Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
How will the trucking industry’s challenges affect you?
How well are your suppliers managing the growing shortage of truck drivers around the country? Your knowledge of their strategy could determine how much of a pinch you feel from pricing spikes in the months ahead. Forbes reports that after 2017 saw the greatest shortfall of truck drivers on record, the American Trucking Associations estimate that there could be 174,000 unfilled driver positions by 2026. A poll of shippers, carriers and brokers by Morgan Stanley found that trucking costs are likely to increase 6.4 percent on average this year. The strength of the economy is only making the problem worse by increasing consumer demand. As a result of the constraints facing the industry, restaurants are likely to experience delays in food deliveries, inconsistencies in service in general and pricing increases. To help, industry operators have proposed relaxing the driving age to 18, offering higher wages, loosening regulations on electronic hour logging, recruiting more women and eventually adding driverless trucks to fleets, according to the Forbes report. You can put your restaurant in a better position to weather the challenges in the meantime by maintaining open communication with suppliers so you can anticipate when and how the effects of the driver shortage will trickle down to your business.
Ready, set, crisis
In the restaurant industry, preparing for expected challenges – ingredient pricing fluctuations, guest complaints, staff turnover – is difficult enough. But you also need an airtight plan to manage the unexpected, particularly as extremes in weather become more common. According to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, only 40 percent of businesses that experience a disaster resume operations afterward, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that almost 75 percent of small businesses do not have a disaster plan. Upserve advises restaurant operators to have a crisis management plan that achieves these criteria: It reduces or eliminates negative impacts on your business, including your sales, traffic, earnings, etc.; it protects or improves your image with guests, key stakeholders, employees and the public; it helps you resume operations as quickly as possible; and it limits your competition’s ability to capitalize on the event. To prepare, review your insurance plan with your broker and consider different scenarios to understand the limits of your coverage. Make sure you have an up-to-date inventory of your food, supplies, equipment and technology. Create a crisis management team comprising your most trusted staff, marketing, public relations and human resources personnel, and perhaps your attorney. Have the group draft a risk assessment plan, along with a communications plan that helps you steer through a crisis step by step and outlines roles and responsibilities. Conduct a mock exercise each year to test your plan and make sure you have assessed your risks thoroughly.
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