The restaurant industry is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. Many establishments remain closed while some are still trying to make ends meet; potential health risks are preventing customers from dining out.
Charlotte NC restaurant chain Showmars felt it had to evolve, and fast.
“We learned quickly that we needed to be a source of comfort, not only by making sure that our facilities were healthy but also by providing for our staff financially,” says Dean Peroulas, CEO of Showmars.
Dean shares how Showmars was able to adapt and remain relevant amidst these unprecedented times.
Listening to customer feedback was essential. During the early days of COVID-19, customers were wary of dining inside the restaurant. Showmars worked with suppliers and took the dining experience outdoors.
The ordering process should be convenient. Aside from its takeout operations and mobile app, Showmars added curb service into the mix.
Consider a business pivot. Showmars ventured out of their main expertise and developed Grocery Essentials at Showmars, an online platform where customers can purchase groceries and other essentials and have these delivered right at their doorstep. Not only was it a new business opportunity, it was also a thoughtful move as immunocompromised customers did not have to go out and shop.
Give back to your local community. Showmars provided meals for healthcare workers in the frontlines and raised funds for crisis assistance organizations supporting individuals during this difficult time.
For restaurants planning to re-open soon, Dean has these recommendations:
Take it slow. Get the buy-in of all stakeholders before proceeding any further. Don’t be pressured to open if you feel that your operations have yet to adapt to the new normal.
Do a quick cost-benefit analysis. Will the re-opening of your dine-in business affect the success of what you’re currently doing?
Get your dining room ready. Gain the confidence of your staff and customers by making sure your dining area is safe. Invest in deep cleaning services. Set up sanitation stations, keep tables apart, provide employees with personal protective equipment, and practice frequent handwashing. While this is a given in this line of business, reiterating its importance is crucial now more than ever.
Keep an eye on your supply chain. The pandemic has disrupted supply chain operations across the globe; procurement issues could have a significant impact on your operations.
Adding a personal touch never goes out of style. In a socially distanced world where personal interactions are few and far between, small gestures like adding a handwritten note to a takeout order make a big difference.
Keep your eyes on the prize. This year has proven that the only thing constant is change. “Focus on your goals nevertheless,” says Dean, “Stay encouraged and encouraging.”
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