Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob presents: Planning for the Restaurant Rebound

Alex Woodward
Alex is a Growth Marketing Manager at Snagajob, where she works with sales to help connect businesses with the right workers. Her first hourly job was as a barista at Caribou Coffee.

Are you ready for the restaurant rebound? Four things leaders should do today 

Listen to this panel discussion of renowned industry experts! Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob presents: Planning for the Restaurant Rebound

Restaurants have been rocked by this global pandemic. Industry leaders estimate that 30% of restaurants may stay closed permanently once stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions are lifted. But it’s not all bad news…

87% of people say that dining out is one of the things they miss the most and can’t wait to get back to. So consumer demand will be there when the economy reopens. There’s a restaurant rebound coming—here are the four things you can do now to get ready. 

Connect with your staff

People are the heartbeat of any restaurant. Now’s the time to connect with your most important assets. Be creative and available to workers and take this time to build your team’s connection. You can do this however is best for them—phone, email, webinar or a dedicated web page or portal. The goal is to just communicate, no matter how you need to do it.

Former employees

If you’ve had to make the tough call to furlough or lay off employees, you should still connect with them. Show you care about them as people and appreciate the work they’ve done for you. Share any resources you have to help and let them know if you have plans to rehire them in the future. 

 Current employees

Thank them for being on the frontlines to keep your business afloat and your customers happy. Keep employees informed of what you’re currently doing to be compliant with local, state and national guidelines and communicate your plans for reopening. 

“Whether they’re on our payroll or not right now, they’re still our family…”

Patti Simpson, Chief People Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group 

Assemble your reopen task force

Now is the time to start working on your rebound plan and there are many details to consider. You’re reopening your doors to a new world—one where many new rules and consumer behaviors exist. Here are a three main things to consider:

1. Staffing

Who are you going to hire?

Your entire staff probably won’t be available to come right back. In fact, just 34% of furloughed or laid-off workers tell us that they plan to return to their former employers. 

How are you going to hire? 

If social distancing measures are still in place, you’ll need to figure out how to create a new virtual hiring process. Consider video interviews and how you might manage that at scale. Think about how you’ll train new hires who’ve never seen your restaurant before. 

2. Health and safety

Who needs to be involved?

Get input from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), restaurant associates and local authorities to make sure you’re compliant and you’re using best practices to keep workers and customers safe. Things are constantly changing in this new normal.

3. Operating model

How do you handle new customer behaviors?

For example, customers might not want to sit down to a table with silverware already laid out. Maybe they’ll ask to see the table cleaned first. They might expect to see servers wearing gloves. Find out how you’ll need to change your day-to-day operations to manage new customer expectations for cleaning and sanitizing.

There’s a lot to think about before you start putting together a rebound plan. Once you have a solid outline, you’re ready to move on to the next step. 

Create a phased approach

Cities and states are going to open slowly, and consumers are going to ease back into old habits, but with some new expectations. You don’t have to open back up immediately at 100% capacity. Plus, you’ll likely have to keep up with new offerings from the pandemic, like curbside pickup or contact-free delivery. 

Planning for all the scenarios means you can start slowly and pivot if you need to. You don’t have to offer everything on the menu that you used to, and you don’t have to open every location all at once. Decide in advance how you want to manage reopening as you see what customers expect from you.

Celebrate the reopen

When employees walk back through your doors, make it special. Mark the moment and take time to reconnect with people on a personal level. This has affected everyone differently, so make sure your team knows how happy you are to see them, even during a stressful time.  

Get your employees, new and old alike, ready with some re-onboarding. Let them know what has happened so far, where you are now and how you plan to move forward. Go over new concerns like cleaning best practices, new company-wide procedures and anything else you’ve changed since the pandemic hit.

Reignite their love for the brand and celebrate the simple ability to just be together again in whatever capacity that might be.  

“Definitely a celebration...when our teams are back and we can get back to business the way things were.”

Sanjiv Razdan, Chief Operating Officer, Sweetgreen 

The new normal is something we’ve never had to consider before. Gloves, masks, new sanitization procedures—those are all here to stay. Adjusting doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s just going to be different. 

We’re here to help you every step of the way. Whether you need to hire a whole new staff with video interviews or you need a few shift workers to fill in some gaps around your phased reopening, Snagajob has the data, insight and tools to help you get the right workers, fast.

Hear the full webinar ondemand Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob Present: Planning for the Restaurant Rebound.