Article written by Stuart Robertson founder of Mean Business
A flexible business model to enable a business to continue to trade and service customers in a contactless or reduced contact environment goes beyond payment options; businesses need to cater to the consumer needs whilst maintaining standards.
Stuart Robertson, founder of Mean Business, shares his strategies. Covid-19 has shown us how quickly our businesses can be turned upside down by influences outside our control. Events like pandemics, fires, civil emergencies and even an economic downturn can strike at any time, and as a business owner it’s important to plan
for these and build contingencies so that you can adapt.
One important thing we can do to help preserve our revenue during these tricky times is to make sure we operate a flexible business model. One that can be easily tweaked and adapted to help you survive when the unexpected strikes.
Ready Meals with the cooking or reheating to be done at home is one way to diversify, customers pre-order on-line in advance, and choose pickup or delivery through platforms such as Uber Eats, Zomato or Deliver Easy.
The benefits of Ready Meals include being able to manage staff and food costs through a predictable presale model. Start with a small menu changing regularly and communicate directly with your customers through social media, look to introduce regular dishes on certain days of the week or themes to continually create interest and broaden the options for customers. Some food outlets are using this method to provide customers with their most popular menu items so they can still enjoy them in the comfort of their own home.
Here are some of my tips:
- Make sure you always know your numbers so that you can reduce your menu to include only your most profitable and popular items. Simplifying your menu will simplify your operation; and in doing so, save labour costs food costs, stock holding, and wastage.
- Where possible train your staff to cover multiple roles so that you can effectively run your business on a reduced roster.
- Be prepared to temporarily change the focus of your business from profit-driving to breakeven.
- The businesses that fare the best when times are tough are those that have a meaningful and relevant connection with their customer base. This is because people want to support the businesses they are most connected to. Make sure you’re maintaining this relationship through your service delivery, brand and social media through good times and bad.
- Think about all the possible ways of selling your food through a period of restrictive trade.