Adapting Your Business Model to Keep Ahead of COVID19

“As the coronavirus toll continues to climb in Australia and around the world, more and more events are being scrapped to halt the spread of the virus.”

news.com.au

“Coronavirus outbreak leaves employers facing reality of how to manage a COVID-19 shutdown.”

ABC News

How prepared are you to change the way your business operates ?

Can you responsibly change your service type to an operating method that keeps you, your staff & your customers safe ?

Will being forced to a “closed door policy” destroy your business or can you quickly adapt ?

Changing what you offer your clients is not an easy task, but changing how you offer them can be.

When I am talking to business owners to evaluate their needs, I will emphasise they do more than think about where they are today. I want them to think about where they want to be in a year or two from now. Design and build your POS system in a way that allows you to readily expand into new revenue sources. While they may not want to accept online ordering today, what about in a few months time ? Think about how you can expand your audience in the future … and plan for it today.

Hopefully the change will be made because you want to expand and you will have time to implement a change in a controlled manner.

COVID19 is forcing people to make changes, immediately. There is no lead up period. There is no warning.

“…non-essential indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people (including staff) will no longer be permitted from Wednesday 18 March 2020.”

Prime Minister of Australia – Media Statement

When was this released ? Months before ? Weeks before ? 7 days before ? NO – it was released the same day !

Were you able to adjust the way your business operates in time ?

Andrew from Coffee Anatomy Nedlands WA has been an OscarPOS Cloud user since 2016. With just a few minor setting changes in his Back Office Management system, Andrew was able to adopt a “Closed Door Policy” to protect himself, his staff, his customers and his business. A few more minutes work and Coffee Anatomy were able to send a PUSH notification out to all of their Mobile APP users to advise of this policy change, as well as advertise a promotion to reduce perishable stock.

Andrew and I bounced a few emails back and forth about the challenges from COVID19. Some of that discussion was worth duplicating here.

Tim : How are you coping with the current situation ?

Andrew : “Things are pretty tough.. Due to such volatility and uncertainty that every industry is facing, things are in very uncharted waters. I think the only thing we can say WITH certainty is no one alive on this planet has ever had to face anything close to what is unfolding. The half price food is a two pronged attack, one prong aimed at supporting the people that are the most valuable to society right now – Medical Staff. the other prong is fire selling our inventory due to the fact that we could be forced to shut down at any given moment.”

Tim : As a direct result of the PM’s “max 100 indoors”, overnight you were forced to implement a “Closed Door Policy” where you are only accepting online orders. How have your staff and customers reacted to this ?

Andrew : “Too early to tell but in general, the feedback has been positive. For us staff it is bliss not having to worry about the 1.5m exclusion zone around customers. The order is ready for the customer at the requested time and minimises potential contact.”

Tim : I am lucky in that I can do a lot of my work remotely. As part of the restaurant industry you do not have that luxury. Are your staff worried about the security of their position ?

Andrew : “Unfortunately most of my casual staff are gone as we are unable to offer a table service. I have protected the ones that have worked for the company the longest while my other fulltimers will begin a rostered forced leave day per week to provide work for the casuals. I’m drafting  a plan at present to make sure my remaining staff can survive if/when we are shut down.”

Tim : Having chatted with you over the past few years, I have learnt that you are a very savvy business man with lots of foresight & built your business model around flexibility. I would class COVID19 as more “disaster recovery”. Was being told that basically overnight you had to change or shut up shop a challenge ?

Andrew : “The 2 biggest benefits I have around this extraordinary time for the hospitality is firstly, that I am located on  a medical campus.  Secondly, I am well and truly placed on the front foot by having used the online ordering app for over a year and have a strong client base already familiar with it. I made the decision to close the doors on Tuesday to come into effect Wednesday. As fate would have it, our PM announced Wednesday that public gatherings be limited to under 100. That was us (every lunch rush we have over 100 patrons dining) and it again was nice to be on the front foot. Another big benefit of the app is being able to switch off menu items as they become exhausted ‘on the fly’. Cash seems like quite the dirty demon regarding germs currently and it again was easy to only allow my customers to pay online for their order.”

“In the past 24 hours, 206 NEW Customers have downloaded and used our Mobile APP. Goes to show that with a bit of incentive everyone has the means and the trust in online purchasing. Age is no barrier. Yesterday a couple in their 80s downloaded our MOB APP”

“In general, the only thing slowing down full blown depression is that we are all in this together. I don’t have to second guess my business practices as the reason to be faced with such a challenge. “

“We are all in this together”

There is a correct time to be self-centered and selfish.

That time is not today.

Stop panic buying !

If you run out of toilet paper, there is always the garden hose.

Panadol does NOT prevent Corona / Covid.

Think carefully about any business decision you make. If in any doubt stop, think again, ask for advice. Most importantly, follow that advice if it is sound.

UPDATE

I haven’t even had a chance to hit <publish> and already business are being hit with further restrictions.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in a press conference this afternoon that gatherings of less than 100 people are now capped.

Venues must provide 4 square metres (2m x 2m) per person in an enclosed space, and said Australians should continue to keep 1.5 metres of “healthy distance” between each other.

For example, a 100sqm venue can host 25 people.”

Hospitality Magazine

About the author: Tim Atkinson

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