Five Coronavirus Actions That Could Save Your Business for March 17, 2020

Chris Rumpf

Founder and CEO, 15+ Years of Restaurant Technology Innovation

Five Coronavirus Actions That Could Save Your Business For March 17, 2020

Taken From Conversations With Other Business Owners

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:

1. Reassure Customers

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:

  • If you haven’t already, begin utilizing online ordering in your business.  Yesterday, we began offering FREE ONLINE ORDERING THROUGH APRIL 15.  Yes, I know.  It’s caps. I’m yelling.  This is worth $700.  Please accept this gift. If you’re not already using an online ordering tool, we’ll set you up within 24 hours.
  • If you’re not already, consider a delivery program. We see many of our client retraining staff to do deliveries in the short term, and for these customers, it is working. Several customers who have deployed online ordering capabilities prior to this situation reported daily sales on-par with a normal Monday in March today.
  • Reduce waste and increase volume by simplifying your menu. Try bundling meals for individuals or families to make it easy to grab a full meal (all utensils and service items included).
  • Implement curb-side ordering. Patrons that don’t need to enter your establishment should not.
  • Maintain communication with customers via both email and social media. In this time, marketing should not diminish, but rather increase. The best idea we saw today was a customer who was posting a photo and caption on social media of each and every customer that came into the store for pick up. What a fantastic way to give confidence to your following.
  • Offer a discount for customers that order again within one week. If a patron braved their concerns to order a meal today, let’s make it as easy as possible for them to return.
  • Sell gift cards at a discount with the purchase of a certain dollar value. Bring in cash flow and encourage customers to come back.
  • Take-out Bingo.  Join up with 23 other nearby restaurants and print a bingo board.  Each restaurant gets a square.  Post to social and away you and your neighbors go.

2. Help Employees

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.

3. Prepare Your Finances

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…

  • Reach out to landlords to request deferment, easement, or short-term lease changes. Many leases contain Force Majeur (Acts of God) clauses which could be invoked during this time.
  • If you have a loan, contact your bank immediately to request relief.  We have heard of Fifth Third, Bank of America and Chase all offering favorable options to effected businesses within the past 24 hours.
  • Most major public utility companies have indicated that they will waive penalties and cease shutoffs during this situation.
  • The State of Ohio (and many others) are offering a one-time buyback of wholesale, unopened alcohol through the distributor where the product was originally purchased to help ease the pain of stagnant product.

4. Take Care Of Your Staff

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.

5. Let Us Help

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

Join Us Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 at 3:00 pm EDT to continue the conversation. 

Show us your face on Zoom:

Need to make the meeting by phone only? Call +16468769923,,450835953# or call 1-646-876-9923 and enter meeting ID 450 835 953#