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Restaurant Technology Network Kicks Off COVID-19 Workgroup


Nearly 300 restaurants and vendor companies participated in the Restaurant Technology Network’s (RTN) first COVID-19 workgroup call on March 18. RTN work groups are virtual think-tank-style meetings bringing restaurants and suppliers together to tackle crowd-sourced topics.

The COVID-19 call united restaurants and vendors to share industry news, and any best practices or emergency resources to help restaurants keep business afloat during unprecedented times. From COVID-specific offers and resources, to discussion around pick-up, delivery, packaging and top concerns, the workgroup took shape clearly. And everyone agreed the calls are valuable enough to hold weekly. 

Hospitality Technology announced it is collecting information on how technology suppliers are providing immediate and actionable support to the restaurant and/or hotel industry. These might include an extension of credit terms, no-cost implementation or consulting, creative new offerings around evolving business models, and any other immediate and relevant support to assist industries in distress.  Vendors can submit their relevant solutions here

For example, Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats have all announced small business relief.  OneDine is suspending fees.  And  Toast has launched a grassroots initiative, Rally for Restaurants.

Numerous restaurants, - ShakeShack, QDOBA, McDonald's and Starbucks, to name a few -- are closing their dining rooms and where possible pivoting operations to a delivery only or to-go only model. “That type of innovative approach is what we are going to need to make it,” said Brian Pearson with Stacked Restaurants. “Restaurants that were planning for POS upgrades now need to retain as much capital as possible.  If not, the result could be the restaurant closing down.”

Fred LeFranc with Results Thru Strategy, is launching a free video series to showcase best industry practices, such as how to convert into a delivery only or pickup only restaurant. 


How Will Food Handling Change?

Restaurants asked each other about best practices.  Robert Notte from MOD Pizza, pointed to contactless delivery, which is happening more aggressively. Domino’s and Dickey’s Barbecue are among the restaurants that have announced contactless delivery, where the order is dropped off without the customer and driver interacting face-to-face. 

Tamper-evident seals too are increasingly becoming the norm.  


To Furlough or Not?

Unfortunately, many restaurants have had to eliminate staff.

Skip Kimpel, of 4R Restaurant Group, shared how one GM asked employees, "’Do you NEED to work or do you WANT to work?"  Quite a few team members stepped up and said they wanted to work but could cut back on their shifts. This gave the GM the opportunity to keep those that really needed to work the ability to do so and keep food on the table and the lights on.”

Others are taking advantage of the downtime to train and develop skills. Steven Elinson from AWS said some of his customers are using the down time to build skills to drive change - for both in-store and above store team members. “Investing in skills development has never been needed more,” he stated.

To listen to the entire RTN COVID-19 workgroup call, click on the link below.

To join the next RTN COVID-19 workgroup call, sign up by clicking to the link below and filling out the quick form. These calls will be open to the industry for a short time; then, we ask suppliers to officially join the community to join us, contribute and share ideas with our restaurant members.

For additional information, reach out directly to Angela Diffly at [email protected] or 404-550-7789. Or connect with Angela Diffly on LinkedIn or Twitter @RestTechNet.



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