About 100,000 small businesses in the US have closed permanently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant industry has taken the biggest hit. The National Restaurant Association reports at least 3 percent of restaurant operators have gone out of business.
The new normal forbids person-to-person contact, and an intimate environment, such as a local diner or restaurant, can serve as a hotbed for virus transmission. As a result, the jobs of about five million food service workers have been affected. There is, however, a silver lining.
The regulations to dining services did not stop people from ordering and supporting the remaining food businesses. Food delivery has become the lifeline of the F&B industry.
The Rise of Food Delivery
Food delivery has always been an integral part of busy weekdays and weekends. But since the pandemic hit, having food delivered is the default option. Many restaurants and local diners have turned to their home delivery services to stay afloat. Delivery services, powered by handy mobile apps, have seen an uptick in customers. In response to the crisis, they have also introduced contactless delivery.
Grocery deliveries are also on an upswing. On March 15, the app downloads for Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Target increased by 218 percent, 160 percent, and 98 percent, respectively, compared to average daily downloads in February. Some, like UberEats and Deliveroo, have also expanded to delivery groceries in partnership with supermarkets and convenience stores.
Upholding Best Practices
If you are looking to be part of these rosy businesses, keep in mind that although delivering cooked food and groceries run a lower risk of acquiring transmission, they are not hazard-free.
The coronavirus spreads through person-to-person contact; if you are not careful about interacting with the cashier, the guard at the door, or the customer, there’s a chance of acquiring the infection.
So adopt these practices when you start your business:
Keep Your Fleet in Good Shape
The last thing you want your delivery team to experience is a vehicle breakdown in the middle of a busy day. Since your vehicles are integral to your operations, they should always be in good shape. Not many businesses have the resources to purchase their own tire changing machine or tire inflator, but proper cleaning and routine maintenance should do the trick.
Implement a Cashless System
Studies about the survival rate of the coronavirus on different surfaces are still limited, but people should strive to break the chain of infection by keeping hand contact to a minimum. If possible, invest in an online payment system, so you and your staff do not have to deal with possibly contaminated bills.
Create a Contingency Plan
It pays to prepare for the worst. Although your business follows sanitation protocols, a contingency plan — what to do in case one of your employees tests positive — would add an extra layer of security. This would save a lot of time, prevent frustration, and ensure that your business would stay afloat.
The food and grocery delivery sector is lucrative, but these businesses shouldn’t be complacent. To remain profitable, the businesses need to deliver excellent customer service and adhere to sanitation protocols.