133: The Coronavirus/Covid 19: Survival Guide For Your Restaurant

Podcast 133 The Coronavirus/Covid 19: Survival Guide For Your Restaurant

COVID 19 / Coronavirus Survival Guide For Your Restaurant

COVID 19 / CORONAVIRUS is probably the worst thing to happen to the Restaurant industry in the last 50 years.  It represents a huge threat to the survival of many Restaurants, Restaurants which were already struggling with increasing food costs, rent and wages.

This play for Restaurants in suriving COVID 19 / Coronavirus covers off on a plan to help you manage the impact of the Coronavirus / COVID 19 on your Restaurant. Listen to some of the ideas that we have been discussing with our customers that are making a big difference in cash flow.

We are seeing a large number of Restaurants reporting a significant decrease in customer numbers, revenue and because of the thin margins, many Restaurants are being pushed into significant losses due to COVID 19 / Coronavirus.

There is a lot of hysteria in the media.  A huge amount and that is driving consumer sentiment and making people fearful to go to a Restaurant.  We recommend getting information from trusted sources.  We are using the WHO daily Coronavirus / COVID 19 Situation Reports.

Look to use Gift Certificates.  You can sell Gift Certificates online and it gives loyal customers a quick and easy way to support your business and then come in and grab a meal in 8 weeks when things are a lot better.  This is great for cash flow and quick and easy to set up and best of all you can sell gift cards online commission free with our Free restaurant Gift Card System.

Put systems in place to protect your customers and your staff.  Hand sanitiser if you can find it.

Look at your operating hours.  Should you think about cutting the quieter days?  This will depend on your fixed costs like your lease.

Do more marketing.  You should have a great email list and the FB pixel on your site to do some retargeting, this is the low hanging fruit.  I have spoken to some restaurants this week who I think it is too late, no database and massive declines in revenue, so now it really come down to the quality of service that you have been offering and the size of your database.  Now is the time to really market heavily to get that revenue in.  Look to your niches and look to what makes your Restaurant unique.

Best advice: Talk to your Landlord about a rent holiday.  Many landlords are really worried about the future, and if your Restaurant closes because of COVID 19 / Coronavirus, it is highly unlikely that someone will jump in to run a new Restaurant right now.  This means that you may be able to get a 3 month Rent Holiday, or decreased rent for the next few months.


We think a big difference will be in those with there own delivery people, rather than gig workers.  The problems with the gig economy is that there is no quality control on the delivery riders and they are poorly paid – below award rates a lot of the time.  They are often back packers without access to health care, so they are more likely to work when sick because they need the money.  In areas with large quarantines in place, food delivery could be really important, but it needs to be from healthy delivery drivers and Restaurants are a lot better at quality control than random riders who don’t actually have a boss who sees them before they start delivering.  We expect to see cases of gig worker delivery riders diagnosed and then needing to look at all of the Restaurants and all of the customers.  They are the perfect super spreaders once infected and we believe that this may lead Governments to halt gig economy workers without much more rigorous checks put in place.

It looks like China has seen a big decrease in cases since the outbreak started, (they were slow off the mark and other countries are starting to be a lot more aggressive), so we think that planning for a 8 – 12 week period of significantly decreased (or no!) revenue is what will be needed.

It is going to be tough for a lot of Restaurants.  It already is tough, and we have already seen permanent closures, so remember that cash is king, look after customers and staff.

If you won’t make it, make the decision early.  Some Restaurants just don’t have a good enough product, marketing database, cash reserves or team to be able to surivive.  This is really tough, but it is what we are seeing in the market now.  If you aren’t going to survive, talk to your accountant about trying to get out of it whilst losing the smallest amount of money.  I’ve spent hours on the phone talking to Restaurant owners about how to structure their exit on the best possible terms.  It isn’t fun, for them it is one of the most stressful times in their lives, but taking control of the situation and acting early is the key to making the best out of a bad situation.

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