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5 Tactics to Implement Before Your Bar or Restaurant Reopening

Restaurant Operations, COVID Resources - May 05, 2020 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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With the news that some areas of the economy may be reopening (slowly and with caution), it allows us to finally see a way forward and consider the prospect of opening up our business’ again.

It’s time to be forward-thinking and create a management plan to reopen your doors and resume operations again.

However, lock-down and social distancing requirements will likely continue, and become the new “normal” for the near future. We will all have to adapt our business operations to a different way of working. It will definitely change from what we’ve been used to, but it is important to stay positive, be creative, and be diligent in maintaining a profitable business.

Sculpture Hospitality is proactively talking to our customers, and hospitality industry experts, about what is important for restaurant and bar owners to focus on while they prepare for reopening.

From those conversations, we’d like to share a list of important tactics to perform before you open your business and before your employees come back (part 2 of this blog will focus more on your employees).

1 - Closely Manage your Sales Numbers to Forecast the Future

It’s important to think about reopening in a controlled and realistic manner. The seating plan of your restaurant / bar will most likely have a smaller guest capacity because of social distancing laws - which means fewer people being served per sitting per day.

To give you some visibility into what this could look like financially, it would be helpful to predict your expected revenue under a reduced seating scenario. To do this you will need to:

  1. Know what your sales were before you closed down (this should be broken down by seat and by time segment).
  2. Make your best guess about the tables (and seats) you will open with under social distancing requirements.

By going through the numbers you will have a reasonable approximation of what your new revenues will look like.

While you are considering the seating change in your reopening plan, think of a strategy to increase sales per person and increase table turnovers.

*We’re here to help you and provide inspiration, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you would like some assistance or even just to chat about your new plans.

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**In addition - something else to keep in mind is the need to keep tracking your plate and drink stock. It will be more important than ever to ensure that you are making a profit where you can without pushing up the cost to the consumer.

2 - Turn Your Unused Stock into Cash

We wrote about dead stock and liquid cash in a previous blog - so just to summarize, you need to move stock that has been sitting around collecting dust, and you need to create a tighter ordering process.

Here are 3 actions you can plan for now and implement immediately after opening:

  1. Quantify the core range of products you sell - take a look at what each product has contributed to your overall sales mix in the last 6 months (pre-COVID). If you’re seeing that there are products that aren’t contributing to your bottom line, now is the time to be ruthless and cut them. You should be able to run these reports from your POS system - if you’re a Sculpture Hospitality client we can provide you with a detailed breakdown, brand-by-brand of this data very easily.
  2. Convert old stock into cash - Once you have determined which brands/products you will no longer be using, be sure to find a way to sell them off. For example, add the wine back on the list until it runs out, or create a feature dish that will include the products and keep serving it until the products have drastically been reduced. Something important to remember with this is that the more redundant stock you’re able to utilize, the smaller your spend will be with suppliers during the initial stages of re-opening.
  3. Tighten up the ordering process - Whether as the owner you are doing the ordering, or you have a manager doing the ordering for you, implement clear parameters around purchasing to ensure that you don’t accumulate more deadstock. Work with managers to set up par levels for each product that your venue carries. This will help optimize inventory so you only order enough of the right items and avoid over-stocking less popular products.

3 - It’s Time for a New Menu!

Reopening is an opportunity to create a new menu optimized around dishes that will make the most profit.

Prices have gone up over the past few weeks for produce and meat stock because of supply chain concerns during the pandemic, so it’s important to analyze your per plate profits and eliminate more complex dishes that cost more to make or take extra time to cook. Time and efficiency are important when you reopen, so think about how you can speed up processes in the kitchen in order to maximize table turns.

Remember it’s all about welcoming your customers back, so lean into them, talk to them and understand who they are and what they would like to see on the menu. Maybe comfort food is the big thing, or fresh salads.

Don’t forget about beverages, as there will be a lot of celebrating once people are able to go out in public. Be sure that your drinks are priced appropriately for your customer but still contribute profit to the bottom line. To learn more about implementing a strategic pricing modal for your bar operations check out our guide:

 

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4 - Prepare Your Equipment for Production

It’s important to make sure that all of your equipment is cleaned, sanitized, set-up and working properly before you open the doors again.

Your customers are going to be very cautious about your health and safety standards, so tell them exactly what you are doing, communicate what steps you are taking to comply with the new rules.

When you open up again, there shouldn’t be any issues unless the equipment wasn’t shut down properly. Here are some pieces of equipment that should be checked and tested before you begin operations:

  • Draft Beer Systems - these should be cleaned and re-engaged before reopening to ensure they are disinfected and working properly. Check out another one of our recent blogs about protecting your kegs for more information.
  • Set up your phone answering service, update your website and social media posts with your new operating hours and details.
  • Make sure your POS system displays are running smoothly - do a test.

5 - Reach Out to Your Suppliers and Vendors

With the new precautions, organizations are changing the way they are doing business with their customers - this also pertains to your vendors. You should ask them the following questions to get a clear understanding of any potential changes in your service:

  • Are there any new delivery requirements/minimums?
  • Should you anticipate schedule changes in delivery orders?
  • Have you changed your payment terms?
  • Are there minimums being applied to orders?
  • Do you have product availability due to supply chain concerns?
  • What steps are you employing to keep your employees and our staff safe?

This list may look daunting, but believe me, you will feel much more confident opening your doors knowing you’ve taken these actions, and that you know what could be changed to improve revenue.

For assistance in analyzing your stock inventory and past-sales cycles, we’re just a phone call away. Even if it’s just to ask a question or our opinion, please do not hesitate to reach out - we would love to help where we can

Are you looking for additional resources that will help you save money in your inventory and operations, or set you up for restaurant success? Check out our amazing resources!

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