After nine months, no one wants to hear about what we’ve learned from this mess.
They just want to know what to do.
I can’t tell you how many times throughout this crisis I have had to quiet my brain every time I thought, “lesson learned, lesson learned, lesson learned.”
That is how I am wired.
Like Talking Heads sang, this is Life During Wartime, “I ain’t got time for that now.”
So, what to do?
The Big Three
Restaurateurs should focus on the three most important things.
- Back to Cash
A dip in sales will definitely force you back to your cash flow statements.
Many operators I know stay on top of cash flow as if their life depends on it.
Others, though, aren’t as clear with cash flow forecasts, and we collaborate with their CPAs to clear that up.
A cash flow forecast feels like that must-have gift for the holiday season.
If you left EIDL funds alone because you didn’t want the debt, or did not line up the sources of capital you need because you thought you could eke your way through, circumstances say change that.
- To-go, Curbside, and Delivery
Even with vaccines in play now, we’re easily looking at another year where certain guests will prefer to continue enjoying your food at home rather than at your restaurant.
For some, those changed habits may become permanent.
If you have not yet made to-go, delivery, and curbside an experience – or if your technology feels more 1995 than 2025 – I urge you to move to a contactless, branded, user-friendly online experience for ordering, and seamless curbside hospitality when the guest arrives.
If you’re still handing guests an iPad to sign or expecting them to call to place an order or use a clunky interface (you know who you are), correct that now.
- Self Care
When history books tell the story of 2020, there will be a sidebar on the Web page about how hard it was to live through.
If you have not established a self-care ritual, or if you have paused one, or you have not given your managers and employees the flexibility to handle this mess, start today.
If I did not live half a mile from a lake where I could stop in the afternoon and run when I needed, I don’t know how I would have gotten through 2020.
Think nine months feels like a long time? How about 18?
Restaurateurs who focus on cash, to-go, delivery, curbside, and the well-being of themselves and their people will come out on top in the future.
Over to you. Before the holidays sweep you up, what action will you take on cash flow, to-go, curbside, delivery, and self-care?