Written for BLLA
by Julia Heyer, Managing Director of Heyer Performance
While real recovery may be a few months off, in conversations with clients and industry friends, we hear a dedication to weathering the storm and emerging stronger from it. Companies that have the foresight and can afford it have determined the successful way forward demands commitment, not dithering; planning, not scrambling. Many independents seem driven in the same direction by sheer force of will.
One thing is for certain, the economy is not going to brighten immediately as though powered by the flip of a switch. Recovery efforts in this uncertain environment driven by blind optimism will most likely be extremely costly. The industry simply cannot talk its way back to health.
Improvements will most likely take place in waves: first regionally and by degree depending on the achievement of universal testing, more effective therapies, and the development of a successful vaccine.
Consequently, we have started to outline what prudent measures to consider NOW in order to drive your planning with regard to food and beverage and have outlined the following four considerations.
Whether hoteliers handle the re-launch of multiple venues internally or look for outside support, we share these ideas in the hope they will be useful in determining the next steps forward.
Conducting a realistic data-focused market analysis early on is a critical item. The if-I-build-it-they-will-come era is over. The post Covid-19 consumer landscape may be radically different. Conduct the analysis before defining your offering and relaunching venues with the purpose of identifying:
What to do with all your F+B: which venues to relaunch and which you may not at this time
How to deliver it: which concepts to improve and how as an expression of a localized, bespoke boutique offering (greater market share capture through targeted offering with personality that speaks to the new market landscape, operational efficiencies, new safety measures to create comfort, marketing + communications)
With Whom: which of any existing managing/licensing agreements should be
altered/improved – and how
How to execute the re-launch of F+B venues, possibly across multiple properties and markets logistically: Laying out how to marshal and time them
This effort amounts to a 360 deep-dive into your yet-changing markets and a comprehensive review of your F+B operations in light of such analysis AND your brand: with the purpose of determining the clearest path to success in what will most certainly be a changed future.
Once triage is assessed and the holding pattern has begun, the next best step option is to focus on a plan for emerging more strongly positioned than the competition in terms of market-focus, the “new” experience, operational efficiency and financial performance. Working through the four considerations outlined above should help you do so.
About the Author
Julia’s wide-ranging restaurant career encompasses development, operational and corporate experience across the globe. Before founding Heyer Performance in 2009, Julia worked with Alain Ducasse, SushiSamba restaurants and Richard Sandoval’s Modern Mexican Restaurant Group. Over the years, she has led the creation, negotiation, design, development and project management of a variety of new ventures. This multi-faceted experience has sharpened her skills and insights for concept development, experience creation, operations management and project execution.
With Heyer Performance, Julia has supported more than fifty food and beverage ventures—from projects 450 to 29,000 square feet in size or fast casual to three-Michelin star chefs. She has assisted clients in feasibility assessments, business structuring, concept development, site selection, brand management, financial projections, experience path development and operational optimizations, as well as business transformations.