January 25, 2021
Blog Post

Foodservice Resources: COVID Restaurant Strategies, Part 1

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.  

Originating in China, COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads through droplets to those who are in close contact. The most effective way to eliminate contact with the virus include washing your hands, not touching your face, disinfecting surfaces, and practicing social distancing.   

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. 

Release Safety Policies

The first thing you’ve hopefully already done is reduce risk in your kitchen by placing new safety procedures, precautions, and sick leave practices. While early on during the pandemic these were changing daily, we now have safety protocols that are here to stay. Some of these include: 

  • Asking employees to stay home if they are not feeling well 
  • Practicing social distancing 
  • Regular handwashing and disinfection routines 
  • Hand sanitizer available for guests coming in for take out 

Publicly post these new procedures so customers can be confident in your service, especially as dining restrictions lift. We recommend having them on your website, social channels, and even on the front door or window of your restaurant. Here are some more great resources from the James Beard Foundation and National Restaurant Association for current safety information.  

Lower Food Costs

With tight margins, we know that every penny counts right now. One way you can reduce food costs is by working with FoodMaven. By selling high quality oversupply, local, and out-of-spec products that would have otherwise been wasted, we can offer you low prices to be conscious of your food buying costs so you can focus on providing food to your community. Every purchase helps support our hardworking suppliers and local growers move high quality product during this time.   

Another way you can save is by bulk purchasing. We’ve all experienced the instability of the supply chain . By purchasing in bulk, it will ensure you have the product you need at a great price before supply and demand increases affect pricing.

Additionally, limiting your menu is a great way of cutting food costs. This ensures that you are not purchasing more than you end up using and you can base your menu around ingredients that you can find a deal on. Flexibility in your menu will allow you to be creative with the changing needs of consumers while tightening up buying costs.  

Offer Take-Out and Delivery

Chances are, you already implemented or debated delivery services like PostmatesDoor DashGrubhubUber EatsSeamless. Though these services come with a cost, you can reach a larger audience and experience easy logistics.  

Additionally, some restaurants have decided to implement their own in-house delivery service. This allows you to have more control over your delivery service, maintain direct relationships with you customers, and eliminate extra fees. However, it does require more logistics and up-front costs for setting up and running.  

Though in-restaurant dining may be stop-and-go, take-out is still hugely popular and lends itself to some very creative spins. Need some inspiration? Mark Canlis, owner of Canlis, a fine dining restaurant in Seattle, is redefining traditional take-out by offering their community three unique options while practicing social distancing. Their Bagel Shed concept is based off a pop-up stand being held in their garden and parking lot during breakfast time. For lunch they created a parking lot drive-thru where customers can pay for a to-go meal without getting out of their car. Additionally, they created their own delivery service, where customers can order online through Tock and Canlis employees deliver meals and wine to the customer’s house with their personal vehicles. Learn more about the strategies Canlis is taking to create safe opportunities for their employees while feeding their community.  

Online Giftcards

Another great way your customers can continue to support you during this time is by offering online giftcards. It’s not too late to add this to your website! Squareup can be a great tool to use. It allows buyers to pick a date in the future to send the giftcard so you can earn their business now and they can benefit from it at a later date.  

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 second 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!