Thanks to warmer weather, longer days, and the easing of some health and safety restrictions, there is a greater sense of optimism and renewal after months of extremely tough business conditions. Parramatta cafes and restaurants have reopened, with operational arrangements based on the latest health advice and the government’s Roadmap to Reopening.

The Roadmap to Reopening also has provided valuable momentum, with many local business owners developing promotions and building strategies so that their business is equipped to meet an increase in demand.

We can see that plans for the future of Western Sydney are significant, and Realise Business Advisors and the TfNSW teams are working in partnership with Parramatta businesses to set them up to take advantage of growth opportunities.

Realise Business advisors can partner with you to develop sustainable plans that cater to changing conditions and future opportunities.

Restaurants and cafes gearing up

While experiencing extremely difficult conditions this year, many local restaurant owners have used this time to review their operations thoroughly to become more competitive, robust and flexible.

A timely review of the critical areas can help food and beverage establishments in Eat Street and other parts of Parramatta which are operating at reduced capacity after the lockdown to still make a profit.

An operational audit is an opportunity to examine the business and its operations and clarify what is coming in and going out, so you can bring down the cost of goods and services (COGS). Your findings could flag new opportunities. For example, your business can take advantage of lower rents to open an additional site such as a ‘pop-up’.

C.O.G.S audit is an opportunity to record all your detailed ingredients and recipe costs and then review them. Look at your existing suppliers and where costs can be saved. The audit will provide in-depth details that will inform your business model and enable you to fine-tune your recipes. On average, conducting a C.O.G.S Audit can lead to operations savings of up to 6.5%. A savings of even 5–10% at this stage will add up greatly over time.

While Delivery platforms and packaging options have enabled many businesses to adapt during the pandemic, careful research on the effectiveness of delivery platforms and packaging is essential. For example, pivoting to takeaway and home delivery has increased the demand for disposable cups and plates. Rises in packaging costs and high commissions paid to delivery platforms should be monitored. Bringing delivery in-house or making a good choice in who you work with and why can save a lot of time and money and improve your menu’s overall consistency. A delivery and packaging review will also help you understand which menu items work best for you.

Reviewing New menus and recipes will indicate where savings could be made and how different items might contribute to easier service and attracting more custom. Factor in food trends relevant to current conditions, including using local produce and seafood to avoid overseas supply chain disruptions, basing recipes on foods that boost health and immunity and highlighting these food values on your menu. Purchasing lots of fresh ingredients and keeping them in stock can be costly and especially tricky when customer demand is unpredictable, so try shorter menus based on a targeted range of ingredients to save costs. Another popular trend is to add related grocery items to restaurant offerings.

A customer service review should focus on retaining and attracting customers as dining establishments move out of lockdown with staggered re-openings. Assess how your establishment encourages contactless technology, family-friendly dining, outdoor dining and customer feedback while delivering a warm and hospitable experience. Stay aware of how the pandemic has changed customer behaviour and build trust in new practices. Ensure customers know about your opening times, new menus or changes to how you operate.

Here is a great example from John Belvedere’s Facebook page:

Food safety and WHS safety review – Realise Business advisors can help you access an easy-to-use template you can tailor to your business, including NSW Food Safety Codes 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. 

Covid-19 plans and protocols – Currently, Sydney bars and eateries are reopening at reduced capacity, with progressive stages linked to NSW reaching its vaccination targets. Keep viewing the NSW government website to stay updated on health and safety guidelines and adjust your establishment’s Covid-19 measures. If you have a hospitality business, the NSW Government has produced this handy guide for the hospitality industry. Returning customers will be trusting that you have taken steps to safeguard their health.

Research into restaurant industry responses to the pandemic has shown that it is important for restaurant owners to keep trying new things and making adjustments. For more information on outdoor dining, read on. For ideas about planning new directions for your hospitality or small retail business, see our articles on The Positive Pivot and Getting Ready for a Busy and Safe Christmas.

Taking up outdoor dining

Pubs, restaurants and cafes are subject to changing restrictions which may include different rules for indoor and outdoor dining. Recently, for example, with indoor dining one person was permitted per four square metres but for outdoor dining it was two square metres – so it pays to review your outdoor dining space. As restrictions ease, business will be ramping up, so be ready to take advantage. If you haven’t yet organised your outdoor dining licence, Realise Business advisors can help with outdoor licensing managed by Parramatta Council.

If your restaurant or cafe business is located in the Parramatta Light Rail corridor, it could be the right time to focus on your outdoor dining potential. Until 31 December, the council are waiving outdoor dining fees to businesses in the CBD along the Light Rail Corridor.

See the City of Parramatta website for more information about outdoor dining applications, regulations, fees and special free Outdoor Dining trial offers that may be available to businesses in the greater Parramatta area. 

Good advice leads to consumer confidence

Realise Business Advisors can work with you to develop plans and strategies that save costs, make customers happy and take advantage of government incentives. They can help your business develop messaging for your website and social media channels that will attract customers to your business, setting you up for future profit and growth. Book your free advisory session today.