The COVID-19 pandemic has hit restaurants especially hard. Dropping temperatures have made outdoor dining impractical, and the need for proper ventilation has vexed some restaurants trying to offer indoor dining. 

With all the changes that have happened in 2020, you may need chain restaurant management advice to navigate our “new normal.” You need Juelene Beck & Associates, L.L.C

Ms. Beck has over 40 years of experience in leading chain restaurants, franchise organizations, and consumer products companies which include Burger King, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sara Lee Corporation, and Procter & Gamble.

Juelene Beck & Associates, L.L.C. was founded as a chain restaurant and food safety consulting firm that offers an expert witness practice. This service assists attorneys throughout the US, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, in legal suits related to chain restaurant management including slips, falls, and burns; food safety systems; supply-chain management; food product development and related matters.

Tips for Managing a Chain Restaurant During COVID-19

The massive shift away from indoor dining, and toward takeout and delivery, that has occurred since the start of COVID-19, represents a new way of living that can be confusing. Customers have come to truly appreciate restaurants that have updated, accurate information to help them manage in their new lifestyles. 

Inform your customers in as many ways possible about delivery and takeout options. Customers will appreciate knowing they have alternatives to dining inside. Implement actions such as hiring and training additional food safety staff and doing deep cleans in your restaurant often. Highlight these changes to show customers they can safely order at your establishment. 

You may be forced to become more creative during these hard times. Moves such as scheduling employees for discontinuous shifts can allow you time to deep-clean facilities. This also allows for the better enforcement of social distancing, one recommended way to control COVID spread.

On the other hand, restaurants need income. Since certain states are enforcing limited capacity for indoor dining, switching to a takeout-and-delivery-only business model can have advantages, as have been highlighted recently in industry news. When combined with a well-targeted marketing campaign, takeout-only and delivery-only businesses can reach customers to tell them it is safe. This also slows the spread of COVID, as seating too many people into a room with poor ventilation can be a recipe for disaster. The choice is difficult, but in the end can be worthwhile. 

If you decide to increase focus on delivery, make sure to do so safely. Some may argue the need for hiring your own drivers and caterers, so that you know where they’ve been and whether they’ve been exposed. Alternatively, tremendous attention has been focused on restaurant delivery companies/partnerships that can better address delivery needs. Contactless delivery, in which drivers leave food outside on a porch, is also optimal for reducing contact. 

Many restaurants that have been able to adapt during this pandemic have reaped major benefits. For the fast-casual Mexican grill, Chipotle, digital sales were up 177.2% in the fourth quarter, helping them reach nearly half of total sales for the brand during this time. Due to their success during COVID, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has plans to open 200 stores in 2021 with 70% of those new stores having “Chipotlanes,” drive-thru capacity

Contact Us

If you need assistance managing food safety, contact Juelene Beck & Associates, L.L.C. today. Ms. Beck has advised the FDA, Department of Homeland Security, and the CDC in developing food safety standards to protect against bioterrorism. Ms. Beck has also developed, managed and evaluated world-wide supply chain networks for many restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, and can analyze a chain’s compliance to specific safety guidelines. As Chain Restaurant and food safety expert witness, Ms. Beck can help you manage the ever-changing situation COVID has brought us.

1Ruggless, R., & Fantozzi, J. (2021). Chipotle’s digital sales grow 177.2% in Q4. Nations Restaurant News.

2Ruggless, R., & Fantozzi, J. (2021). Chipotle’s digital sales grow 177.2% in Q4. Nations Restaurant News.