How To Overcome The Covid-19 Challenges In The Hospitality Industry - Your SocialChef

On episode 9 of the Your SocialChef Show, Mark Khoder talked to Tim Kummerfeld, founder and head business coach of Foodie Coaches. And discussed:

How to Overcome the Covid-19 Challenges in the Hospitality Industry

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Interview highlights:

02:06 – The three types of people during the Covid-19
04:41 – Finding opportunities
06:41 – Things the hospitality industry should focus on
14:05 – Becoming the talking point
18:49 – Looking after your mindset

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Mark: Hi, Tim. How are you? Welcome to Your SocialChef.

Tim is from Foodie Coaches, and he is here today to share some of the strategies that Foodie Coaches is introducing during Covid-19. Tim, welcome.

Tim: Mark, thank you. Thank you for having me.

Mark: Not a problem, man. I’m sure you’ve got some massive value to share today.

Tim: But I think it’s been a busy time for everyone in the industry at all levels.

Mark: Absolutely. So let’s get started. What would you like to begin with? We’re going to cover several topics today about how to generate income, standing out, mindsets. We’re going to go through all that stuff.

Tim: Do you just want me to run with this and then maybe you can chime in and ask questions.

So as we’re well aware, the last three and a bit weeks have been chaos for, I guess, the world, but more so the hospitality industry. It’s been one of the most affected sectors out there. I’m not sure how your clients are going, but there have certainly been some things up. Ups and downs the last couple of weeks.

So what we’re finding is that I just want to share some models with you guys and the people who are watching this to understand where the industry is right now and what it’s going to look like, because this isn’t going to fix itself next week.

It’s not going to fix itself next month. This is going to be long term, a long term play. So are you happy for me to maybe share my screen and draw a few things out? And you know, rundowns, right?

Mark: Go for it. Go for it, Tim.

The three types of people during the Covid-19

Tim: Alright. Let’s see if we can make this work, share screen. Right. All right. All right. So what we want to start talking about first is we want to understand where the industry is going to go. So.

Just call this as our timeline. And right now, we’re here. And this thing isn’t going to fix itself quickly. I think we’re going to see signs of this around for a long time to come. So we’re not going to like 12 months. At least. We’re talking about this is going to go on potentially longer.

Now there’s going to be three types of people. There’s going to be people in here that they do nothing. So what do we mean “they do nothing”? They might just switch to a delivery model or take away. They don’t do a lot around social, cause you know.

And I’m sure you said that some people don’t know about social at all. They don’t promote themselves. And eventually, over time, it’s going to happen is they’re slowly going just to keep down and down and down. And they’re going to end up exiting the industry, or they’re going to be in a far worse position than where they were started. Right?

Now, the next top of people, these guys, it’s going to be the guys that pivot. They take action, and they’re just, they’re going to get through this. They’re not going to go broke. They’re not going to go out of business, but they’re going to get through.

But they’re not going to be in a better position than what they are right now. They’re not taking the opportunities that are in the industry, and they’re just really going to sit here. And in twelve months, they’re in the same spot, maybe backwards a bit, perhaps the same place, but they’re going to lose twelve months of their life there. Do I make sense?

Mark: Yeah. That’s right.

Tim: So where we won’t wait, where we were never on the bay and certainly where we’re positioning our members right now is on this green line. And these are the guys who are taking action, and they’re trying to make the opportunities that are coming in the industry. Now, I know what some people out there are going to be thinking is like there are no opportunities. The industry is hurting right now.


But where you see a massive ton of change, there is always an enormous opportunity to present itself; it just takes a little while to find it. So this is where we want to be, we want to be the people who are taking the significant actions, the big making, the big plans, making the most noise, and they’re trying to find the opportunity to what’s happening in the market.

Finding opportunities

Mark: So do you want to talk a little bit more about that? How do you find opportunities, and how do you maximise the opportunities?

Tim: Yes, it’s an excellent question. So the thing is, what’s happened over the past three weeks is people escape it very quickly into a delivery or take away more. And everyone’s out there singing a straightforward song. What a lot of people in the industry are missing right now is they’re missing why people come to their venue. And the main reason why people come out is the social or the experience that they get.

So your food is your food, and it’s an essential part of your venue. And a lot of people lose sight of the customer experience. But it’s customer experience. It’s the way the venue feels; it’s the way the seat sounds. The way the place smells. It’s the waiting staff.

It’s who they’re coming to see who was there. And, you know, what are they doing there? What are they celebrating? So as we’re in this lockdown phase, what we’re going to see is the communities that we’re going to lose face to face touch connection, which is what all hospitality has brought to, I guess the world for thousands of years. And we’re losing them.

So where the opportunity is, comes down to experience. And how can you take your knowledge from inside your venue into a takeaway, delivery or an online platform? And that’s where people need to start thinking right now is like, how can I build a second revenue stream?

What experience do we used to offer, and how does that work? And there’s a number of different areas which we’re working with. I guess our lead mastermind members are at the moment, which I can share with you as well.

Mark: Yeah, go for it.

Things the hospitality industry should focus on

Tim: I might feel free to jump in on any of those areas as well. So, you know, at the moment, there are three areas that people really in this industry want to be focusing on.

The first one is they want to protect, ok? They want to protect; then they want to pivot. And then this is your thing. Then they want to promote. So the first thing that people want to be doing right now is they want to be protecting the profit.

And, you know, the last three weeks we’ve seen people closing down, getting rent reductions, cutting expenses, doing a whole heap of different things for the venue. But this can go down further.

We can start looking at product offerings. We can start looking at how the customer is experiencing food? What else can we add? Can we lift the average customer spent? What item shouldn’t be on the menu? The list goes on; the profit is a big one. So we want to protect our profit, we want to protect our asset, what we already have.

Then. What we want to do is we want to protect ourselves. So there’s a lot of noise out there at the moment, there’s a lot of things on TV. Our staff are hurting, our family potentially hurting.

And it’s in that situation; it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And I’m not sure how you found the last few weeks, Mark, but, you know, it’s almost like every time you turn around, there’s something else that goes on. There’s something else that happens. Is another client suffering?

Mark: That’s right. It’s nonstop.

Tim: It is nonstop. Right. And that gets to you after a while. So the biggest thing that we want to do is we want to stop protecting ourselves, because if we can’t, you know if we’re going to look after others, we need to look after ourselves. Makes sense?

Mark: Makes sense.

Tim: Now, the next thing that we want to do is we want to be protecting our brand. Now, in hospitality, not everyone and not every business is in a position to move into a delivery or takeaway model.

And there’s I feel like there are people out there that a delivery or takeaway model isn’t in line with their current brand and they need to be thinking about, well, what do I want my brand to look like long term? What is going to help increase our brand, and what’s going to help, I guess, decrease your brand, as you would say that, right?

Mark: That’s right.

Tim: Yeah, cool. So that’s what we want to protect and to protect our profit. We want to protect ourselves; we want to protect our brand. Now, the next part of what we’re working on with our guys is optimising our offer. So we want to optimise whatever product offering is.

So it’s in line with our brand, and we’re maximising our profitability. And when I say that it’s like, you know, do we need to be doing menu changes, or you know, there’s a lot of people out there at the moment, industry who are struggling to get produce or the produce costing is out of control. So, you know, how can we be optimising our life to increase our profitability?

Then we want to talk about a venue strategy. So what strategies do we have as a venue to be gaining income? So a couple of examples of this, Montrachet in Brisbane. They’ve moved to a delivery model, and they have done phenomenally well on it. The number of orders has gone through the roof, and it’s just because I’ve done something different.

They’ve done a takeaway model where you go home, and you can cook it yourself. We’ve had other members who moved to, you know, 14-day excellent dining meal plans where every three days they get fresh produce delivered ahead with wine.

And then also training videos on how to cook different things. Almost like a hello fresh bar but a local one. The last couple of weeks, we’ve seen in some venues, you know, really triple their delivery and their pick up revenue just by getting smarter.

And these strategies are. So what strategy we’re going to run. And then we talk about streamlining. So we want to streamline operations. Now, this is a lot of things that people are already doing, but we want to get tight on, you know, how can we make this new job keeper, the stimulus package work for us?

How can we if we’ve got multiple venues, can we shut one venue down and move everything to one location and do everything out of that one location? What can we do? A random opening times? Can we squeeze the opening times down? And if we do have staff there and we’re quiet, can we be working on another revenue stream?

Mark: So and then what about logistics and operations? Taking orders and delivery and all of that.

Tim: Hundred percent. A hundred percent, you know. And as you’re aware, like, you know, what’s our online ordering system like, can we be optimising that and streamlining it to get the biggest average customer spent?

And that’s a trial and error thing, right? You’re in marketing, you know, the first thing you do never f*cking works. And the sooner you learn it, the sooner you can move on to something else, right?

Mark: That’s right.

Tim: So that’s his pivot piece. Now, the next part is promoting. This is what people need to be talking to you about. The first thing is, what we talk about is engage. Now we’re talking about engage with your community. So people are like, oh, yeah.

I’m struggling enough myself, and I don’t have time to do this. We’ve seen members go out and, you know, cook 170 meals for people who just lost their jobs that way. We’ve seen members that have gone and that had spare produce, and they’ve gone and given it away to people who need it. So this is the time to give back.

This is a time for the industry to step up and be leaders and start helping the community around them. And the venues that are doing well are the venues with this huge community following, and that’s come about from the last few weeks. Makes sense?

Mark: Yes, yes.

Tim: Because people don’t remember what you give them, people remember the way you make them feel, right?

Mark: That’s correct.

Tim: Yes. So the next part of standing out from the crowd. Stand out, should have run out of room here. My pen’s too big, a small problem. Ok. So we want to stand out from the crowd. What I mean by this is that you know, if we’re moving into a delivery or take away model, can we do it in a manner that is going to create us being a standout?

Are we just being like, oh well we got takeaway home meals here, or are we doing it in a way that’s going to promote us? Right. You know, what’s your marketing strategy? How are we doing this?

Mark: That’s right.

Tim: Cool, and banging up the Facebook posts of your meal in a plastic container is not standing out from the crowd, yeah?

Mark: That’s right.

Becoming the talking point

Tim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All right. And the last thing is, what we want to do is we want to become the talking point. Now, this is the most important.

Mark: Let’s talk a little bit more about that.

Tim: Becoming the talking point?

Mark: Yeah.

Tim: So this becoming the talking point is the area where we want to be focusing on. To shift our experience from the venue, to bring it out of the venue. And we want to become very, very innovative, innovative with this. So that is going to be strategies like QR codes on takeaway containers or delivery containers. And a might have a video of the chefs talking about that dish or how they made it or, hey, enjoy your night.

It could be you know, we’ve seen handwritten notes on takeaway packages saying “thank you for supporting us”. It could be, you could be that fine dining restaurant that packages up, you know, a meal paired with a wine. And people can book a zoom table and turn up, and you’ll have your chef teaching people how to cook.

And then you can have your wine caring person to come in and talk about the wine going with the food. We need to become the talking point of the community again because we’re no longer the gathering point. So where the industry needs to be aware, is that we become the gathering point because we always had been standing by then, we were almost the talking point. Now we’re not a gathering point anymore, and people are looking for another place. That to be, and this is really important.

Mark: And I, sorry for interrupting you here. There’s one point I’d like to raise. It’s one thing being a talking point or changing your message or introducing an offer and doing promotion and marketing. But what I found is some people, they get it wrong in some critical places. So if you’re trying to promote a new offering, let’s say your take-home meals.

If the message, the branding, the tone does not stand out in a way that inspires people to come and buy it from you, then you have a problem because they might end up buying it from somewhere else. So oh yeah, this is a great idea. The place down the road does this.

I’m going to go and get this from there. So you have to figure out how you’re going to communicate that message or this offer. So you get the audience, your audience or your community come and support you, not just inspiring them to just get it from somewhere else. That’s, that’s where a lot of places get it wrong.

Tim: One hundred percent. And that’s why having this in line with your brand and then engaging in the community. So when you do become this talking point at all the lines and then you get the support. So you can do something cool, but if it’s off your brand, and you haven’t been engaging, people are going to be like, oh, yeah, that’s cool. That’s a bit weird. Why are they doing this? But if it’s all along with your brand, it already fits. You know, you’re in marketing. Do you get it?

Mark: That’s right. That’s right.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So this is what we’re rolling out with our late Mossimo and guys, and we’re seeing some innovative things and some great results starting to pop their heads out of the mix there.

And we’re just about to launch Covid-19 case study, which is a 12-week program to hold everyone’s hand, and from an industry point of view and stop dragging them in, that’s going to cover off on all these items.

Mark: That’s brilliant, man. Well done. I love your work, guys. I do. This is why we got this call today.

Tim: Now. You had a few more questions? Do you want to run for any of them?

Mark: Well, obviously, we’re at a point where the hysteria is coming down now. And we’re getting a clearer picture of where we are today, that you take action or you’re just out of the picture.

So, yeah. Some mindset, maybe talk a little bit about mindset, and making sure the current environment is not affecting, you know, your decisions and end up ending up making the wrong decisions, yeah?

Looking after your mindset

Tim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So this is a fascinating one because when there are massive times of change from a humanity point of view, you go into a fight or flight mode. And certainly, you’ve seen a lot in the industry that like tapping out or been there, going and fighting.

But then no one’s stopping and thinking about stuff properly, and when no one’s sitting down to get a plan. And, you know, never everyone’s suspense, putting a plan together over the last three weeks and not sure how you fit it in your business. But certainly now, as we’ve shot a whole heap of content videos, which are irrelevant by Friday. Because everything can move so quickly, that’s out of control.

So looking after your mindset, there’s a couple of things that people need to do. And number one, when we start talking about looking out for a mindset, we need to focus on ourselves. So we need to be removing the outside noise.

And, you know, you turn on the news, we scroll through Facebook, and then someone else is talking about stage four lockdown, and New Zealand’s not opening back up. And then their friend over here heard this. And then, you know, such and such.

Who lives in Europe? This is happening over there. And, you know, it’s just all noise. And people get into this mindset of, like, I need to see the sound. You don’t need to know the noise. You don’t need to know what the fuck’s going on. All we need to know is what’s happening right now because that’s what you can plan for. So number one is blocking things out.

Number two is you want to get focused on what’s good for you right now. Now, you are hearing stories floating around where people are keeping their team on and, you know, they’re holding all the team on the ship, and the ship’s going to f*cking sink at some point.

But they’re like no, I need to look after my team because I looked after me. The thing is, is that there’s no point in you lining up in the dole line beside your team when it all goes to shit. So sometimes being a leader, you need to make the tough, tough decisions, whether or not they’re bad for some people and good for others.

You need to prepare them for the good of the team. And what you need to be doing right now is making the time and the decisions that are going to preserve your asset and your business moving forward. And whatever you need to do, do that, no one’s going to judge you for it if you communicate it well.

Mark: That’s right. Coming to peace with reality, see it as it is. And then act accordingly. That’s where a lot of people is not doing that today.

Tim: And certainly people have progressed down this way. But if you’re sitting here listening to this right now and you haven’t worked out your bottom point, your lowest point.

What happens if you lose your business? What happens if you lose your house? What happens? You know, at the end of the day, once you know what your bottom is, then you can work up from there because you’re going to remove the fear of the unknown.

Mark: That’s right. Tim, thank you very much for your time today. Is there anything else you would like to add before we log off?

Tim: Probably, my only thing to add right now, is now is not the time to be going through this by yourself. Now is the time to be surrounding yourself with functional leaders and good other venue owners. Now is the time to surround yourself in a community, so you’re not going through this alone.

Because something that’s going to take you two days to figure out, I’m sure there’s someone else in the community that’s already done it. So get a community, get together and make sure that you are leveraging other opportunities. And this is the time we need to be worked on yourself and your business to capitalise on this situation because there’s so much opportunity right now.

Mark: Talking about community, you guys have a community yourselves, Foodie Coaches. And I believe if anybody needs mentoring or coaching around this situation. You guys are the perfect solution at the moment.

Tim: So it’s so. Yeah. So we’ve got the hospitality owners group, which is a free group that we run outside the member-based community, and we just really monitor, we keep the advertisers out of there, of course. And then we’ve got it also our members in our member communities.

And this Covid-19 response program that’s coming out, which I can give you a discount code for. So any of your followers or clients that want to join we’re happy to offer 50 per cent discount on that, and we can go from there.

Mark: Yes. Well, once this live video is over, you can perhaps put in a link in the comment section with the code and then that will help a lot of people to find the connection straight away.

Tim: That can will shoot it up.

Mark: Wonderful, man. How else can people get in contact with you if they have any questions?

Tim: I have Facebook, Instagram, website, telephone. Can’t come to the office, just online.

Mark: That’s what it is today.

Tim: Mate, just the standard one, yeah.

Mark: Not a problem. Tim, thank you.

Tim: Thank you, my man.