The threat of another COVID-19 outbreak makes planning ahead a little more difficult than in times past. Never before has the foodservice industry been faced with a challenge like this, and many businesses have stepped up their efforts to remain competitive, despite the unpredictable marketplace.
Although at times it can feel like business as usual, it’s important to remain prepared for any potential lockdown situation. Melbourne’s recent ‘circuit breaker’ is yet another reminder that things can escalate quickly, and you don’t want to be left scrambling. If you’re wondering how best prepare, here’s a few ideas for how to get ready for any potential lockdown:
Always stick to the protocol
It’s much easier to implement your lockdown protocol, if you’re sticking to the rules already. That means asking people to sign-in when they enter your venue, and making sure you’re keeping within capacity. Nailing your standards at all times makes the shift into stricter lockdown policy a lot easier for your team to adjust and sets the tone for what your guest should expect.
Communicate with consistency
Communication is key as they say, and you should always be looking for the best way to communicate with your customers. If you’re using social media to get your message across, make sure you stay active with updates on the business, even if it’s not COVID-related. If you’re running a successful business, people will want to stay in the know and will likely appreciate consistent communication.
Start building your database
One great way to communicate effectively to your customers, is through email. Many booking systems will now allow customers to opt into your mailing list, and you should strongly consider capitalising on this feature if it is available to you. Being able to inform people straight to their inbox is a powerful tool to have at your disposal.
Train staff before lockdown hits
Every business has a different approach to lockdown. Some businesses will shift their operation to more of a takeaway or retail focus, or some choose to close entirely until it’s safe for customers to return. Either way, there’s no reason why you can’t train your staff to be ready for your plan of attack.
Hone your food ordering
Don’t allow yourself to be caught out by ordering too little or too much stock. It’s a fine line to tread when deciding what you need for the coming weeks, and you should take the necessary time to think about where your line lies. If you’re ordering too much, you could be left with a wealth of food waste in the event of a snap lockdown. While ordering too little, could leave you stranded with no produce if there are complications.
If you buy food that won’t go off in the event of a snap lockdown (shelf stable products like antipasto, frozen vegetables, canned fruits) you can save yourself from throwing your profits straight in the bin. Also, think about how you will store your food, our line of pouch packs take up very little space (as they cut out the water weight) and preserve your food just like a can.
Those are our 5 tips for lockdown preparation, but perhaps we missed something. If you’ve got a useful idea that you think could help other businesses, don’t be afraid to send us a message to our Facebook. We’re always looking for chefs and businesses to feature on our social media, as well as right here in Yes Chef!