COVID-19 has dramatically changed all aspects of life – offices are sending workers remote, kids are engaged in digital learning, and states are mandating that businesses close. The world today is not the world of two weeks ago.

Some of you may have responded like I did – going into full “Mama Bear” mode, quickly shutting down all requests of ordering delivery or take-out from restaurants due to my perception of risk. After days of kids pleading for take-out and my husband (the cook in our house!) begging for a night off, I relented.

After doing some research, I was reminded that ordering take-out and delivery is safe… assuming the restaurant follows existing food safety standards. So, after visits to several brands across the spectrum of QSR, Fast Casual, and Casual Dining, I am very impressed with the deliberate actions many brands are taking at demonstrating their commitment to employee and guest safety.

Have you built the following into your guest experience? If not, the time is now!

1. Curbside, no-contact delivery
One large sandwich brand called me immediately after I made my App order to offer a curbside, no-contact delivery. All I had to share was my estimated time of arrival and the color of my car. I pulled up and had my food delivered by a nice gentleman wearing gloves, and I was in and out in 60 seconds.

2. Clear documentation of your cleaning standards
Now is the time to reinforce both the standard and incremental steps you are taking to protect your guests and employees. This message should be on your homepage, your App, and in-store. I think back to the old marketing rule: consumers need to hear things at least seven times for it to stick. So, make sure your guests are reminded repeatedly of your commitment to food safety.

3. Turn up the voice of the customer
Now is the time to turn up your listening posts! If you haven’t already, adjust your guest survey questions to ensure your locations are adhering to your operational standards and any changes you have made to the guest experience.

4. Ensure you capture the voice of the employee
Your employees are your best listening post in terms of what guests are asking for and experiencing. You must provide an environment where your employees feel safe and heard, especially during these times. As we have learned from the Service-Profit Chain model, if you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your guests and your business will thrive.

Yes, you are competing for limited dollars. But, you can still gain advocacy, increase loyalty, and emerge from these temporary business challenges stronger!
As Senior Vice President of Client Strategy, Beth has responsibility for driving success for Market Force’s North American clients. Leveraging her diverse leadership experience across sales, marketing, service, and operations she aims to improve Market Force client’s brand reputation, client experience, and overall profitability.