When we started Specialty Group in 1986, I always said that the bar business is recession proof…but pandemic proof?
There is so much information, along with misinformation, circulating as the latest buzz. There are a few things to keep in mind while navigating the future of our industry.
First, keep in mind this blog post was written at the beginning of April. By now, you should have already reached out to your Landlord, Banker, and Accountant to start planning/discussing payments, strategies, etc. We’re seeing landlords deferring rent payments for their tenants. We’re also seeing Owners are reaching out to their insurance company to find out that their policy does not cover the loss of “pandemic”. This leaves many landlords having to make a decision when it comes to receiving lease payments from businesses that are on a mandated shut down and unable to operate their business by really no choice of their own. Like Landlords, many banks are sharing the same mindset when it comes to receiving payments.
What steps are you taking to adapt to this temporary “normal”?
If you have had to close your business, now is the time to get all of those projects done that you have been putting off. Focus your efforts toward routine maintenance, improvements, and upgrades. Remember, customers, are going to expect your establishment to be deep cleaned and in tip-top shape once you are able to reopen the doors. Now is the time to repair the tattered booths, test that new paint color you were thinking of, replace the stained carpet, shine the worn hardwood floors, reorganize the kitchen and do some overdue inventory and clear out the cluttered stock rooms.
Do you have your website updated to reflect your new hours, menu, daily specials, delivery deals, etc.? These are all the top searches among customers during this time. Have you utilized social media to reach out to your community to keep them engaged and informed of the temporary changes? Do you need to work on your Safeserv or RAMP certifications? If you find yourself with spare time, Servsafe is offering free online courses for the month of April. You can’t beat free!
A plan to reopen the doors.
Now, lets think about your plan when it is time to open the doors once again. Will your menu still be accommodating and work with any new adjustments you had to make with your restaurant? Takeout will still be in high demand, and if your menu didn’t work well for that, now it is time to adapt and adjust. While we are still stuck at home, you can test new items on your menu. Many restaurants have started DIY Kits and family meals as an option for takeout as well.
Do you need to adjust the layout inside to encourage social distancing? You may need to space out your tables and booths and change your checkout/check-in procedures. Perhaps you will need to post a notice on the door asking anyone that is not feeling well to refrain from entering.
There is no better time than now to figure out what the game plan is for reopening and the best ways to be able to sustain your business. Not everyone will be able to or even want to continue their business.
Or maybe it is time to sell?
If you’re contemplating selling, now is the time to talk to someone qualified to handle the sale. You need to understand what you’re selling. Ask yourself if you want to exit quickly or do you have time to spare? You have options! You can sell the liquor license separately, liquidate the equipment, and be done, or if you still have a decent lease term or own the real estate you can sell everything together as a whole package. We are optimistic about the future, but we also know that there will be some adapting and adjusting.
Bottom Line: Plans must be made.
We do not suggest waiting in any case. Plans must be made regardless of the path for you and your business. We wish everyone good health and hope your families & employees are safe and well. We’re happy to have a confidential discussion to shed light on your options.