Preparing for the Coronavirus as a Restaurant Owner

Preparing for the Coronavirus as a Restaurant OwnerThe COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in particularly trying times for restaurant owners across the nation. Employing nearly 15 million people, the restaurant industry is among the hardest hit as the world works to navigate this unprecedented event. Consumers are faced with an onslaught of ever-changing information each day, and the news always seems to get more and more dire. Currently, it’s being recommended that Americans avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and postpone non-essential travel. These guidelines, coupled with the rising popularity of social distancing, many restaurants are already closing their dining rooms—including McDonald’s.

As a restaurant owner, you’re equally concerned over your employees’ and customers’ well-being. While you don’t want to compromise anyone’s safety, you also have the tough job of being responsible for your staff’s livelihood. Close your doors, and no one gets paid—including you. If you already have a plan in place to handle a national health crisis, bring it out and start implementing it. But as a first measure, consider sending an email out to your mailing list letting customers know the steps you’re taking to keep your employees, customers, and restaurant safe. Be calm in your tone, and let your audience know how seriously you’re taking the pandemic. It’s a thoughtful way to keep patrons informed and engaged.

Governments from L.A. to New York have imposed mandatory restrictions on sit-down dining, allowing bars and restaurants the option of takeout or delivery as measure to keep business going. If you are able to ramp up your delivery and takeout business, now is the perfect time. Cross-train employees on handling online orders so they can keep their hours up. See if your bussers want to deliver food. Tap servers to run marketing on your social pages, highlighting your delivery business. Coronavirus has consumers trapped at home, and sometimes the best thing to calm a stressful situation is a good old bag of takeout.

The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for restaurant workers, has recently announced a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. One of the goals of this fund, according to the site, is “To establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.” In times like these, it’s reassuring to know there are great organizations looking out for the good of our hospitality workers—many of whom don’t even have health insurance should they fall ill.

Speaking of falling ill, do right by your employees and make sure they are staying home if they feel sick. At this time of uncertainty and heightened awareness, even the slightest sniffle can send customers and staff into a panic. Consider offering paid time off for your workers while the coronavirus pandemic is upon us. After all, this situation we find ourselves in is not anyone’s fault. And should you be [understandably] concerned about making payroll, this is the perfect time to reach for your line of credit. If you don’t have one yet, talk to us—we can get you funded in a matter of days.

Remember that we’re all fighting the coronavirus battle together. Stay safe. Stay smart. Stay healthy. ARF Financial is here when you need us.