How will your business re-open? The current COVID-19 crisis has changed so many things for our restaurants. The obvious – you aren’t able to have your dining room open. Many clients just closed their doors. Some continue to operate with curbside pickup and delivery and are breaking even. As we watch what our clients are doing during this pandemic and we watch other Virginia businesses change and re-change their game plan, we wonder what the game plan is, once this is over? We admire the flexibility and the tenacity of our community. We care for the hospitality community and we know you are all wondering what happens when the new, NEW normal happens?
When our businesses are given the green light, we will have to ‘re-open’ with much more transparency. What you are focused on NOW, while you are closed to the public, will help you create a game plan. The coronavirus, with its unprecedented impact on travel, retail and day-to-day life, has sped up several key consumer trends, leading more people to shop differently, order online, get food and beverages delivered, and rely more on e-commerce than ever before. Even after signs of normalcy return, the lasting effects on your business could be significant. Purpose-driven efforts on hygiene will have be part of your grand opening – to build confidence among deeply uncertain consumers. Center your marketing re-entry on building up consumer confidence. Don’t do something clever with your branding – don’t change who you are – focus, instead on reassurance about the future and your business.You want your old customers to step into your restaurant with confidence. How will you give them that confidence to re-establish new visiting patterns, once this is over?
- Consider moving some tables outside, or removing tables and chairs to create safe social distances.
- Ensure wide availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and provide sanitizing supplies for frequent cleaning of surfaces and equipment.
- You’ll need to highlight your enhanced sanitation measures – and you’ll need to really deep clean the entire establishment. Here is our checklist and schedule.
- Kitchens that are open for customer viewing should be highlighted and used as a marketing tool so people can see how clean the kitchen is.
- Be very open with your sanitizing procedures. Show a fast-speed video of cleaning with a strong cleaner – or advertise a special brand of soap that is being used. Instead of who has the best burger in town, it will be who has the cleanest restaurant in town. Make sure the public knows how clean you are (photos and social media).
- Create cute videos or even full-length How To Videos of how their employees wash hands (the proper way – the medical way).
- Consider, at least temporarily) disposable/recyclable menus – these one-time use menus can literally be crumbled up and thrown away in front of the customer for added confidence.
- Cover your order tablets – if you leave Tablets on tables, recover them with saran wrap after each customer places their order.
- Show short videos of what they are doing to be ready to re-open: resurfacing the bar, giving everything a fresh coat of paint, cleaning and polishing all kitchen hoods, changing kitchen flooring, etc.
- If you have participated in donating food or supplies, tell the community. Or if you have fed hospital workers or first responders, take a photo and post.
- If you are offering discounts to any group (hospital workers, first responders, etc), tell the world.
- Make sure you make a big splash when you re-open and post it on any and all social-media sites with any specials or changes in that marketing (including address and phone and menu link)
Please keep in mind that these changes (that are allowing businesses to sell beer, wine, and mixed-beverages ToGo) are approved in this time of crisis – during this executive order, but if your business wants to continue sell wine and beer by delivery, Curbside or Togo, after this pandemic crisis is over, you are going to have to have proper licensing, for that. We’ve been able to help businesses obtain permanent off-premises and delivery permit licensing so that when these businesses do open back up and this executive order is lifted, they will still be able to cater to their client’s needs and have the proper permitting and license to do that.
ABC Consulting Alcohol Licensing Compliance Training is just as challenged as our clients (Retail locations, Brides, Non-profits, Restaurants and Spas – anyone who needs alcohol license and/or seller/server training). Things change quickly and we are scrambling to gather new information and turn it around as quickly as we can to those that need it. Follow our social-media to stay in the know (YouTube, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow our blog for the latest changes.
*Disclaimer: This article and its contents represent the opinions of the
author only. It is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. ABC
Consulting is a private consulting firm, and in no way do we represent the VA
ABC Authority. You should not act upon any such information without seeking qualified professional advice based upon your situation.