Innovations Worth Trying
Since the old way of doing business is on hold, it may be helpful to borrow some strategies from the tech world--another industry that’s used to thinking on its feet. With this approach, you don’t have to have a perfect plan to start putting solutions in place. Instead, you’re looking for simple, inexpensive solutions that you can adjust as you learn.
The Startup Method1
It’s okay to start small. What’s the lowest-risk solution you can put in place as soon as possible?
Once you’ve taken a step, measure the results. How did it affect traffic? Sales? Guest satisfaction? Your employees? Your cost and benefits?
Stay flexible, adjusting as you go. Consider what worked well, what needs a tweak, and what other ideas you want to try. Then go back and start again with Step 1. There’s always room to improve!
The best way forward for your business may not look like anything you’ve done before. Check out some of the creative ideas other restaurants around the world are trying:
• Mediamatic in Amsterdam set up private glass greenhouses where guests can dine along the canal. Servers deliver food on planks that slide into the door2.
• Clarity, a restaurant in Virginia, turned its parking lot into a drive-in dining service where a full table setting and meal meets diners in the lot3.
• Brooklyn Dumpling Shop delivers meals in a glass locker that guests can unlock with a code on their phones after paying4.
• Canlis in Seattle, Washington has maintained its relationship with local farms by offering guests home delivery of a single meal option that changes every day5.
• Italian restaurants are collecting diner information when reservations are made so they can quickly identify and contact other guests if one later tests positive6.
• Shake Shack is launching a cook-at-home burger kit available through online order/delivery7.
How has Nestlé customer and Two Michelin Star Chef Ghislaine Arabian adapted her restaurant during COVID? Early on, she kept her staff occupied preparing over 2,000 meals for an association. Later, she devised a three-course, grab-and-go menu that changed every day, offered for approximately 20% less than the restaurant’s normal sit-down meals and promoted via signage and social media. When the restaurant reopened, she continued offering the grab-and-go option, which she has found satisfies guests and increases her revenue despite a reduced capacity due to social distancing.
1 Ries, Eric. Lean Startup Method.
2 The Spoon.Tech. 2020.
3 Washingtonian. 2020.
4 Forbes. 2020.
5 Eater NY. 2020.
6 Washington Post. 2020.
7 Restaurant Dive. 2020.