Mighty Quinn's co-founders and co-CEOs Micha Magid and Christos Gourmos discuss the ways in which the barbeque franchise is preparing for restaurants reopening and why they are excited for the future of the industry.
Although brick-and-mortar restaurants that have been closed for the past two-plus months are finally gearing up to reopen in states across the country, the landscape that greets them will undoubtedly be different than the one they knew before closing. For one thing, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, which means states are requiring a host of new health and safety precautions that will dramatically alter the ways in which most stores operate. No matter what, many consumers will have a new set of expectations regarding how they engage with businesses, especially restaurants. Now, restaurant brands across the industry are coming up with their own unique plan for reopening dining rooms.
At Mighty Quinn’s, a NYC-based barbecue franchise, we are prepared to reconfigure dining rooms in any way necessary in order to accommodate whatever safety rules are required, meet the new demands of consumers and adapt to the changing industry.
Delivery and Takeout Services
As part of the reopening process, Mighty Quinn’s is in the early stages of plans to leverage existing technology in order to make sure guests have a safe and comfortable ordering experience. Since there had already been a meaningful shift underway toward off-premise consumption—delivery, takeout and catering—COVID-19 has simply increased the adoption curve of these non-traditional revenue channels. Delivery and takeout, if not already part of a brand’s business, will become integral for every operator with the exception of perhaps luxury fine dining. Of course, this comes at the expense of traditional on-premise dining, and that will be a huge factor that all restaurants need to consider and adapt to.
Sanitation and Safety Measures
Part of this adaptation will be recognizing that there will be many concerns around sanitation measures upon reopening. Mighty Quinn’s has already put in place new safety protocols for the locations that have remained open throughout the pandemic, from plexi-interaction guards and hand sanitizing stations to contact-free pass off stations. For locations that have not yet reopened, Mighty Quinn’s will implement much of the same tactics. Other precautions include social distancing instructions with floor markings, employees wearing gloves and masks at all times and constant cleaning of all interior surfaces. It is important to implement best practices as advised by the CDC, the WHO, and the NYC Department of Food Safety.
Making sure our guests feel safe and comfortable will be a collective effort, and we'll be working hard to make sure every member of the Mighty Quinn's team implements our safety standards to the highest threshold.
The Future of the Industry
The COVID-19 closures will certainly change the restaurant landscape in our home of NYC, both permanently and temporarily. At the location level, rent costs must come down—they were simply too high and a function of a competitive, oversaturated market. In the city and beyond, brands need to be prepared operationally and financially to adapt to less-crowded dining rooms for at least the next year. The permanent changes will emerge slowly as consumer habits shift and solidify.
As we sit today, on the cusp of a reopening economy, the restaurant industry will see fewer brick and mortar locations, higher unemployment and a community-focused approach. On a positive note, all of these factors are actually the ingredients for what has historically been a recipe for strong fast casual restaurant performance..
In general, Mighty Quinn’s is excited for the future. Barbecue is traditionally something that brings people together—it is meant to be enjoyed in groups. Human nature and the need for interaction will never go away, and Mighty Quinn’s will be happy to be back in a place where we can help accommodate this universal desire.
Like many other restaurant owners in major food cities, we’re hopeful that the “new normal” won't deter diners in the long run, and we remain confident that our Mighty Quinn’s will find a pathway to success based on our proven ability to adapt in response to the consequences presented by the pandemic.