Whether one thinks Coronavirus or COVID-19 is the world’s next epidemic or another disease on a long list of illnesses that have come and gone in recent years, we can all acknowledge the impact it is already having on the restaurant industry.

Here are four ways that Coronavirus is affecting the restaurant industry.

1) Fewer people are traveling

With recent travel bands, many have become cautious about traveling outside of the country, into the country, or even to other states. Consumers are also staying in where outbreaks have occurred, avoiding being in large public gatherings. While this definitely helps prevent the spread of the virus, it also damages the economy. It means fewer consumers are out shopping. And eating (Coronavirus: Restaurants struggle amid fears of outbreak, February 18, 2020).

With fewer guests going into public foodservice establishments, sales have decreased in some areas. This trend may continue as travel bands continue and the spread of the illness gets worse.

2) Fear causes prejudice

History has shown that fear causes people to indulge in illogical behaviors. This is certainly the case now. As people have been misinformed about the virus, they have assumed that the Coronavirus has something to do with Chinese food, Chinese restaurants, and people from China (Eating Chinese food in the age of coronavirus, January 30, 2020). This, however, is completely untrue.

While the virus is believed to have begun in an open market that was serving bats, we believe it would be safe to say that your average American Chinese restaurant is not openly slaughtering and preparing bats for their customers. So, consumers are more than safe to be dining at Chinese restaurant within our country that serve chicken, beef, fish, etc. Chinese food was not the cause of the new Coronavirus outbreak. It was most likely practice of eating disease-carrying bats (Experts think bats are the source of the Wuhan coronavirus. At least 4 pandemics have originated in these animals., February 10, 2020).

We should not rush to conclusions that because the virus originated in China that somehow anything with the word "China" in it is related.

Similarly, Corona beer has seen a decline in sales (Why people are confusing coronavirus with Corona beer, February 28, 2020). Whether this is because of people being misinformed and prejudice or because it’s the winter months is yet to be determined.

3) Mandatory quarantining

Some areas have imposed required quarantining of potentially infected people. One Jewish community that was exposed through a customer has been forced to send most of its staff home to wait out the 14-day incubation period to see if they have it or not (Coronavirus triggers closures, mass quarantines for New York Jewish community, March 3, 2020). We may see this happen to more restaurants as time goes on and the spread of the illnesses continues.

4) Late shipments

Because we receive so many goods from China, and they have imposed a quarantine on their workers, we are no longer receiving items in quite as timely or efficient a manner. Coke Cola even came out that it would impact the production of their diet drinks. Other diet drinks could also be affected since China is the dominate country where the artificial sweeteners are made (Why the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Stall Diet Coke Production, February 26, 2020).

Diet drinks, however, is just one example. Other manufactured goods may also be impacted. How many, only time will tell.

Another reason for shipment delays are the demand for items outweighs the supply. We have seen this with soaps, hand sanitizer and other such items. It may become hard to get the items that you need to ensure your restaurant is running smoothly.

What You Can Do

What can you do as these four things impact and continue to impact the restaurant industry?

1) Offer delivery

By offering delivery, you limit both your staff and guests contact with people and potential exposure to germs. Customers have continued ordering delivery throughout this crisis and it is quickly expanding area of the food service sector. While we don’t always recommend jumping onto bandwagons, this could become not only a convenient source of extra income but essential for the survival of your small business.

2) Stock up on what you can

We are not suggesting you go buy the entire stock, but we do suggest that you be prepared. Get the additional non-perishable items you will need to continue to run your business.

3) Have a plan in place

Plan your response if quarantining employees becomes necessary for your restaurant or city. Will you have the funds necessary to pay employees throughout the 14-day incubation period? Are you willing to close your doors for as long as the city deems necessary and how long can you survive without being open to make sells? These are tough, but necessary questions.

We recommend that you come up with a plan for how to face any type of disaster whether it be Coronavirus or a natural weather disaster.

4) Stay calm and keep customers informed

Whatever we may face in the days ahead, it is imperative we stay calm and learn as much as we can. Keep yourself informed about what’s happening in the supply and restaurant industry, in your own city or local area, and what the safest practices are as recommended by the CDC.

Once you have the information you need, keep your customers informed of what they need to know. For example, let them know when and if a quarantine becomes necessary, what items may not be available due to late supply shipments, or why your Chinese restaurant is safe to frequent. Keeping customers informed can reduce the chance for prejudice and misinformation to be circulated.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Our Sales Team is Always Ready to Help

Call: 888.778.4815

Email: sales@deqonline.com