COVID-19: Advice for entrepreneurs in food service/hospitality

The following advice was posted by Theresa Peretta, founder of Culture Refined, in a thread on the Entrepreneurs Anonymous Facebook page.

Teresa was Director of Operations, then Vice President of FUSIAN for 4+ years before launching Culture Refined, her consulting co for small to mid-size businesses. She is available to provide direct consultations to anyone who may need operations, HR or general business admin support as our community collectively adapts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Reach her at teresa@culturerefined.com or 937-608-3723.

Advice I am lending to my food service/hospitality clients:

Rent: reach out to landlord/property management to make them aware of impact and learn what foreseeable options are available and what communication should look like;

Utilities: call and give utility providers a heads up of the mandate in Ohio (they know but start the conversation), learn any suggestions facing complete closure or cease of services;

Credit Cards/Loans: call and give credit card providers, lenders, etc. the heads up of the mandate in Ohio and explore options for deferment, forgiveness;

Insurance: call and see what “business interruption” coverage you may have, what you need to track, what you need to prepare for;

SBA Disaster Assistance: https://www.sba.gov/offices/disaster/dacsc

Ohio Liquor Assistance (return un-opened, un-used, high percentage alcohol): https://www.ohlq.com/

Unemployment Insurance Benefits: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Things business owners in the service industry need to pay attention to:

• “mutual” unemployment coverage — how does that affect unemployment tax?

• the possibility of emergency quarantine — how will that affect delivery/pick-up services?

P&L recommendations:

• lean into online point of sales, transactions, maximize use of third-party services, call and negotiate fees;

• consider scaling down to a core menu to control cost of goods and purchasing (keep in mind what is available and not available, be in daily conversation with suppliers);

• consider creating “bundles” or packages to drive an increase in the average check
require minimums for purchases;

• convert in-store labor into delivery positions.

Health & Wellness consideration:

• keep a symptoms log; headaches, body aches, muscle soreness, track it all with those who are still working;

• obviously prohibit anyone with symptoms from working (track those with symptoms even outside of the work environment);

• stick to the practices we know best and amplify: hand-washing and sanitation practices
check in on active and inactive employees often via phone and text “wellness checks”;

• move to disposable items, eliminate multi-use items;

• sanitize and disinfect environment, utensils, work surfaces, etc. every 1 hour;

HR Services:

• offer guidance for resources (Kroger hiring immediate stocking positions)

• people seeking childcare services: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Have conversations with your team members, cut back, and stay in communication.

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