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Preparing Your Bar or Restaurant for a COVID-19 Shutdown

Bar Management, Kitchen Management, Controlling Costs, Restaurant Operations, COVID Resources - March 20, 2020 Written By: Sculpture Hospitality

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As we try to understand our day-to-day right now, we are in this with you and want to continually provide you with advice as we all navigate these uncharted waters, together. Being a franchise organization, we are grateful to have access to hundreds of hospitality experts working with thousands of bars and restaurants across the world, so we are compiling all the best practices as they arise and plan to share them with you. Just know, we absolutely feel it too and want to ensure we protect your profits and strengthen your overall business during and after this pandemic.

If you are affected by mandatory or voluntary closures, here are some helpful tips that have been shared with us by our network of hospitality professionals:

Tips for your food:
  • Freeze any items that you can, but please make sure to not "re-freeze" anything.
    • Ensure meats and other items are properly prepped for freezing to reduce any freezer burn/spoilage.
  • Empty expo and main line, and place items in fridges.
  • Donate any perishable items to local food banks.
  • Ensure that the pilot lights on all the gas appliances remain lit.
  • Cancel any standing orders with vendors.
  • Depending on your location, you can act as a secondary grocery store since local markets are often depleted and overcrowded. You can order in bulk from Sysco/US Foods/etc and distribute to people as either full/partial cases of items.
    • For a more personal touch, put together a “Meal Box” of sorts for pickup/delivery. Pre-orders and pre-paying would be certain to not saddle your location with excess inventory.

Tips for your liquor:

  • It may be best to remove all visible liquor from the bar area to avoid any possible smash and grabs.
  • Reach out to liquor stores and other retail stores to assist in inventory solutions.
  • Cancel any standing orders with vendors.
  • If you have product that might spoil, think about what simple syrups you can produce and use at a later date.
  • In some locations,  you are able to return sealed items back to state stores to reduce on-hand inventory just sitting on the shelves.
  • If you are able to do food delivery services, don't forget beverages, you can create a menu of creative "mocktails" to send out for delivery - patrons can add the alcohol at home.

Tips for your wine / champagne:

  • Remove/dispose of open product or use it in the kitchen if you are open for take-out. The shelf life for most open wines is less than two weeks. Most likely, none of it will survive a closure.

Tips for your bottled beer:

  • Keep it at the same temperature. If it has been chilled, keep it that way. If it has been stored at room temperature, it should be fine. Temperature changes could cause the product to spoil at a much faster rate.

Tips for your draft beer:

  • Monitor your cooler temperature to ensure it's working properly (if you are a Bevchek customer - monitor this through your Bevchek portal). 
  • In our previous blog, titled ‘Protect your kegs during the COVID-19 shutdown’ we looked at the proper steps you need to take in shutting down your draft beer system to ensure longevity of your product and safety of your equipment. Tips include:
    • Turning off the gas system.
    • Unhooking all your kegs.
    • Flushing the beer lines (if you have a cleaning keg/tank, leave them full of water. If you do not, leave the lines full of beer).
    • Cleaning and sealing your faucets.

What else can you proactively be doing right now?

  • Talk to your State/Province Restaurant Association. They have all the first-hand information and updates.
  • Talk to your lenders on solutions to alleviate those burdens.
  • Contact your landlord to work on rent forgiveness and/or deferment.
  • Proactive business planning - this might be a great time to plan out your promotions for the remainder of the year.
  • Take this time to do a complete database clean-up of your customer or prospect database.
  • Menu engineering and planning for re-open.
  • Think about all the small tasks that you are unable to get to during your busy times. Now is the time to take a step back and tackle that list once and for all.
  • Talk to your neighbours (with social distancing in mind, of course) - we are in this together, so let's open the conversation with each other.
  • And lastly, this is a great time for a good spring cleaning!

How can Sculpture Hospitality help?

There are a ton of valuable resources developing and we will be sure to share relevant information for you as it arises.

Protect your inventory

But most importantly, let’s stay positive during this challenging time and we will all come out of this on the other side, together.  If there are questions you have or additional ways we can support you, please let us know. We wish good health for you, your families, and your communities.