What Have Been the Biggest Impacts of Covid-19 on Your Business?
We asked our newest group of MVP Award winners, “What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business?” Here are responses from five of the 10 MVPs (Most Valuable Performers). No surprise that staffing – finding, hiring, and retaining employees – was the most frequently cited impact from all the MVPs, followed by government regulations and uncertainty.
Anil Yadav – Multi-Brand Leadership MVP
As president and CEO of Yadav Enterprises, he oversees 214 Jack in the Box, 144 Taco Cabana (as franchisor), 75 Denny’s, 75 TGI Fridays, 6 El Pollo Loco, 4 Sizzler, 3 Marco’s Pizza, and 3 Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants, plus a few resorts and hotels. His top five:
1) Hiring and retaining talent
2) So many different mandates and new instructions from the government
3) Decreased profits
4) Supply chain and inflation
5) Unpredictability of the future
Dawn Lafreeda – Single-Brand Leadership MVP
As president and CEO of Den-Tex Central, Lafreeda is a single-brand franchisee who has been with Denny’s since she began as a waitress and host in one of the brand’s restaurants 37 years ago. Today she operates 81 Denny’s, after peaking at more than 100.
There are so many, but I think the biggest has been the uncertainty and inconsistency from city to city by our government officials. We were not able to make our own business decisions. We had very little notice when to shut down – and were told it would be for 14 days, which as we all know turned to months. We lost most of our inventory and we lost our trained employees. Once we finally got open, we were told when to open, when to close, how many people could come in, how close they could be, etc. If someone tested positive, we were shut down again. It is very difficult to run a business with the rules changing daily.
This has also been a very un-level playing field as to what was defined as essential or non-essential, who got to stay open and who had to close. Some got to thrive, like grocery stores, Walmart, Home Depot, and drive-thru restaurants, while sit-down restaurants had to close dining rooms. Some cities didn’t even allow outdoor dining. Small operators got more financial help from government, but it didn’t mean large operators didn’t have all the same problems – only multiplied. We had to make some hard decisions and closed several locations to protect the overall health of the others. When you have a lease that is up for renewal for another 10 years and have no idea when you are reopening, you must make a difficult decision.
Roland Spongberg – Noble Cause MVP
Spongberg is the founder and CEO of WKS Restaurant Group, which operates 126 Denny’s, 86 Wendy’s, 69 El Pollo Loco, 40 Krispy Kreme, and 10 Blaze Pizza restaurants.
The type or design of our restaurants proved to have the biggest impact on navigating successfully through the pandemic. Restaurants without a drive-thru had crushing sales decreases, while those with a drive-thru drove significant sales increases.
Shirin Kanji – Mega Growth Leadership MVP
Kanji is president and CIO of his family business, Impact Properties, which operates 74 Rent-A-Center, 5 Carstar, 3 BurgerFi, 2 Neighborly service brands, 2 Marriott, 1 Hilton, and 1 Hyatt.
As with all businesses, it has been a very challenging period for us adjusting to the operating impacts from Covid-19 across our portfolio of industries. Ultimately, we have arrived at a service model that takes care of our customers and team members to provide each the utmost safety, while also delivering the convenience and experience each expects. This of course is a fluid situation and will likely change in the months ahead. Our senior management team and field-level leaders have done a great job being adaptable and doing the best given the situation.
Glenn and Tina Beattie – Influencer Award for Husband-and-Wife Team MVPs
He is CEO and she is VP of Top Line Restaurants, which operates 45 Denny’s and 3 Bahama Bucks restaurants:
Where to start? It’s never been harder to run a restaurant than it is right now, at least through my career. We are still feeling the effects in so many ways – staffing, supply chain, operations. Our teams have really been in the trenches between hiring and supply chain and ever-changing city, state, and federal recommendations.
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