in advance if you can’t implement these currently.