We are in unchartered territory with the rapid wave of a new CorornaVirus (COVID-19) that is spreading with seemingly unprecedented speed in both infected patients and the number of countries involved. The impact on retail, and particularly the restaurant space, remains to be seen, but clearly, organizations must move quickly to protect customers, employees and, the business. This attack is shaping up to be a far more impactful contagion than the NoroVirus outbreaks that hurt many prominent brands in the last few years. How will you lead your business through the Coronavirus challenge?

Much like Y2K, your Board will be looking to leadership to ensure reasonable and practical steps are taken to protect all parties related to the business. Your legal team also has to take the same measures to safeguard accountability in the event an outbreak cluster originates in one of your locations. Employees and customers need to feel confident they are in an establishment that has taken proper precautions that are implemented and consistently followed.

If you have already implemented operational practices such as mandated handwashing, wearing gloves or masks, hand sanitation dispensers, and other measures in the back-of-house, how are you measuring employee compliance? Have those measures been accelerated to reduce the risk that this new contagion brings? If you have similarly implemented operational changes to the front-of-house like frequent cleaning of restroom facilities and disinfecting kiosk-ordering stations along with other commonly touched surfaces, these actions need to be recorded and in compliance to your implemented standard. Demonstrating these in practice will not only protect your employees and mitigate legal exposure; your customers will feel comfortable entering your business and are very likely to return to this safe environment again and again.

Aside from recorded events of compliance, front-of-house mystery shopping can not only detect non-compliance, the very nature of the under-cover, unannounced visits ensure staff and local managers are on their toes. Likewise, targeted back-of-house audits for behavioral and operational practices ensure each location meets your standards.

If you have not started to implement operational enhancements to combat the CoronaVirus, it is not too late, but you must act quickly. Assemble your internal team with outside advisors to develop a compliance plan and get it into the field quickly. If you have a Learning Management System (LMS) where you train staff on new processes and procedures, this is the time to exercise that muscle. Having a digital log of recorded training events will demonstrate learning is reinforced and your staff is in compliance with your business standards.
As CEO at Market Force Information, Ray’s talent to manage change across complex businesses enables clients to overcome challenges faced in their customer experience initiatives. With a global perspective built on 25 years of experience as a senior-level executive, Ray is a champion of innovation and a forward-thinking strategic visionary.

For more information about Ray Walsh: linkedin.com/in/raywalshmarketforce

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To discuss your needs for improving performance for your multi-location brand, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss best practices for measuring the customer experience and compliance to brand standards, using analytics to understand what matters most and the ROI for change, and technology solutions that integrate large quantities of data on one single platform. We look forward to a great discussion!

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