Foodservice Resources: COVID Restaurant Strategies, Part 2
Grocery store shortages are hopefully a thing of the past and vaccines are beginning to be administered. However, one million plus restaurants throughout America continue to face uncertainty and dining restrictions.
We’re seeing many state officials close then re-open then close, all on-site seating for all restaurants and bars. Restaurants must continue to be dedicated to altering operations, while closely monitoring the health concern, rolling out new best practices, and meeting the needs of their community and employees.
Join us in our COVID restaurant strategies blog series to explore practices that some restaurants are finding great success in.
Implement a Virtual Concept
You already have the kitchen, staff, and an existing customer base, why not launch a separate virtual concept to increase your business! This new trend is similar to the popular ghost kitchen idea, but operates a bit differently. Ghost kitchens tend to have a chef running one or more delivery only concepts in one large commercial kitchen, or even using mega ghost kitchens, like REEF to contract out all the work.
These new virtual concepts take advantage of a restaurant’s existing kitchen and staff to run an entirely separate online service. This is becoming implemented more and more in commercial kitchens, such as hotels, that aren’t operating at their usual capacity right now.
This can be an exciting, low-risk way to experiment with different ideas and concepts. Susan Povich, owner of Red Hook Lobster, opened City Tamale to showcase her staff’s culture, develop new skills, and expand to a new market.
The biggest challenge is most likely to come from timing, packaging, and pick-up logistics, while running dine-in and take-out service. We suggest being able to fully put together an order in under 15 minutes.
Whether your business uses social media faithfully or not, this is an extremely powerful tool to connect with your customers. We suggest sharing safety procedures, keeping hours up-to-date, dining options, links to buy giftcards, and meal options on Facebook and Instagram. It’s also a great platform to engage with your customers to remain relevant and expand your reach.
If you’re located in Colorado, use the hashtags #ColoradoCurbside, #WeGotThisDenver, and #TheDenverEar with your delivery, pickup, and giftcard options to reach a larger audience and for the chance to be featured.
Online Cooking Classes
We love seeing chefs embracing technology and sharing their skillset over virtual cooking classes. By hosting 60 to 90 minute virtual classes on platforms such as Zoom or Facebook live, you can stay relevant under in-door dining restrictions, expand your reach, and easily make some extra money!
You can host online classes one of two ways. The first is to create ingredient boxes available for pickup at your restaurant a day or two before the event. That way you have more control over the recipe and can charge extra for the kit.
Another option is to just have a registration fee and an online ingredient list. This is a great way to gain awareness beyond your community to help drive traffic from future tourists. Additionally, it’s not as much prep work on your end.
We recommend doing a test run before to work out all the kinks and the best camera angles. Come up with a few talking points about the techniques you’re using, the ingredients, and your experience as a chef. Remember, your audience wants authenticity! Breaking down the barrier between a professional and beginner chef makes it fun and helps your audience relate to you.
How Can We Help?
At FoodMaven, we are monitoring the situation closely and are doing our best to support our customers and the community in every way possible. This includes not only being a distributor, but your friend during this time. Our team is staying up to date on the health concerns, industry news, and solutions. We are available to all of our customers for support and to help you find success.
For more ideas about strategies you can implement, check out our first COVID restaurant strategies blog.
If you are interested in working with FoodMaven to lower food costs, reduce waste, and support your community during a challenging time, fill out this short form to let us know!