One of the industries badly hit by the Covid- 19 / Corona epidemic is the hospitality sector. From witnessing a boom in the last decade, to being one of the major players contributing to the economy, it has seen it all. With the epidemic and the resulting lockdown, it's now facing, the biggest challenge ever.
With the current guidelines from the indian government, following the two month long lockdown it comes as a respite to the many small business gasping to take a breath.
The dine-in businesses are scheduled to operate from 8th June onwards. Though the establishments with liquor licenses like bars, pubs, breweries, cocktail kitchens etc are yet to receive a green signal from the authorities for commencing operations with serving liquor.
Even when the delivery establishments and cloud kitchens were operational under essential services during the lockdown period, the businesses saw a steep decline in the overall revenue clocked resulting from apprehensive customers worried about their health safety.
Food businesses now, need to adapt and find ways to stay afloat and remain relevant. Following are some of the measures that may prove valuable for food businesses -
1. Maintain hygiene
There has been an overall shift in the industry mindset and importance of the highest degree should be given to uplifting and maintaining hygiene standards. Hourly sanitising of the kitchen and/or the outlet needs to be the norm. The customer needs to feel safe while visiting your business or even while ordering in, only then can we expect a rise in returning numbers.
2. Regular staff health checkup
In order to ensure everybody’s safety, its imperative that the staff is temperature checked on an everyday basis and is asked to follow all hygiene procedures inherently.
3. Re- negotiate existing property rentals
With the current economic scenario, with a lot of businesses and individuals adversely affected, there is a pertinent need to re negotiate the property rentals since the markets/ malls aren’t attracting crowds like they used to. Sales have dwindles and people aren’t getting out of their houses as much. Property owners and businesses both need to cooperate in order to sustain these difficult times.
4. Single shift operations
In order to keep the staffing expenses to a bare minimum, the businesses could choose to operate in a single shift, in limited operating hours with rotating staff rosters to ensure employee retention. This way the entire staff body gets to keep their jobs while managing with minimum pay cuts.
5. Use government subsidy on electricity bills
The Delhi government has provided relaxation on commercial and domestic electricity bills to ease up the financial burden on people. For more information call or visit your nearby electricity zonal office.
The government has offered financial aid to support small businesses in the form of mudra loans. Eligible businesses can and should apply in order to function smoothly .
7. Revise menu offerings
Just like every other aspect of your business that needs adapting, the menu needs to be revised as well. One should try and offer items that were their hot selling items, something that they have been known for. Another way to go about it could to be offer items that require the same or similar ingredients so that inventory ordering can be done efficiently.
8. Control inventory ordering
Inventory of a food business is usually about 30- 40% of the revenue of an establishment. In current times, one needs to be real strict to assess the ordering that needs to be done and ensure minimum wastage.
Research from past global disasters have shown that businesses that kept going and reaching out to their customers regularly even during the time of distress, came out successful on the other side. Its important to let people know that you are still going strong and are still providing your services. Make social media and content marketing your best friends.
10. Incentivise customers
Urging people to visit again and/or order from your business is a must. One can accomplish such a feat by offering freebies, buy 1 get 1 or similar incentivised offers.
It's pretty clear to everyone in the world at this point in time that corona virus is here to stay. Until a vaccine is successfully discovered and administered, the fear in the minds of the masses will stay. We are all in this together, yes in different boats but nevertheless still affected by this global scale event. Now more than ever, we need to stay hopeful.
It's like what Captain Haddock in TinTin said, "YOU HIT A WALL , YOU PUSH THROUGH IT!"