Tips to Minimize the Impact of the Coronavirus 

Amid the growing cases of coronavirus (CODVID-19), many state governments including Ohio and Michigan have instituted a mandatory shutdown of all bars and restaurants leaving many operators scrambling to figure out how to stay afloat.

Here are tips for staying healthy—and staying in business—during this unprecedented period:

Communicate with your staff
It is essential to communicate the latest information and advisories from your local state health departments to your team of employees. Make sure preventative measures such as sanitization, hand washing, and employee sick leave is conveyed and understood. Also, with in-house dining restricted operators can focus on heightened internal operations to ensure the cleanliness of back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house, food preparation and packaging.

Communicate transparently with your customers
Many operators are communicating reassuring messages to their customers, providing confidence in their understanding of the severity of the virus and ensuring proper cleaning and hygiene procedures are in place. Tone and transparency are key! Make sure your customers know you are taking the proper steps to maintain a healthy work environment to protect not only your employees but your consumers as well.

Dust off your business continuity plan
The objective of the business continuity plan (BCP) is to help a business to efficiently return to normal activities after a major incident that directly affects operations. Items to consider, if not already done so include:

  • Establish an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and team
  • Have the EAP team assess the situation and agree to an appropriate action plan based on demand, available supplies, and available labor
  • Implement appropriate prevention methods and procedures to reduce risk
  • Have management staff review and take appropriate action regarding sick-leave absences unique to a pandemic, including policies that define when a previously ill person is no longer infectious and can return to work
  • Work closely with the local health department to monitor the situation and to deploy appropriate control measures
  • Identify backups for each job position and alternate manufacturing sites in pandemic response planning

The National Restaurant Association also had a resources flyer on business continuity planning which can be found here.

Shift your marketing strategy 
Now is the time to be communicating off-premise options, experimenting with different third-party delivery providers and encouraging customers to find any way to receive your product such as curbside pick-up. Compromised populations, such as senior citizens can benefit from meal delivery. If you have a restaurant app, consider providing a meal deal for a family. Thinking outside the box will ultimately help you stay afloat during this highly volatile time.