Why Crisis Response Mode is Holding Your Restaurant Back

Welcome to a new phase of dealing with the pandemic.

More and more lately, owners of multi-unit restaurant groups tell me about how they spend their time – and what that time yields right now. 

When this all started in March, restaurateurs were shocked into action and didn’t understand that this would be a new way of life. 

This crisis has gone on for so long now that operators, who had viewed their crisis mindset and responses as temporary, are now leaning into them to keep their companies going.

Unfortunately, some of those mindsets aren’t good, aren’t healthy, and won’t serve you or your brands now or in the future.

On the other hand, I’m also seeing people make bold decisions quickly where, in the past, they would have hesitated.

That’s not the type of thought you’d expect during a pandemic – but it’s healthy.

Why? Because they see now as a critical time for action. 

Now is a Smart Time to Break Crisis Routines

You can only pump adrenaline for so long. 

Instead, take a healthy dose of self-consciousness.

Because of this pandemic, you now know more about to-go and delivery than you ever wanted.

You’re keeping an eye on cash like you did when you first opened your business. 

You see the wisdom of re-adjusting your COVID-19 mindset – and breaking with crisis routines.

In the restaurant business, if volume covers a multitude of sins, then dining room closures expose a multitude of opportunities.  

Two Essential Areas to Change 

  1. I took it over then. Now it goes back. Top operators are looking at the responsibilities they took over when things first turned bad. They know that more time and headspace will lead their team out of this mess in a more dynamic way. They delegate the minutiae of marketing, accounting, scheduling, or training.
  2. It wasn’t right before the pandemic. It’s really wrong now. The best operators now realize that the decisions they put off in the good times need attention now. Maybe the decisions involve releasing ineffective leaders, adding apps and software to gather better information in a time where the margin for error is infinitesimal, or upgrading culinary talent to keep up with the need to innovate on to-go programs. 

Find better ways to spend your time and, once again, operate at your place of highest use – assuming you did before all this hit. 

Remember: The people who shape up their organizations BEFORE the end of the pandemic will ride the wave of success as revenue increases. 

But operators who wait to act until the virus is under control and they see sales increase around the industry will be stuck on the sidelines – watching those who planned ahead rev their engines, speed up, and pass them by.

Over to you. How do you delegate again and make those decisions that scream to be made, as you steady your company for the long haul of dealing with COVID-19?