Be ready to reframe your future because when you get there it probably will not look the same.
We all go through storms or tough times, some caused by our own decisions and others, we just couldn’t avoid. It’s important to not lose faith during the storm trusting that you can learn, adjust, overcome, and grow because of the storm. And equally important is not creating a second storm that is worse than the first.
Do not run away from this storm, but rather stay, become flexible and work your way through it.
Operators in every segment including independents and chains may face new unpleasant realities with revenue, financing, staffing and operating models. Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters that temporarily devastate a city or region’s foodservice industry, the road map to recovery after this massive global pandemic has yet to be developed.
When this ends, you need to be ready to hit the ground running and be optimistic and in better shape than ever. You might want to start with your product knowledge and product training, paying attention to things that you may have neglected during the past four or five years during the economic boom.
During the shutdown, many people have used efficiencies such as videos for conference meetings and for training with team members. Face-to-face meetings with your customers have been pretty much on hold, but there might be an upside for both you and your customers in becoming more comfortable with doing business remotely and gaining new efficiencies for both sides. When we come out of this, I think the foodservice distribution industry will be much better versed in using visual technologies plus customers will be much more accepting of them.
Forced changes in work habits will lead to new efficiencies that may change how business gets done post COVID-19. Those who continue to invest in technology and efficiencies probably will come out the other side of this stronger and with some new best practices. Make sure you and your customers are part of that.
Most likely when the industry does come out of this, it will look a lot different in many ways. The number of operators and job casualties will be shockingly high, but those operators able to hang on, change direction, innovate, and re-emerge will be back in business with game changing lessons learned.
DSRs and the operators with “staying power” will survive and come back stronger and smarter, helping one another.
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