The pandemic has been a big hurdle for all kinds of business and working models all over the world. Initially, the world seemed to stop for a bit during the onset of the spread of Covid-19 in the beginning of this year. The mandatory lockdowns, social distancing and safety restrictions resulted in slowing down the customer demand. Though few franchises pulled through these challenges, the others had to shut down operations.
We are now at that point where we have to adapt to the changes around us to move ahead successfully. More importantly, the consumer confidence is now slowly improving from an all time low. Nevertheless, we are not fully back to the pre-Covid world with regards to operations and demand. The world has responded with a change in the consumer behaviour. In other words, there is shift towards virtual meetings, contactless delivery and more awareness of safety and social boundaries.
The following three tips can help franchise owners adjust to this “new normal” or “next normal” for a sustainable business.
Pick up and delivery services have been an online option for many businesses. In our current situation, most of us work from home and dining in options are limited. Ensuring that your franchise can increase its pick up and delivery services can help you not just maintain but in some cases even exceed previous sales numbers. For example, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut recently hired a huge number of new staff for cooking, management and delivery. This helps the restaurants focus on what sells the most.
The new normal for social distancing can limit the dine in options considerably. This means take out and home delivery options must be taken more seriously. Since there will be more demand for chefs and delivery personal, this could be match by deploying idle servers as drivers. The changes to operating models does not apply just to food franchises. All delivery services in different businesses must be aligned to ensure customers feel safe and comfortable to engage with them.
When customers venture outside their homes, they will now demand high safety and hygiene standards when it comes to shopping, dining or travelling. This could mean that you have to maintain or increase the staffing hours spent on ensuring hygiene and safety. Alternatively, you could also use technology to reduce customer touch point or direct contact with staff. Adding stickers to mark the social distancing on the floor could be another solutions. You could use it creatively by branding them too.
Look into what are the various services your business offers and eliminate the ones that have less demand or involves more cost. Recreate your operating model to match the current consumer demands. For instance, limited menu options helps easy carry out, which in turns drives more traffic and simplified operations. This helps focus on the most profitable areas of the business.
Irrespective of the kind of business, now is the time to experiment on the flexibility of the new normal that includes restricted hours, free delivery, fewer items and custom made services. Most customers understand and appreciate the flexibility and convenience. Pay attention to what the customers want the most and cut down the costs in other non functional areas.
We are all looking forward to the day when the virus will disappear forever. However, when or how the consumer behaviour will change post that cannot be predicted with certainty. Franchise leaders will have to continuously monitor the changes to ensure they serve their staff and clients the best way possible.
To sum it up, flexibility and creativity are key to adapt to the new normal for a sustainable business. A constant review of the operations, models, technology and staff can help you stay on top of the game or maybe even win it in the long term.
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