Food entrepreneurs, including restaurateurs, are being encouraged to modify their business model in order to stay afloat as patrons shift their dining habits due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Senior Food Technologist, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Treanna Lindo, said that reshaping processes is crucial to surviving the impact of the pandemic.
“Shifting your business model could mean offering takeout or facilitating contact-less, money-less delivery and kerbside pickup as most places aren’t offering to dine. But you have to facilitate people getting your product while adhering to safety guidelines,” she said.
She was addressing the virtual ‘JBDC Biz Zone’ on Tuesday (June 2), under the theme ‘Convenient Catering during COVID-19’.
Miss Lindo said that a comprehensive risk assessment should be done before any changes are made to the business model, which will better enable the operator to deal with any issues that arise.
“Also, ensure that you have stock control, as with COVID there are issues with raw materials. So, consistently check on your available raw materials when creating menus that you are offering during this period,” she advised, adding that the supply of items such as cling wraps and utensils should also be closely monitored.
Miss Lindo said that members of staff should be adequately trained in food health, safety and sanitisation, social distancing, and customer service.
She said that staff should be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) particularly those working in high-contact areas, such as cashiers or hostesses.
Restaurateurs are also advised to ensure that tables are six feet apart and that waiting areas facilitate social distancing.
Miss Lindo further encouraged them to emphasise branding and make use of social media.
“It is important to maintain a social media presence. Use the platforms to advertise your offerings, with regular updates, post customer feedback and provide information on your menu and prices,” she said.
The webinar also highlighted simple, healthy and affordable food options that are convenient, and explored packaging options and considerations for food delivery.
The JBDC Biz Zone is a weekly series of webinars organised by the JBDC to provide business support and advice to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).