Restaurant Leadership Is Important During the COVID-19 Shock
Restaurant leadership is important during the COVID-19 shock. With the Coronavirus stretching across the globe, the uncertainty has been the foundation of fear for all restaurants. With this, comes change and so the leadership you provide during the Coronavirus is pivotal. When the government issued the news wave of COVID-19, restaurant owners and managers were hit with a curve-ball. Questions like: How do I support my staff? How do I protect my brand? And, how do I maintain my fiscal health? With proper leadership in place, the burn from the virus will fade. Calm is contagious. You’re going to get through this. We all are.
Leadership and Persistence Prevails
The persistent and consistent restaurant calls for assistance has been picked up and answered. The government and Federal Reserve have come up with 2 trillion dollars – 5 weeks of everything America has produced in an effort to help restaurants and the overall economy. The restaurant industry– the 2nd largest private sector in the country is looking more heavily towards leadership in the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 shock. Trying to make up for the loss, especially in the restaurant industry, this is a decision at the government leadership level to recognize the kind of immediate deficit the economy has undergone and been directly impacted by.
How Do I Support My Staff During the Coronavirus?
Keep your staff motivated. Easier said than done. Your staff are human beings, just like you. They too are feeling the upset. Keeping you and your staff healthy during this time will benefit you in the long-run.
“The leader must lead from the front, exhibiting the values and behaviors they expect from the team.” – Michael Distefano, President of the Asia Pacific region for Korn Ferry and Global Operating Committee member
Restaurant leadership during the COVID-19 shock is extremely important to maintain the overall operations of your establishment. Here is a list of things to implement to increase security and awareness during this time:
- Be authentic and transparent
- Gather opinions from your staff
- Reach out to your stakeholders to express your concerns
Leadership in the Restaurant Industry Requires Authenticity and Transparency
Monkey-see, monkey-do. It may seem silly to think a child’s phrase would tie into the restaurant industry, but it does and here’s how: If your staff senses your fear, frustration, and stress, they too are going to mirror that same behavior. The trick is to remain calm and be transparent. Restaurant owners don’t want to lay off staff and they don’t want to put their landlords in a predicament where they’re not able to pay their mortgage, then placing pressure on banks. Restaurant leaders now more than ever need to be reaching out to their networks and keeping the line of communication open.
Gather Opinions From Your Staff
Now is the time for restaurants to rely on the opinions and decisions of others, which is hard to do for many leaders. However, during times of crisis, this is exactly what they need to do. During this time, leaders should be practicing an affiliative and participatory style of leadership, one where decisions are made through consensus and based on relationships. Before, and as a restaurant owner, everything was likely based off of your opinion alone. However, with things falling apart, it’s even more important for everyone to band together. Ask your staff what they need during this time. Ask yourself what you can provide your staff. Be authentic and Transparent. If you want to retain A-class employees, take care of them.
Reach Out to Your Stakeholders and Express Your Concern
At this point, restaurant owners should know they need to communicate with their stakeholders during this crisis. Communicate quickly and clearly. This is happening all across America, so there is nothing to be ashamed of by reaching out to your stakeholders and expressing your concern so that together a solution can be put into place. With this, brings the truth that you are in fact afraid as so many of us are and that is okay. Furthermore, while in communication with your stakeholders, keep your staff engaged and informed. This is a time for your management to show support and a steady-hand.
How Do I Protect My Restaurant Brand During the Coronavirus?
Be honest with your local community. By now, everyone should know the hardships the economy is facing and if anything, will be more understanding. Use social media to send your concerns and solutions to your followers/community. If you can, continue to post every day. Let consumers know how you are taking all of the health and safety measures you can to protect them and your staff. Let the community know you are doubling down on these efforts.
You Are Not Alone
By letting people know that you are taking all of the necessary precautions, you are in, in turn, protecting your brand and remaining active and communicative. Treat your staff kindly during this time, even if you had to deliver not-so great news. Let them know that you are willing to help in whatever capacity you can. Be kind. Be good. Doing so, will help protect your brand and show restaurant leadership during the Coronavirus.
Create Virtual Connections With Guests
Digitization is at the forefront. Use social media to post supportive content. Start a campaign to gather funds to then give to charities in support of restaurateurs around the globe. If you can, offer delivery and take-out options to show your persistence and willingness to support the community. Restaurant leadership during the Coronavirus doesn’t need to end if your establishment has shut its doors. Instead, keep the mode of motivation going by communicating openly and honestly and by sharing your desire to help the community even if you can’t offer the services you once were. Keep your brand strong by supporting the community and being part of the solution and not the problem.
How Do I Maintain the Fiscal Health of a Restaurant During the Coronavirus?
Start making phone calls. Call your bank, call your landlord. Sit down and evaluate the numbers. Can you remain open? If so, can the limited services you provide give you profit enough to stay above water? Lastly, are you able to provide your staff if you decide to remain open, the safety and security?
Sometimes, the decision to temporarily close may be better than staying open and subjecting your staff to unhealthy exposure. Currently, there are financial options out there for restaurants and small businesses. Take advantage of those options now, don’t wait for the economy to get better. Get creative. The time to really search for that creative drive is now. Keep calm and carry out. If you haven’t yet stepped up to the technology world in your restaurant, you will fall behind. Now is the time to push online endeavors in take-out and delivery.
This setback will actually open up the restaurant industry to a whole new way of operating. Take this time to think of a creative pivot that you could potentially offer well after the dust settles. Doing so will not only create an additional revenue stream, but this will also setup a unique value proposition.
Leadership Is Necessary to Succeed
Restaurant leadership during the COVID-19 shock is important. This is a trillion-dollar industry, that clearly has a significant impact on the economy. Furthermore, being the 2nd largest job sector in the economy, proves that this is also an industry that is resilient and will get through this if the leadership that exists takes the necessary steps to protect their staff, brand, and financial health. Let your staff know that you are all in this together. Reassure them that you will take all necessary measures and precautions to create for them, a sense of community. How you handle adversity is going to be tested in the hospitality industry. The only certainty is that there is uncertainty, but you can overcome obstacles. One day at a time.