10 steps to help you get back to business
There is a sense of gradual change in the air. On my daily walk (a new ritual since lockdown) I’ve noticed how much more traffic is on the road and how everything just feels that bit more ‘busy’. Each day feels like we’re edging closer to the out of home sector opening again. Schools, car showrooms and open-air markets have opened this week and if the UK continues to keep the R under control, the out of home sector should be set to open fully in July, albeit with strict social distancing measures.
For a caterer this is a double-edged sword. You want to see your customers return to your business, but at the same time, you’re facing a world of logistical and operational challenges and are probably thinking about how on earth you are going to reshape your business model.
To try to make life a little easier for you, we’ve put together a 10 step plan with areas we know from conversations with customers around the industry are important to consider, and will help get your business back on track.
Review your timescales
Get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss your timescales and reopening plan and we will work with you to manage your re-stock. We’ll take you through a detailed step-by-step checklist to plan your deliveries and help you get back on your feet.
- Plan your space
According to a recent survey, the top precaution to make consumers feel safer was to move tables and seats apart*. Consider what impact social distancing will have on your business and how you adapt. Do you have unused space, can tables be moved further apart? They might not be aesthetically pleasing but sneeze screens and hygiene stations are going to be essential.
- Simplify your menu
At least in the short term you may be running with reduced staff and skill levels in your kitchen. By simplifying your menu down to your bestsellers and optimising ingredients, you can still offer customers a quality food and drink offer. You could also consider increasing your range of individually wrapped products. We can support to develop a new menu that’s operationally and cost efficient for you.
- Don’t forget your team
Look after your team and they will look after you. It might not be possible for all of your team to come back in one go so jobs may need allocating differently across team members. Think about how is best to reprioritise schedules and job roles to suit this. If your team haven’t been at work over the last few months some simple ways to welcome them back would also be a nice touch.
- Re-think your customer
51% of consumers say they are nervous about going back into public after lockdown restrictions have been lifted** and it’s likely it will take a while for consumer confidence to increase. Your customer base may have changed slightly so it would be good to plan for who you think will start spending with you first and review whether their needs have changed.
- Promote your hygiene protocols
What was once a hidden away practice is now a must have to shout about! Consumers will be looking for evidence of your hygiene procedures so don’t hide them away. Advertise the new standards you have put in place. Simple changes like cash-less payments, clearly displayed cleaning rosters and switching from top down condiment sauces to individual sachets will help reassure your customers you have made changes.
- Focus on finance
From VAT deferral, to rates relief, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme and grants and loans, make sure you get fully clued up on what funding schemes are available, how to access them, as well as the pros and cons, then monitor your cash flow as closely as your turnover and profit. We can support you to drive efficiencies in your range and support your menu planning to manage your costs.
- Review your marketing strategy
Focus on what makes you special. Consumers will be looking for authenticity and a feeling of connection your brand. Build your marketing plans now and focus on the reasons your customers come to you in the first place to capture their attention.
- Focus on customer loyalty
It’s all about getting the repeat purchase and that will come down to the initial consumer experience. If you can provide fantastic food, delivered in an environment consumers deem to be acceptable, you are already 50% of the way there. It’s a good time to review your loyalty scheme and if you don’t have anything in place already, why not consider implementing incentives, gift vouchers, loyalty apps or cards.
- Future proof your business
The last few months will go down in the history books that’s for sure! The future might be uncertain and we all hope another lock down doesn’t occur. If it does, it would be a good idea to build resilience plans now to future proof your business. We are able to support you review what this means for you.
These are just some of the important areas we think it would be a good idea to think about now. No one knows your business like you do but we are here by your side to help you plan for the future. You can find out more about the support we are able to offer at bidfood.co.uk/covid-19-support/.
If you are thinking about becoming a customer, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at https://www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer/
Let’s get back to business.
*(CGA Business leaders survey)