Few could have imagined how much things would change in just the last nine months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For restaurant brands, most saw an immediate drop in sales as customers sheltered in place, and many businesses were forced by mandates to close temporarily. And while many restaurants were fortunate enough to be able to remain open, this year has proven the importance of several things in the restaurant industry, and has led to many operators shifting their priorities. Some of the aspects of restaurant management that are more important than ever include
- 1) Data. One thing that is reliable in times of uncertainty is data. For some restaurants, online orders are up by 200% or more, so now it's up to those restaurants and other brands that have engaged new fans to retain these customers by supplying high quality products that are popular and cost-efficient to produce and deliver.
- 2) Paying attention to customer demand. The products on a restaurant’s menu need to be a balance of traditional, core items that customers have come to know and newer products the new consumers are after.
- 3) Rethinking building design. Many concepts, including Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, are rethinking the way they deliver products. Eat-in dining is limited in most states under current restrictions, so dining rooms right now can be inefficient for many operators. Increasing drive thru capacity and curbside pick-up options will be important in the days ahead.
- 4) Being more prepared for supply chain disruptions. During the pandemic’s onset, several suppliers had manufacturing issues that delayed delivery of some products to stores and restaurants. For most, the situation was resolved quickly, but supply chain disruption is now something restaurant brands need to be more attuned to and prepared for in the future.
- 5) Planning for staffing. Like some other quick-service restaurant brands, Lee's experienced a 25% increase in business after the initial shock of the pandemic passed and customers again wanted away-from-home meal options. This required teams to adapt quickly and work long hours to meet demand. It is important to be adequately staffed to meet customer demand. Hiring and training are critical.
Change is inevitable. Dine-in service at restaurants will likely have a very different future than was thought of prior to this year. Online ordering, app and third-party delivery services are here to stay. With these changes come new ways of thinking, and the restaurant industry is filled with individuals and brands that will revolutionize the future of food service.
For parties interested in taking part in this evolving restaurant landscape, working as a franchisee can be a great way to participate. To learn more about becoming a Lee’s franchisee, click here.
This post is sponsored by Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken