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What can restaurant owners do to lessen the damage dealt by the COVID-19 viurs? And what can they do to prepare for future crises? Zack Oates, CEO of Ovation, finds the answers to these questions on our podcast, “Give an Ovation”, where he talks with Chris Horton Senior and Chris Horton Junior. Chris Jr. is one of Ovation’s own restaurant consultants, and Chris Sr. has 25 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry and is currently at the Bruschcreek Luxury Ranch Collection. Here were their top 4 tips for what restaurants can do right now:
1. Engage with customers
Be honest about how your restaurant is handling things and the real setbacks you’re facing. As you do this, Chris Sr. explained, the customers are “right there with you, they feel empathy for your business, and don’t just see you as a place that takes their money.” And when business is up and running again, they’ll be more likely to come back.
2. Keep as many of your core people as you can
While keeping your entire team probably isn’t possible during a recession, being able to have familiar faces greeting customers when they do visit is key. Your core team is really what defines your business, and is what will help you bounce back in the future, so keep in touch with them while business is slow and keep relationships strong.
3. Be the bearer of good news
People need positivity in their social media feeds right now. Chris Sr. put it this way: “If somehow people were to engage people on a positive level throughout what’s going on right now, even if it has nothing to do with what’s going on, just something to brighten people’s day a little bit, I think that would be a huge way to engage people at this point.”
4. Start a rainy day fund
You can be best prepared for future crises by finding ways to save up over time. Chris Sr. recommends putting a small portion of revenue each month in a separate account that owners never look at or touch, so that they aren’t hit has hard next time. Maybe even consider adjusting your growth strategies if they are stretching you too thin financially.
Make sure to check out the whole podcast, as well as other interviews with restaurant/business gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation” on Youtube, podcast.ovationup.com, or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.