It’s extremely apparent that The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the restaurant industry, with businesses adapting to new safety measures, limited dining room capacity, increased costs for PPE equipment, supply chain issues and global cost increases.
All of these activities and expenditures were necessary to ensure employee and guest safety. To help offset these expenses, many restaurants introduced Covid-19 related fees which are often added to guests’ final bills. While these fees were once necessary to keep businesses afloat, it is time for restaurant owners to reconsider the practice and look to adopt a guest-first business philosophy and model. Stacking and passing along credit card fees, insurance fees, mandatory gratuity, and artificially increased costs leaves the customer holding the proverbial pandemic doggie bag of increased prices.
At CHC, we have adopted a guest-first approach with every decision we make, we ask our team “is this good for the guest?” and if the answer is “Yes” we move forward with a clear and concise direction. In our business model…restaurant owners should be looking for ways to reduce costs and pass on any savings to their guests. Rather than charging additional fees that may or may not be necessary, owners should focus on investing in their product, their staff and the guest experience.
Post pandemic, we believe that our customers deserve great food, excellent service, and a welcoming atmosphere. Restaurant customers have been sequestered and on the losing end of the dining experience, by having to order delivery or togo! Now that we have the ability to service our customers, this should be the top priority! Deliver amazing service at a reasonable price and guests will be much more likely to return because they feel valued and appreciated.
Blatantly passing costs on to the customer does not make them feel valued, it makes them feel like they are only a means to a financial end. That they are only needed to ensure that there is a positive input on the P&L, not that they are an appreciated partner in your restaurant. When you think about it, the customer is the most important partner you can have!
There are many ways that restaurants can reduce costs without sacrificing quality or service. For example, owners can focus on streamlining their operations, reducing waste, and negotiating better deals with suppliers. They can also invest in technology to improve efficiency and reduce labor costs. By adopting a more sustainable and efficient business model, restaurants can continue to provide great experiences for their guests while remaining profitable and competitive in the long run.
In the end, customers are becoming increasingly aware of the added fees that are being charged by restaurants, and many are unhappy about it. As we move forward, it is time for restaurant owners to re-evaluate the practice of charging Covid-19 related fees and focus on delivering great value and exceptional experiences to their guests. By doing so, they will create a loyal customer base that will keep them coming back for more.
Ultimately, our guest-first philosophy is why we have such a loyal customer community and continue to bring more restaurant concepts to market to satisfy their need for great people, great food, and great ambiance!
Angelo Eliades – Founder and President CHC Restaurant Group