Bars and eating places had been among the many hardest hit by COVID-19 challenges.
Earlier than opening his personal restaurant, Clint Kuskie had labored in nearly each place within the business you possibly can think about. From bussing tables and bar backing to working within the kitchen and ultimately working coaching packages and serving as a supervisor within the company restaurant world, he had seen all of it. So, when he and his associate, Gordon Decide (who boasted comparable expertise) opened Pittsburgh’s Dive Bar & Grille 10 years in the past, they had been beginning their foray into small-business possession on strong footing.
Within the ensuing decade, the restaurant developed a status for excellent meals, destination-worthy cocktails, a welcoming, upscale environment, and, maybe most significantly, top-notch customer support. Their preliminary success allowed them to develop their enterprise, increasing their footprint to 5 areas within the Pittsburgh space.
Dive Bar & Grille was firing on all cylinders: The kitchens had been busy, the tables had been full. Then, only a couple weeks after their fifth restaurant opened in Indiana Township, the total results of the COVID-19 pandemic started to be felt throughout the USA. Virtually in a single day, enterprise as ordinary ceased for small companies of all stripes. Bars and eating places had been among the many hardest hit by COVID-19 challenges.
Since then, Dive Bar & Grille has been navigating a fast succession of adjustments in state rules and steerage, testing out new enterprise fashions, maintaining clients and staff protected, and holding on to as many workers members as attainable. At almost each stage of the method, expertise has performed a key function.
Making a Hybrid Ordering Mannequin
When the pandemic started, the 5 eating places had been restricted to take-out orders solely. Kuskie stated they’d at all times accommodated take out, but it surely was a small a part of their enterprise, and a number was historically in a position to deal with the quantity of orders that got here in over the telephone. In the course of the pandemic, that modified.
“Our telephone was simply getting hammered. We couldn’t sustain with the quantity of calls,” says Kuskie. “We’d get one telephone name, then one other, after which a 3rd. We by no means had an elaborate telephone system as a result of we by no means wanted it. Now, individuals had been getting a busy sign.”
Dive Bar & Grille was in a position to rapidly get up a web-based ordering platform, which solved the issue nearly instantly. Kuskie estimates that 75% of the order quantity that was coming in over the telephone shifted to on-line ordering, making the telephone traces obtainable for many who nonetheless most popular to name in and place orders, whereas additional streamlining the ordering course of for the overwhelming majority of takeout orders.
The shift to on-line ordering additionally allowed the eating places to deal with peak hours higher and allocate sources successfully. By means of on-line ordering, in addition to third-party meals supply apps, managers have visibility into demand and might even set limits on what number of orders are taken at particular instances, so the kitchen received’t get flooded with orders all of sudden.
Increasing Out of doors Eating and Going Digital
Finally the total ban of on-site eating was lifted and eating places in Pennsylvania had been in a position to host friends at restricted capability. Nevertheless, because the affect of the virus continued to evolve, so did the restrictions, shifting between 25% and 50% for indoor and out of doors eating.
To accommodate for the restrictions, Kuskie says, Dive Bar & Grille undertook some key steps. First, they