Businesses across the country have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and small businesses considered “non-essential” have been hit the hardest. As the Illinois Stay at Home order continues, you might be reconsidering your future plans for your establishment and how it will continue to operate. Business continuity through the COVID-19 pandemic is vital for locations while their doors are shut.
The Illinois Stay at Home order has been extended, potentially prompting businesses that were previously going to “wait it out” to reconsider their plans. Takeout, delivery, and curbside delivery is growing in popularity and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Industry experts suspect these offerings will become standard in the bar and restaurant industry throughout the pandemic and beyond.
When offering these new options, think about ways you will need to build out your establishment’s remote ordering capacity and infrastructure to fulfill these new orders. Modifying menus to meet customer concerns and demands will help your business weather this storm.
Maintain a Healthy Work Environment
There is a variety of information available to location owners to guide them through this uncertain time. To help, we created a guide for protecting your establishment and staff during COVID-19. There is also a great deal of information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help assist your location during this time.
Empower employees by developing policies to protect your staff and customers and be transparent about your decisions. Communicating with your staff frequently will help keep your employees safe and prevent misunderstandings. If you have not already, provide cleaning training to staff prior to assigning new cleaning tasks to ensure everyone is on the same page. Make sure that your employees are aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and provide instruction about what to do if they develop symptoms.
Support Your Employees
Your establishment wouldn’t be what it is without your staff, so make sure you are supporting them any way you can. Educate your employees about the threat of the pandemic and what your establishment is doing to safeguard customers and staff. During this time, evaluate your sick and family leave policies. Consider that not only sick employees will stay home. Others might need to care for sick family members or for children during school closures.
The current situation is changing frequently, so monitor news and developments coming from State and Federal governments on pandemic preparedness. When you can, familiarize yourself with State and municipal pandemic plans. This information is important now, but that open communication will be invaluable as the State begins to reopen. Being well-connected and informed will help your establishment be ahead of the curve when new re-opening guidance is put into place. When implementing new procedures, reach out to the local health department. They should be able to provide you with guidance on best practices.
Dine-in is not an option for the foreseeable future, but this does not mean it’s the end of your business. It just means a shift in approach and understanding on how you can continue to connect with customers. Uncertainty may continue after the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can continue to support each other during this crisis and work on our recovery strategies together.