COVID-19 Resources

Raise Your Food Margins

Despite the explosion of delivery and takeout, most restaurants are experiencing a dramatic drop in sales as consumers spend more time cooking at home. This is why it’s essential that every dish or item you sell is optimized to generate the highest margins possible.

Simplify Your Menu

Customer demand is changing every week, and maintaining your full menu for delivery and takeout will likely lead to increased food waste. A simplified menu gives you a more manageable, flexible set of ingredients to pivot with as our economy continues to change. It also enables you to further optimize labor so you need fewer employees to fulfill orders.

Junzi Kitchen is a great example of how this can generate sustained success. See what they did down in ‘Success Stories’.

Whether you’re a restaurant, meal kit, or meal prep company, there’s one thing that’s working across the board to keep businesses open right now: focus on what works best, trim the rest.

Optimize Each Recipe

Profit margins naturally fluctuate across your menu, but now’s not the time to spend time and labor on low-margin dishes. Consider replacing high-cost ingredients with lower-cost ones to create modified dishes for the next few months, or cut out low-margin dishes altogether to help create that simplified menu. 

Once you’ve cut your lowest-margin dishes, the remaining high-performers are great candidates for family bundles. Creating multi-serving packages helps you batch production, which generates more product and greater sales volume using less labor.

Marketing Essentials

Uncertainty creates a barrier to purchasing. Clear, authentic, and actionable communication with your customers can remove those barriers so that it’s easier for them to continue to buy food from you. And in a time like this, buying food needs to be as easy as possible.

Show Customers You Are All About Safety

Despite a low risk of COVID-19 transmission via food consumption, many consumers are wary of ordering takeout and delivery. We highly suggest communicating on all marketing channels the steps you’re taking to protect both customers and your staff.

  • Food safety protocols for the customer’s safety, like wearing protective equipment or increased hand-washing frequency
  • New kitchen protocols for your team’s safety, like in-store social distancing

The more clearly and authentically you can demonstrate that you’re taking the crisis seriously, the less concern your customers will have, the more likely they are to purchase from you.

Demonstrate New Ways to Order from You

If you’ve made significant changes to the ways customers buy food from you—like a new website, a delivery app, or a curbside process—you want to help customers visualize how to order so they don’t decide it’s easier to eat at home.

  • Write a quick blog showing customers all the delivery apps you can be found on
  • Create a pinned Instagram story showing where to park for curbside pickup
  • Have a new drive-thru window? Post a picture pointing it out

Don’t make customers' problems solve how to buy from you. Make it easy.

Show Your Brand's Personal Side

Your customers want to support your business, but even more so, they want to support your people. Everyone knows that people are struggling right now, and the communal spirit to spread prosperity is high.

Share the names and stories of your staff. Show your team working together in the kitchen (at a safe distance). Now’s the time to be personal.

Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19

The CDC currently says transmission of coronavirus via consumed food is low-risk, but one study indicates that COVID-19 can live on some surfaces for up to nine days. Kitchens need to take extreme precautions to ensure both customers and staff can engage confidently and safely with your food and business.

It should go without saying that anyone displaying symptoms needs to be removed from the site immediately and that all sick requests should be approved without skepticism.

LSK Facility Access SOP's

We strongly suggest referring to the Logan Square Kitchen food safety page, which has detailed Facility Access SOPs. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Screen every person who needs to enter the facility, and keep non-essential people, like delivery drivers, outside the facility
  • All team members should work a minimum of six feet apart
  • Every person should keep/use their own utensils
  • High-touch areas; including door knobs, light switches, oven handles, and dish racks; should be sanitized frequently
  • All personal belongings are kept out of the food production area

The FDA publishes updated guidelines daily for food production and handling facilities during COVID-19, including how workers in facilities where social distancing cannot be maintained should wear cloth face masks to mitigate transmission risk. You can see today’s guidelines here.

Success Stories

Despite all the craziness, many food businesses are finding themselves pivoting successfully. Sales haven’t dropped off completely, many employees are still being paid full wages, and there’s a path forward through the crisis.

Lucky Bolt

Originally created as an office catering company, San Diego-based LuckyBolt realized they needed to pivot to DTC sales when every single catering order was canceled in March. 

Over just three days LuckyBolt simplified their menu and completely pivoted to a consumer food delivery company, offering a way to stock their fridge and pantry with fresh, healthy foods like roasted vegetables, casseroles, and salads that could be cooked at any time.

Junzi Kitchen

Junzi Kitchen, a NYC-based fast-casual Chinese restaurant, slashed several items to lower labor and food costs, like dishes including beef or eggs, when the city banned dine-in orders. 

The restaurant then created family-sized bundles to create more purchasing options with the same set of ingredients to appeal to a wider market. The company also began selling its proteins and sauces by the pint to help make cooking at home a little easier.

Confituras Little Kitchen

Austin-based Confituras pivoted their traditional bakery menu to become a curbside market where customers could pick up pantry staples like cheese, biscuits, jams, and chocolate. 

After experiencing a bump in sales—and seeing how bread baking at home was spiking—Confituras took another step in home-use products with expert-made breads and ready-to-use sourdough starters.

General Resources

Resources for Food Businesses

For restaurants looking to get online, access delivery or pick-up, or sell gift cards:

Delivery Resources

Take advantage of existing delivery services in your area:

  • DoorDash – free delivery, zero commission fees for 30 days, and marketing support
  • UberEats – free delivery, and waived signup fees with fast tracked onboarding for restaurants new to the app
  • GrubHub – zero commission fees and community relief fund (available in major cities)
  • PostMates – zero commission fees and community relief fund (available in San Francisco, plus pilot programs for those interested in other cities)

Transitional Resources

Platforms to help with transitioning your operation model or accessing new customer bases:

  • Ordermark – dashboard and printer to manage all your delivery orders from multiple service provider.
  • EZCater – online marketplace for catered meal delivery.
  • Nextbite – become a fulfillment partner to generate more revenue for your restaurant/kitchen with turnkey delivery-only concepts.
  • Hungry – platform for local chefs to connect with family meals for delivery.
  • The Food Corridor – shared-kitchen management software to help you efficiently run your kitchen, even remotely.
  • The Kitchen Door – attract new clients by creating a free listing for your kitchen.
  • What’s Good – Farmers market and CPG product delivery platform.
  • 86 Repairs - equipment repair management software
  • Qwick - foodservice labor on demand

Industry Information Resources

News from trusted industry outlets focused on the issues that effect food businesses:

  • Food on Demand – a trusted news source focused on the intersection of food, technology and mobility
  • The Spoon – a reliable source focused on providing daily news and analysis about the "food tech revolution"
  • -  explores the impact of technology on our relationship with food
  • Eat News - COVID-19 Restaurant Support from Gordon Food Service

Other Resources

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