This year has been a shocking one, to say the least. Businesses across the industry have faced many challenges in response to COVID-19 and we are still grappling with the reality that the pandemic-related downturn isn’t going away yet.
As a result, your company may feel like a start-up again. With waves of layoffs and furloughs, it’s currently an all-hands-on-deck situation. You may be leaving behind your future planning and creative ideation to help load trucks, prepare food, pack parties, and sell events. To some, this is arduous work; for others, it’s fulfilling to know you’re making the strides necessary to keep your business running.
While this year has presented obstacles for everyone, the truth of the matter is that it’s rare that businesses have a moment to click the pause button. It’s usually full steam ahead at all times, but the thin silver lining of the pandemic is that it’s given us a moment to refocus on our goals, retool our operations, and retrench ourselves in the industry—all in an effort to rebound from this crisis situation.
If you’re finding a bit of extra time and mental space on your hands, take the opportunity to refocus on these four main departments of your business.
Refocus your culinary processes
Have you been meaning to experiment with some new ingredients? Do you have ideas for new ways to organize your recipes? Is it time to update your catering software? Use this slow period as a time to regain your bearings and put your best culinary foot forward. Start a test kitchen to play around with new ideas and revamp your menus. Revisit your policies and procedures to see if they need to be updated, particularly in light of the pandemic. Preparing the culinary side of your business will ensure that you’re ready to roll with fresh and cutting-edge concepts when business picks up again.
Retool your warehouse
A messy warehouse is a sign of disorganization that filters throughout the entire business, so allot some time to clean house and reorganize your warehouse in a way that makes sense for loading and unloading. While you’re there, consider purchasing decisions in relation to your inventory—do you often find yourself with an excess of certain equipment? Is there lesser-used stock in the heavily-trafficked areas of the warehouse? How can you make it more efficient for your team? Spending a day or two in full warehouse mode can reveal the areas in which your processes and systems can be improved.
Retrench your staff
This year has been particularly challenging for leaders, as many have had to face the pressure of layoffs, terminations, or staff choosing to leave the industry. You may find yourself in a place where you need to hire but are limited in resources, so it’s important to go into the staffing process with a strategy in place. Revise merit-based tier raises to ensure your business is financially sound while still retaining valuable team members. If possible, consider investing in staffing software that simplifies delegation and holds employees accountable for their work.
Rebound your sales
With sales rapidly declining across the industry, now is the time to rebuild and rebound through your sales approach. Take some time to revisit prior sales goals and adjust them as needed based on your year-over-year averages. With realistic goals in hand, you can better guide your team to success by teaching them savvy sales techniques and providing competitive compensation plans. Be intentional about tracking their progress and holding them accountable for closing ratios; an effective sales team is more vital now than ever before.
We can’t predict the future—there’s no getting around that. However, what we can do is prepare our businesses for whatever may come. Rather than sitting around and waiting for the pandemic to disappear, let’s use this time to commit to working on our businesses and, as a result, lifting the industry as a whole.