Submitted by MRFA Associate member TracRite.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants have had to close temporarily to reduce the level of
community spread. It is heart-wrenching knowing how difficult it will be for some to weather this
terrible storm.

As we don’t know how long these closures may last, we brainstormed some strategies on how to cope in
the interim. These thoughts are designed to reduce the immediate impact.

Gift certificates – Offer $100 gift certificates with an incentive – if purchased now customers receive an
additional $20 for free. This will enable you to bring in some cash flow that can be used later on.

Renegotiate rent – Consider negotiating with your landlord to defer or reduce rent. While they have to
pay their mortgage as well, perhaps there is some room to help with this.

Delivery and packaged meals – Offer menu items by delivery or pickup. And consider packaged “grab
and go” meals. Design a few meals (maybe 3) and have them prepared so customers can order three
days of meals at a great price. As many people are now “self-isolated” this kind of service can bring in
revenue while helping your community. This will also ensure that you can use the inventory that you
currently have on hand and prevent unnecessary waste.

Look at the Chinese food and pizza delivery model – these concepts have worked for years. People
want food delivered. Use an app or service like GrubHub or simply having people call and leave a
message then call them back to confirm. My local Chinese restaurant does this and it works well –
simply order before 4 PM and state your desired delivery time. They will call back at some point and tell
you the time they can achieve and confirm the order. No additional technology is required.

Reduced hours – in addition to changing your service model, open only when there are sales to be had.
Think of peak times depending on your market. If you do the majority of your sales at breakfast then
only open for breakfast.

Deliver free food to first responders, truck drivers, companies that are deemed essential. While there is
a cost associated with this, analyze your food cost and weigh the business opportunity. Ask the
recipients to post on social media or if you can write a blog post about the experience. The goodwill
created will be something that will go a long way in the future.

Reduced menu – as it will be more difficult to get supplies, reduce your menu to just a few signature
items or features based on what you can order from purveyors.

Multiple location owners – consolidate all your perishable inventory to one location and deliver from
there.

Good luck and see you on the other side – It is not a matter of “if” we get through this, it is a matter of
when we get through this. We are all in this together!

Jeff Hands, President
TracRite Software Inc.