How to Manage Your Food and Beverage Business During COVID-19

Social distancing orders across the UK have pushed food and beverage businesses to make difficult decisions about if and how they operate. From coffee shops and food trucks to Michelin-star restaurants, many are adapting their models to best serve their communities and their employees.
We’ve compiled a few restaurant management tips — whether you’re still serving or you’re closed and need to maintain cash flow — as well as industry resources to help manage your business right now.

If you’re looking to shift your business model

Ramp up curbside and delivery

One of the first restaurant management tips that you may have considered is shifting to curbside pickup and delivery to continue serving. If you’ve never provided those options before, there are a couple of ways to set them up: You can work with other curbside and delivery partners, or you can quickly create an online ordering page and then enable curbside pickup or local delivery.

Create meal kits to sell online

Many people are now working from home, feeding their kids every meal, and trying to avoid crowded grocery stores. So why not make it a little easier for them by creating meal kits? You can post about meal kits for pickup or delivery on your Instagram, or include it in an email to customers. The fastest way to get started is to offer meal kits through an online store.

Become a corner shop

Sell what you have in stock — and not just prepared items. People are waiting in long lines at the grocery store for pantry items like flour, eggs, and toilet paper; you can help them avoid those lines by selling from your own supply via an online store.

Serve drinks to go

Fortunately, the Government has allowed pubs to operate as hot food takeaways. While there is pressure for pubs and breweries to allow off-premise alcohol sales, nothing has been confirmed yet. Check with your local authorities for temporary rule adjustments during this time.

Market what you have

Things have changed, and they’ve changed quickly. Send your customers an email (and use whatever social media you use most) to let them know what you’re still serving and when or if there are other ways they can support your business and employees.

Accept Contactless Payments

Now more than ever it’s important to be able to accept contactless payments such as contactless cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay in order to reduce contact with customers. If you’re not already using a card machine, think about using Square Reader or Square Terminal to accept contactless payments.

If you’re closed until further notice

Promote digital gift cards

Online gift cards can help increase cash flow while your business is closed. You can quickly set up an online ordering page for gift cards and then promote them to your loyal customers — who want to show their support.

Create a donations page

It’s hard to ask for help, but we need to come together as a community now more than ever. You can create a donation page on your website or online store to ask your neighbours and regulars for assistance.

Sell merchandise online

If you have T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, or other merch, encourage people to buy them now when you need the revenue most. You can sell online via an online store, email, or social media. Learn how to start selling online.

Support your staff

Many restaurateurs face impossible decisions on how to manage a restaurant and lay off staff. We’ve compiled resources for employers that can assist you in navigating those decisions. We’re also continuing to gather resources for those looking for immediate resources for small businesses.

Restaurant community resources

From ways to donate to restaurant management tips, these sources can help you navigate through these difficult times.

HospoLive: Service and industry workers can gain access to industry-leading experts who are donating their time to host webinars and seminars from 8:30 am GMT every weekday.

Guild of Fine Food: This advocate for independent shops and restaurants is making sure nothing goes to waste by matching produce and stock that is unable to be sold with those who would like to purchase it.

The Hospitality Workers’ Fund: This emergency fund aims to assist zero-hours workers in the UK.

Drinks Trust: This non-profit issues grants to bartenders and workers in the pub sector.

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: Grants available to anyone working in the hospitality industry.

Give and Get Local: A Square directory of businesses offering gift cards that consumers can search by location. To add your business, simply create a gift card ordering page.