The new norm for retail bakeries and other foodservice establishments across the country is pivoting from in-person dining, at least in the short term. Every day, more state and local governments advise or mandate closing on-premises dining in foodservice establishments due to the threat of the coronavirus. The National Restaurant Association has even launched an online guide to track the ever-changing restaurant industry coronavirus mandates by city, county, and state.
Operators realize that to continue bringing in revenue during this difficult time, they need to adapt business models to optimize off-premises options. This includes curbside pick-up, drive-thru, and delivery.
The National Restaurant Association provides some tips to help foodservice businesses make the most of their resources and keep foodservice safe during this outbreak.
Businesses need to rethink their customer interactions. Utilize technology to make curbside pick-up and drive-thru safer and more comforting for customers. For drive-up service, designate a parking space curbside or in your parking lot with signage. You can also ask customers to call when they arrive to pick up their orders or use location technology through an app.
You should also rethink payment options. Opt for cashless transactions (often touchless) through mobile payment apps and credit card readers. Customers can even pay by giving their credit card over the phone, if they’re comfortable with that. For cash and card transactions, have designated employees wear gloves to handle these payments, and make sure they change gloves between transactions.
You should also enforce food safety in this critical time. Essential food handling practices in the back of the house must remain the same. Packaging supplies will be critical also. Containers must be able to hold the integrity of the food for longer than normal. Use clear lids if possible to keep employees from opening packaging to verify orders. This reduces deterioration and contamination risk. Bags should be sealed, with a sticker or staples.
Finally, you should look at revising your menu to make it more mobile friendly. The National Restaurant Association suggests focusing on menus items that are popular, quick to serve, travel well, and fulfill the needs of homebound families and individuals.
All of these tips won’t matter if potential customers don’t know you are offering pick-up, drive-thru, or delivery. Let them know on your website, social media channels, and through emails what your hours, menu, and policy will be for these services.