Finding opportunity amidst uncertainty: Part III

Adapting to the “new normal”

Undoubtedly, it’s a tough world out there, but as one of the largest food procurement businesses in the world, Foodbuy is always looking toward the future.

We are relentless in our desire to seek out sustainable innovations that meet the heightened challenges of food, drink and service provision – now more than ever. It’s this type of thinking that is already helping our clients to plan ahead for the “new normal”.

Here’s some ideas to consider:

Minimise touchpoints

If you’ve diversified your business by offering takeaway or food-to-go options, then it’s vital that you’re minimising the opportunity for customers to touch items. By optimising your menu with takeaway options, you have already taken a huge step towards minimising the touchpoints. But why not consider:

- Wrapping food in bags – as few as possible – so customers only need to touch the handles of each bag

- Checking for order accuracy, even more than normal. Not only will a mistake on an order blemish your customer’s opinion, but it also creates increased opportunity for contact whilst replacing items. As you adapt, considering stepping up your quality assurance (QA) approaches

- Minimise the number of staff touching individual food items. Although your staff will be wearing gloves and following correct hand-washing procedures, limiting interaction of any kind is a great step

- Create a dedicated takeaway or pickup area in your dining room. And where possible, encourage cashless or contactless payment

- Remove takeaway cutlery, plates, napkins, sauces etc from public areas. These should be distributed by staff as self-service items provide an opportunity for contact that can be eliminated

Practice social distancing

It’s vital that you are helping customers and staff to practice social distancing. The Government recommends maintaining a safe distance of 2 metres (6ft) away from others. Here’s some considerations to help your customers do just that:

- Set up a queue or waiting line using tape or stickers on the ground - 6 feet apart - to show customers where to stand. Use signs or posters to let customers know what the markers on the ground are for

- Limit the number of customers who enter your restaurant or dining room. You could even consider limiting the number of people picking up takeaway orders to one per group

- Be clear on the maximum number of people you’re prepared to let into your restaurant at any one time. This will help you to avoid mass gatherings and respect social distancing. For this to work, you may need to appoint a staff member to monitor this and let people in and out

- When handing an order to customers, make sure to keep space. Placing the order on a table or counter for the customer to take will allow service staff to physically distance

Offer contactless delivery

Most national brands with large delivery segments have implemented “contactless deliveries”; essentially the delivery of food with drivers maintaining social distance:

- When delivering the order, the delivery driver will set the order down outside the door of the customer and allow the customer to take the food without interaction

- To make this possible, contactless payment is essential. If possible, take payment online or over the phone

- For restaurants that previously were dine-in only, without a delivery business, consider scaling quickly with a delivery provider or partner. Not only are major national delivery services offering contactless delivery options, but some are also waiving delivery fees during this crisis

Stay informed

Once you have your operation optimised for social distancing, don’t be complacent. Information regarding Covid-19 and the implications of this crisis are changing rapidly. Be proactive, use Government advice and helplines to stay ahead of the curve. Just as your operation had to pivot in response to social distancing, staying vigilant will help you prepare for the next time you need to make changes.

We’re here to help 

If you’re looking to evolve your business, and need some help with your planning, feel free to message Charlie Hudson via LinkedIn