THE FUTURE OF RETAIL FOOD BUSINESS
The Covid-19 Virus has now drastically changed our style of conducting business. Future development of business activity will be sketched very carefully by commercial developers.
No longer will we see, shopping malls, strip malls or any business connected to each other. What we will see is more drive thru's because right now the only safe place to venture out leisurely is through our cars. Family members, cleanliness and containment.
Gone will be the days of going to our local strip mall and shopping center, strolling through the aisles and shopping for necessities and just browsing. We're told to make a list , get it and get out. I would figure the whole experience is very stressful. I admit it myself. The more time spent in an enclosed building the higher the chances of being infected with the virus. Needless to say workers are very concerned restocking shelves with merchandise all day.
The mere expense of protecting the customers and workers, wipe downs, cleaning constantly, putting up plexiglass safeguards may not be enough. Having employees check customers in by making sure carts are wiped down thoroughly or just offering an acknowledgement to us, "welcome" All these precautions are tangible items that we see and do but the concern is the virus is invisible, so how can we control or eradicate and virus we cannot see?
Current retail business the mom and pop business that's considered the backbound of our economy, no matter what anyone says is in a dilema. Their actions trying to encourage people coming into their business will be a tough task moving forward, the expense of discenfectants, wipes, temp control, liability concerns and Worker's Compensation by their workers, expensive lease agreement operating at 50% capacity is adding to stress, sales are already lowering their margins further.
He's my idea, Tlet the state government purchase a small strip mall, contraxt bid to developer that can offer suggestions on how to convert the strip mall into separate unattached drive thru entities while minimizing costs and advising merchants that downsizing their business without inside dining using the space just for inventory and 100% of carry out and lease agreements adjusted accordingly will reduce expense sanitizing in a way to reassure patrons, expense of disenfactant supplies, cutting square ft and thus cutting lease payments drastically. and allowing for an option to design an area for outdoor dining in compliance with state regulations whether its 6 ft social distancing, utensils are prepackaged, no sharing of condiments, disposable cups and remote ordering with less human contact with staff or calling ahead of time to reserve a seat and offer credit card for reservations within a 15 minute window. Most times we go shopping and we want to grab a bite to eat, this part will be a major adjustment change to our life style by planning a few minutes ahead of time.
They say our state government officials take actions that affect their citizens of the state. Well, this pandemic is affecting their citizens and if not controlled will leae our loved ones in dire straits, so I offer the following in terms of how state revenues can be generated. A very small minority of citizens object to business closing but the majority of citizens follow what our governors are saying. And that a great thing!
1. Governors, it fine time to take a position of leadership. You were elected to manage the state and its people to prosper and be their leader in times of crisis. Well, Covid-19 is your crisis and take action responsibly! Leadership is my #1 priority for this November. If they haven't shown this quality, bye, see you later.
2. Take the position through whatever order and DEMAND that facemasks must be worn. In enclosed institutions and business, MUST BE WORN. Outside, everyone must carry a facemask and mini sanitizers for situations where social distancing is not possible.
3. Enforcement must be instrumental by issuing citations and penalty. No advance warnings because PSA's (Public Service Announcements). On the spot payment, 50% of people have cash or credit cards or debit cards. If they don't, the penalty will be doubled.
4. Contracts between developer, business owner and state officials must be greed upon so every entity make a fir profit and ultimately th entrepreneur will have a good profit margin but there will be alot of compromise. Landlords, I can understand your investment in commercial properties and I'm sure a lot of business has folded. You still have to pay for that space, now if you had a business that doing well and struggling, will you make adjustments or force a entrepreneur to close because they can't afford the rent or lease?
Greedy is a bad word right now when we are all in this mess together.
5. Cost should be low compared to states spending lots of money inefficiently and their dependence on the Fedeal government will be low.
6. Those on unemployment. You need an immediate way to work. Unemployment will tide you over for awhile, protected in your home but what can be done to generate a job. By having your exployer in the food related business prep their business, you may get a call back. While you have a job, take the position of looking ahead for a better position. It's always easier to get another job when you are currently working. But employers will be more understanding or should be because of this pandemic. Prep your self for an interview, ask a friend to help, key into some questions always be positive, assertive and focused. Remember, you'll be competing against college grads with no experience, older people, so they will be looking for someone that stands out. What activities do you do outside of work that your good at? If you love for example yoga, maybe offer Zoom classes, you should incorporate or become an LLC. If you have a passion for something, people will know and more apt to join you. Unfortunately, now is the time to reevaluate your skills and where do you want to go in terms of career, interest. Don't be stuck in a rut!
As you can imagine, I am completely and utterly bored. My business offering cooking demonstration has ground to a halt, adjusted by offering Zoom cooking class but now its Summer and interest in cooking class in Summer is slow at best. Tours are at a standstill, everything else where I had potential is at a standstill but hopeful with time, everything will get back to some sort of normalcy. In the interim, always thinking about new ways to be this pandemic with innovation ideas.
I'm still a restaurant critic but have changed temporarily to supermarkets and their pre-packaged foods and restaurant pickups and take out.
Stay safe, wear a mask, wash hands for 20 seconds and practice social distancing and tune in occasionally for new insights. Hopefully, I'll have a class at Harford Community College for on line classes!
By Chef Woo Can at www.chefwoocan.com