For the better part of 5 months, restaurants across the United States have found themselves in the fight of their lives. From closing dining rooms, to laying off staff, pivoting menus and product sets, and permanently shuttering locations, it's been an unfathomably challenging time for everyone in the industry.
On a good day, running a restaurant is an incredibly challenging (and equally rewarding) endeavour that requires high levels of hard work, emotional intelligence and a relentless passion for food, beverage and hospitality. Razor-thin margins, a highly-competitive labor pool, and lots of competition are all contributing factors to the myriad of daily challenges that current-day restaurant operators face.
When Covid-19 hit, and all non-essential businesses were forced to close, it hit our industry really hard. Restaurant owners and operators were forced with the unfathomable task of needing to immediately pivot their business model so they could survive, while simultaneously needing to lay off a majority of their staff in an attempt to keep their doors open. It was equal parts overwhelming and heartbreaking.
Seemingly overnight, we began to see restaurants adapt as best they could, largely by pivoting to a curbside or take away model. All of a sudden, your go-to dishes at your favorite restaurant were available once again, but the whole experience was changed to ensure the safety of everyone involved. I cannot understate just how difficult this process was, and is, and how unrelenting it can feel. At Full Heart Hospitality, we have assisted several restaurants, and advised another dozen in creating Covid-19 playbooks, aimed at optimizing their businesses for a Covid-19 world. This process scrutinizes all the critical points through the ordering, dining, production, pick up, and delivery process. Dissecting the menu, truncating offerings, onboarding new technology, and implementing incredibly - rigorous sanitation protocols: all designed to keep everyone safe.
Throughout all of this, there is a word that has been forever-burned into our frontal lobes - PIVOT. We’ve all needed to do it these past months, whether it be for child care, our children's education, work, family, friends or other - we’ve all needed to seriously pivot certain aspects of our lives so we can stay healthy, safe, and prosperous. Well, just like you, restaurants have pivoted, and are still pivoting as I type this. In a time when information changes by the day, and what may work on Monday might not work on Sunday, restaurants are beginning to embrace the pivot - not only as a verb, but as a state of mind. They are constantly monitoring and tweaking their businesses in an attempt to figure out what works and what doesn’t, seemingly with no end in sight. And despite the endless challenges, and the high level of uncertainty for what the future holds, all they want to do is reopen, stay open, and serve us once again. So please, continue to support them in any capacity that you can, as often as you can. We, the customer, play a massive part in restaurants success or failure.
To that point, a reminder that one of the biggest inputs to the successful pivot is the guest. Even the most well-crafted plans will not work if guests do not realize and accept their role in all of this. So, as you venture out to your favorite restaurants for a dine-in or curbside experience, remember the following: we are in this together, so please do your part. Follow the rules. Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands frequently and methodically. Be patient, empathetic and kind. Together we will get through this.
Full Heart Hospitality is an innovative food, beverage, and hospitality consulting company dedicated to creative and sustainable solutions. We offer expertise in creative development and operations management to enhance the people, product, and guest experience. Allow Full Heart to be your partner in supporting and cultivating your enterprise’s brightest days ahead.