Over the course of the last 24 hours, we’ve spoken directly with about one-third of our customer base. Depending on the business type, size, and geographic location, businesses are working through this tumult by closing completely, migrating to a carry-out or delivery business, or by not changing their business at all. Many owners that we spoke to today were most concerned for their hourly workers who are essentially now unemployed. The near-term future (the next six to ten weeks) has become clearer over the last 48 hours, and I expect it will become even more clear over the next 48 hours. Those businesses currently in locations where action has not been required will quickly find themselves with restrictions. More cities and states will restrict travel, business, and restaurant activities in the days ahead.
A number of states, including Ohio, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have ordered food service businesses to function in a carry-out only capacity, and prohibited a number of other business types from opening entirely. The most restrictive order yet, begun at midnight pacific time this morning, prevents all humans in five counties in and around San Francisco from leaving their place of residence, except for “essential services, essential business, or essential government activities.” The restriction does allow restaurants in San Francisco to continue to operate carry-out services but certainly will continue to hamper business in the days ahead.
Despite the situation continuing to degrade, the steps taken in San Francisco gives some hope that restaurant operations can continue across the nation, hopefully at a pace that allows for long-term business survival. We spoke of several steps businesses can and are taking to continue onward yesterday in our Zoom call, which I will recap below. Further, we’re continuing our conversation on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 at 3:00 pm EDT with another Zoom call. Please consider joining us again Wednesday for updates, ideas, and sharing of good activities that could very well make a significant change in the outlook of your business during the next 60 days.
Soapbox complete. I did promise five important pieces of information today:
First, the overwhelming majority of conversations yesterday reinforced that this is a necessary time to reassure customers that restaurants are responsible and running safe establishments. If you do decide to stay open during this time (and we encourage you to!), it’s an opportunity to rethink your business model and relevance to your customers. Specifically:
Second, help take care of displaced and under-resourced employees. There is no sugar-coating – the next several months will be painful for a great number of employees in many business verticals. Most states are making it easy to receive immediate unemployment benefits (Ohio, Washington, California, etc.), and many others are expected to follow this week (Michigan, Indiana, etc.). There are a number of billed currently stalled at the federal level which will attempt to assist as well, with updates expected this Friday or Monday next week.
Third, it’s time to cut expenses, defer payments, and prepare for additional financing options. Our main office is located in Ohio, which is also a state moving quickly on emergency assistance. The Ohio Small Business Development Center is preparing for emergency low-interest loans, and a number of additional state agencies are coming online with relief of their own. We’re optimistic to see these programs, and anticipate being able to share many of them, from Ohio and other states, with you on our Wednesday call. Further…
Fourth, it’s important for staff to continue to remain healthy. Staff members should be checking their temperature twice per day (and once before their shift) to ensure that fever of 100.4 or higher does not exist. Customers should be spaced six feet or more apart at all times. This was mentioned earlier, but seriously consider a curbside pickup program.
Fifth, please utilize our expertise, time and assistance. We are currently offering the following to help create some ease during this experience:
We are waiving all fees for online ordering, including setup fees. Restaurants can be up and running within today with Flyght Online Ordering without a single dollar of upfront investment. Call us at 419-724-3115 to get started on this.
Consulting fees for existing customers are now complimentary. Normally, our rates to consult high-level business practices are several hundred dollars per hour. Now, through at least March 27th, this service is free. We have a wealth of resources and have aggregated best practices from our customer base. Ask us anything, and we’ll help with everything, from setting up your delivery and carryout processes to facilitating employee wellness protocol.
Scheduling time is as easy as one-click at https://calendly.com/flyght/30minintro
Join Us Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 at 3:00 pm EDT to continue the conversation.
Show us your face on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/450835953
Need to make the meeting by phone only? Call +16468769923,,450835953# or call 1-646-876-9923 and enter meeting ID 450 835 953#
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