We have been through the ringer dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses of every type have been forced to assist in the needs of the pandemic or “pivot” to stay afloat during these unforgettable times.
While you were isolated in your home with little to do, and most mercantile businesses were closed until further notice, many of us turned to technology to seek engagement beyond the confines of our home. Shopping online became the new pastime, and if you glanced at your neighborhood, you would have thought it was approaching Christmas with the amount of cardboard stacked in front of doors. But with everyone ordering delivery, it started a countdown until brick and mortar retail would be closed for good. Businesses pivoted to curbside pickup. This provided relief for local businesses and allowed you to continue the online shopping past time.
Pivoting from Traditional Business Models
As you were confined to your place of residence dreaming of your last vacation of where the sky was blue and the sun was yellow, you probably noticed planes were still in the sky. Commercial airlines have suspended 90% of their scheduled flights. With virtually every set of wings sitting in a hangar, airlines pivoted to cargo-only flights. These flights delivered crucial items like groceries, and the 3rd pair of shoes you ordered for the week.
Restaurants, possibly one of the hardest hit industries, followed suit by providing curbside pickup, while others utilized delivery businesses. Now that states are lowering the restrictions, people are craving normalcy and restaurants are starving for business, but restrictions permit only 50% occupancy at best while maintaining social distancing. To satisfy the needs of local businesses and consumers, many municipalities have closed main cart ways to allow local businesses to utilize the open space for business while maintaining social distancing requirements.
Although groceries were torn from the shelves as if the next record-breaking blizzard or hurricane was imminent, customers still needed to come back for necessities over the following weeks. Some grocery stores in larger metropolitan areas are closed to the public. These locations were used to fill online orders to safely bring food to your doorstep.
CDC Restaurant Recommendations
The CDC has a list of behaviors that reduce the spread in restaurants. These behaviors are as follows:
- Staying Home when Appropriate
- Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- Cloth Face Coverings
- Adequate Supplies
- Signs and Messages
With the increase of cost for running restaurants and requiring masks and other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to operate, restaurants around the country are adding a COVID fee for dining at their locations. This charge helps fund PPE for their employees along with an adjustment due to higher operating costs. Some food suppliers raised costs due to supplying more PPE which forces restaurants to raise their prices in kind. The CDC states that the lowest risk in food service is limiting the restaurant to drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curbside pick-up. If on-site dining is to be held, they suggest setting the tables to be at least 6 feet apart which allows for the guests to not spread their droplets between tables.
Some local, traditionally dine-in restaurants have decided to change their business model. In more rural areas, there are not as many supermarkets and grocery stores, so rural restaurants have added a la cart or grocery market portions to their business. With grocery stores limiting the quantity of different items in stores, restaurants can supplement the weekly grocery store run and still make a slight profit.
Several restaurants have added mobile delivery options to their business model with the option of contactless delivery to promote safer interaction of employee and client. This idea can be brought to the idea of dining at a restaurant. Restaurant management wants us to imagine the contactless waiting and dining. Imagine,
“One of your regulars walks into the restaurant. After placing themselves on a virtual waitlist at their apartment, they drive over knowing the host will seat them upon arrival. As soon as they sit down, they read a card on the table that states, ‘Scan this image for access to our digital menu.’ Once they scan the QR code on their mobile phone, they are able to view the full menu, place an order where they add a dairy allergy note for the chef, and pay for the meal at the click of a button, all without interacting with a server or touching a physical menu.
As soon as they’re done with their food and drink, they stand up and walk out. From there, your restaurant can seat new people off your waitlist, adding an extra turn (and more revenue) while your restaurant is operating at 50-percent capacity. This guest’s experience was fully contactless from beginning to end — giving them few opportunities to fear that they’ll come in contact with a virus or bug while at your property”
Although many of these pivoting business practices were initiated out of necessity for survival, some will not be able to sustain businesses or continue year-round. As life continues and COVID remains we will start to see shifts for longevity, and when COVID is harnessed, society will be built on what we have learned from the past. During these times, JL Architects continues to offer our expertise for building your future.