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How can I continue my business as a restaurant owner/caterer in spite of COVID-19?


The Belgian government has imposed the closure of restaurants, cafés and caterers since Friday, March 13 at midnight.

This announcement is a heavy blow for the whole sector, which did not need a new crisis that would undermine the efforts already made recently.

However, there are ways to keep your business open despite the current closure conditions, which Health Minister Maggie De Block confirmed. "In the meantime, takeaway orders and deliveries are still possible," she wrote.

This is a great opportunity to redirect your focus on takeaway orders and home deliveries.


What do you need to plan ?

First, check whether you can create a bigger potential customer base in your location. A tool like the City of Brussels Neighborhood Monitoring offers a relevant analysis on the subject.

If your neighborhood is suitable for delivering food at home or at the office, get started right away


Is your company not in a suitable area ?

Solutions exist at a lower cost through shared kitchens that offer you an à la carte service and rates per hour of use. You can try out this service quickly and low-risk. In Brussels, there are two addresses that offer you this service.

  • BeCook! for the Downtown and North zone of Brussels.

  • Co-oking which serves the West and South zone of Brussels.

Adapt your recipes

Not all dishes are suitable for home delivery. For example, a plate of meatballs with tomato sauce will better withstand a 15 minute-transport than a steak with French fries and a salad. Select the dishes with care that are best suited for delivery.


Comply with regulations

The FASFC wants business owners to comply with the applicable regulations for takeaway and delivery.

Make sure to have as little time as possible between collecting and delivering the meal and use suitable transport bags or crates.


Transport

If your customers are close to your establishment (max. 15 minutes), they may be able to reach you on their own. If this is not the case, you will have to organize a delivery service, either with your own staff or with independent deliverers


Communication

Use all the channels at your disposal: customer email list, Facebook, Instagram, posters in your store windows. Share as much as possible. Your customers support you, so it is important that they know that you are continuing business.


The plateform

If you don't have your own ordering platform, which is the case for many company holders in this sector, you have the choice between system D, using your establishment’s phone, or the transition to existing platforms: Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Takeaway. The implementation is very fast.


Packaging

Quickly go to packaging suppliers to get the containers you need for home delivery. Stores like Ava, Clavie or even Metro can provide you with some.

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