Evolve Series Preview: Switching Back to Crisis Management

For many, delivery pays enough to provide funds for staff. Others have found their concepts are thriving under this model. Tune into Questex's Evolve series on Monday, Dec.14, 2020 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST to learn more, and join your fellow industry members who continue to fight for their livelihoods. For additional details and to register for the Evolve series, read the story below. ( Restaurants and Bars COVID-19)

Four hundred years ago, English settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock late in the year in 1620. Here they were in a New World with little supplies, shelter and relief options available to them. In several ways, this is not far off from the daunting winter on-premise owners, operators and staff members are facing. With the next stimulus bill continuing to be held up, the hospitality industry remains out on its own with restrictions being levied with little aid to accompany it. Sadly, almost half of those original settlers didn’t make it through. Restaurants and bars are facing similar survival numbers with over 120,000 permanently closed already, according to the latest reports.

Our Evolve series was due to visit Seattle, Wash., which has faced the pandemic longer than anywhere in the United States. With gathering restrictions and a sharp increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations, we have moved both the location back to virtual and the focus on crisis management. Here’s a quick preview of the speakers and experts we have gathered to help stave off these survival numbers.

Forging New Paths for Revenue
Liz Kenyon is the executive chef at
Rupee Bar, Manolin and the recently opened Old Salt pop-up concept. After facing the pandemic, civil unrest, wildfires and now shutdown 2.0, she gives honest insight into how they have found a way to grind through the tough times. Learn her top three takeaways from making it through this year from leadership, pop-ups and mental fortitude.

Legal Matters
Dining rooms are shutting down across the country and in some extreme cases, even outdoor dining, leaving only delivery and takeout as an option. This is requiring staffs to be laid off and let go again. Many legal teams across the nation have reported their discussions with operators typically focus on three main topics: renegotiation leases, reviewing bankruptcy options and employment litigation. The last point is the most avoidable for operators, and Lee Jacobs, chair of the Employment Practices Group at Helbraun Levey, has been seeing this far too often. Staff that once felt like family are out of financial options and are suing their former employers for wrongful termination as a potential source of income. As such, Jacobs will walk through what owners need to ensure they are following proper procedure when letting staff go and how to put steps into place to avoid this from happening in the future.

Crisis Communication
When the alarms are sounding, it is up to leaders to keep their teams engaged and focused on what can be done. Otherwise, the doubt and anxiety can be debilitating, leading towards a downwards spiral. One of the best of the business in PR and communications is Hanna Lee. Her and her business partner, Michael Anstendig, work with the world class operators in the one of the most challenging cities in the world, New York City. Lee and Anstendig are going to share the secrets to how they get their clients to earn the media’s spotlight. This much needed press can help drive sales to make it through the winter and pay dividends in 2021.

Being Brilliant at Delivery and To-Go
For many, delivery pays enough to provide funds for the staff. Others have found their concepts are thriving under this model. This means bars and restaurants have to change their menus, concepts and operations to what is allowed. We’re bringing in award-winning and celebrity chef, Brian Duffy, who is going to review menus live and redesign them for takeout models. Furthermore, we have long time industry consultant, John Hogan, who is going to lead a holiday happy hour and give ideas on what cocktails to add to your beverage menu. With everyone offering cocktails to go, having unique options that have a mixture of seasonality and glamour can make your venue stand out.

When DoorDash IPO’d, it was clear how much of a behemoth it is with a market cap of more than $60 billion. At that threshold, only McDonalds and Starbucks have a larger valuation and bigger than the combination of Chipotle, Yum Brands, Wendy’s and Cheesecake Factory combined. Figuring out how to drive sales by understanding shifting consumer trends during a pandemic is why we brought in the renowned Brandy Rand, COO of the Americas for research group IWSR. This updated market report is guaranteed to make you more aware on how to fine-tune your business offerings to maximize sales from each guest.

The Evolve event covered in this article took place on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. To register and join your fellow industry members at additional upcoming Evolve events (now through April 2021), or to watch the Evolve series on-demand, click here.