Bars and eating places have been among the many hardest hit by COVID-19 challenges.

Earlier than opening his personal restaurant, Clint Kuskie had labored in nearly each place within the trade you may think about. From bussing tables and bar backing to working within the kitchen and ultimately operating coaching packages and serving as a supervisor within the company restaurant world, he had seen all of it. So, when he and his associate, Gordon Choose (who boasted related expertise) opened Pittsburgh’s Dive Bar & Grille 10 years in the past, they have been beginning their foray into small-business possession on stable footing.

Within the ensuing decade, the restaurant developed a repute for excellent meals, destination-worthy cocktails, a welcoming, upscale ambiance, and, maybe most significantly, top-notch customer support. Their preliminary success allowed them to develop their enterprise, increasing their footprint to 5 places within the Pittsburgh space.

Dive Bar & Grille was firing on all cylinders: The kitchens have been busy, the tables have been full. Then, only a couple weeks after their fifth restaurant opened in Indiana Township, the total results of the COVID-19 pandemic started to be felt throughout the US. Virtually in a single day, enterprise as typical ceased for small companies of all stripes. Bars and eating places have been among the many hardest hit by COVID-19 challenges.

Since then, Dive Bar & Grille has been navigating a fast succession of modifications in state laws and steerage, testing out new enterprise fashions, retaining clients and staff secure, and holding on to as many workers members as attainable. At practically each stage of the method, expertise has performed a key function.

Making a Hybrid Ordering Mannequin

When the pandemic started, the 5 eating places have been restricted to take-out orders solely. Kuskie stated that they had at all times accommodated take out, nevertheless it was a small a part of their enterprise, and a bunch was historically capable of deal with the quantity of orders that got here in over the telephone. Through the pandemic, that modified.

“Our telephone was simply getting hammered. We couldn’t sustain with the quantity of calls,” says Kuskie. “We’d get one telephone name, then one other, after which a 3rd. We by no means had an elaborate telephone system as a result of we by no means wanted it. Now, folks have been getting a busy sign.”

Dive Bar & Grille was capable of rapidly arise a web-based ordering platform, which solved the issue nearly instantly. Kuskie estimates that 75% of the order quantity that was coming in over the telephone shifted to on-line ordering, making the telephone strains obtainable for individuals who nonetheless most well-liked to name in and place orders, whereas additional streamlining the ordering course of for the overwhelming majority of takeout orders.

The shift to on-line ordering additionally allowed the eating places to deal with peak hours higher and allocate assets successfully. By on-line ordering, in addition to third-party meals supply apps, managers have visibility into demand and may even set limits on what number of orders are taken at particular occasions, so the kitchen received’t get flooded with orders .

Increasing Out of doors Eating and Going Digital

Finally the total ban of on-site eating was lifted and eating places in Pennsylvania have been capable of host friends at restricted capability. Nonetheless, because the impression of the virus continued to evolve, so did the restrictions, shifting between 25% and 50% for indoor and outside eating.

To accommodate for the restrictions, Kuskie says, Dive Bar & Grille undertook some key steps. First, they

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