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Welcome back to our series on modeling innovation in your crisis response plan. By this point, you have a pretty good understanding of anticipating needs as well as idea generation and mobilization from our first post, #ThinkForward and #DriveChange: The Intersection of Innovation and Crisis Response. That post covered stage one of crisis response and innovation, which in summary are the very first steps into obtaining new, valuable ideas for building a crisis resilient business. This is a great starting point, but keep in mind that not every concept you come up with will be ideal or viable. Because of that, it’s now time to tap into the second stage of this process.

The Second Stage 

In your crisis response plan and innovation mission, you should have a set of ideas that you want to take to the next level. When it comes to crisis response, this stage is all about mitigating the impact of the crisis on your business. In order to properly mitigate the effects, your best ideas need to be pushed forward. 

Advocacy and Screening

This is where advocacy and screening from the stages of Innovation come into play. It is the critical step that helps you analyze and evaluate each idea, measuring it for its potential and drawbacks to see if they are worth the effort to execute.  The goal here is to make the right call that can benefit the business and optimize growth. Based on the data you collect, it should give you a better understanding of how powerful each idea is and what it can do for your business as a whole. If the cons outweigh the pros in the end, then it is a transparent indicator not to implement that particular idea and go back to stage one again.

Covid-19 Factors

  • The Rise of Digital Media – With the current crisis, digital platforms for brand awareness, product distribution, and two-way engagement with your customer base are king. 
  • Mandates, Guidelines, & Regulations –  Many states have instructed businesses to cease in-person contact during this pandemic. As an example, 19 states have mandated that restaurants close their doors to dine-in service.

Example | The Restaurant 

Let’s say you are the proprietor or manager of a restaurant, someone who is able to make sound decisions regarding the business’ future. Your doors are closed, but you are still offering take out and curbside pickup. While business is good for takeout, it could still be better. You and your team have a variety of ideas for increasing business further, without advocacy and screening you’re hanging your hat on trial and error which is not an efficient system for success and leads to confusion on initiatives among your team members and customers.

Pros and Cons

In order to sustain your business, you need to implement ideas clearly and communicate any operational changes effectively. You and your team have come up with ideas and have advocated for those you think are the best. Now is the time to screen those ideas for their pros and cons and determine which to implement.

Idea | Expanding Brand Reach through Digital Channels

Pros

  • Meeting your customer’s needs for easy access to your hours, menus, and policies 
  • Creating more opportunities to engage with your customer base
  • The opportunity to easily communicate and promote your other initiatives 
  • There are free options via social media platforms and low-cost local options for listing services that fit into your budget

Cons

  • Time cost and effort to set up listings, social media pages, and posts.
Idea | Partnering with Delivery/Online Ordering Apps such as GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats, and ChowNow.

 Pros

  • Access to your loyal customers without putting their health at risk
  • Multiple available 3rd party delivery platforms that you can place your restaurant on so you don’t have to create your own delivery model and hire drivers
  • Online ordering further expands your digital reach

 Cons

  • Time cost to get set up on the platform
  • Systems adjustment to accept their ordering schema
  • Less revenue per order due to commission on delivery orders to the platform
Idea | Sending safety “love notes” with each order to remind customers that their health and wellbeing is at the forefront of your mission. 

Pros

  • Reassures customers that you are taking disinfecting and health seriously
  • Allows a simple way to promote your health and safety standards with each order
  • Adds a personal touch, and makes your customers feel valued

Cons

  • It might prompt more people to ask questions about your new requirement redesigning. This may or may not be favorable during busy nights.
Idea | Pop-up Services and Theme Nights

Pros

  • Themes can center around carnivals, fairs, picnics or other community events that are not currently able to occur and fill a gap that customers are craving that would otherwise not be served
  • These types of initiatives will drum up specialty interest and can drive revenues during what would normally be slower business times
  • These types of specials will set your restaurant apart from the local competition.

Cons

  • Increased planning needs
  • Adjusted product needs
  • Minor organizational changes for pop-ups and theme nights.

Choosing the Best

As you can see, there are several types of ideas to tackle crisis-related problems for both large and small restaurants. On the surface, each of these ideas may sound feasible. Breaking it down, however, you might find that the benefits are not worth the cost in the end. This is why you have stage two, to comb through those ideas and weed out the ones that look good initially, but will not play out very well when put into practice. 

With that being said, join us next week where we will dive deep into the third stage.We’ll discover how it ties into those we’ve already explored as well as how it sets the core foundation for the last two stages and the best innovative idea results. And to list your restaurant or easily find all the restaurants in your local area all on one site, visit The Local Chew!

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