As we show in our map of how the coronavirus is affecting each state, 38% of the United States is currently experiencing dine-in restaurant closures. This means that food delivery is one of the only options left for many hungry consumers right now. Even before the coronavirus, delivery was identified as one of the top trends that will influence the way consumers receive their food. Now more than ever, consumers expect to enjoy their cuisine from the safety of their home.
Here are some aspects to consider as you adapt to a delivery-only model until states lift their restrictions on dine-in service:
Third-party food delivery providers and restaurants are stepping up.
Grubhub is suspending up to $100 million in commission fees from restaurants affected by the coronavirus outbreak, while Uber Eats is offering free delivery for independent restaurant owners and operators.
Due to the fear of getting coronavirus, many of your customers may not have gone grocery shopping this past week. Even if they opt for grocery delivery instead of driving to the super market, large services like Amazon’s Prime Now are experiencing delays due to surging demand. Restaurants can fill the void by offering larger bundles for food delivery, such as the following:
- Emergency taco kits – Guerrilla Tacos, a local restaurant in California, is offering over 10 pounds of food and 30 eggs along with other add-ons, including toilet paper, for a flat cost.
- Quarantine meals – Restaurants in New York City are offering family-size portions of their meals in jars and other sealed containers.
Employees are helping their fellow co-workers.
When faced with bringing up the subject of reduced hours to their teams, managers can call on employees to help one another by asking two simple questions: “Who needs to work?” and “Who wants to work?”. Identifying employees who may still be living at home with their parents can allow those with the financial resources to withstand a shorter workweek to offer their hours to employees supporting their entire families. You can also help your staff by offering the following:
- Therapy sessions – Starbucks is expanding its mental health offerings to give 20 free therapy sessions a year to employees and their families.
- Financial support – Restaurants in Boston have started fundraising campaigns to help employees who may be out of work for extended periods of time.
Focusing on food delivery allows you more control over your store.
With no customers in your dining area, it is easier to keep your restaurant clean. To further reduce the chances of coronavirus exposure for your staff, off-premises customers, and third-party food delivery drivers, don’t forget to:
- Develop a schedule for disinfecting POS terminals, drink machines, and condiments stations regularly to avoid spreading germs.
- Store to-go containers away from employees’ faces and hands.
Even though it may be temporary, going delivery-only will affect staffing.
You will need more back of house employees to handle the surge in digital orders. As you shift employees from the front of house, consider the following:
- Print out the proper handwashing procedures described by the CDC and go over them with your staff at least once a day.
- Schedule extra employees to work the last few hours before close to disinfect all surfaces that could transmit COVID-19, including countertops, shelves, and walls.
- Do not wait for team members to call in sick: Consider having employees take their temperatures before each shift so you can update your front and back of house staffing in real-time.
To stay ahead of the coronavirus related news that will affect your restaurant the most, visit our COVID-19 Response Hub.