Though it is still unknown in many places when non-essential businesses will be given the go-ahead to reopen, that doesn’t mean that steps shouldn’t be taken now.  If you are a restaurant or essential business, if you are planning on reopening “business as usual,” you will not be meeting expectations of most customers. 

Most franchisors and small business owners don’t have the resources to consult with specialists or Johns Hopkins University to help devise a plan.  Luckily, there is a myriad of resources that are available to help.  Notably, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and several state and county health authorities have provided resources for free for employers to begin to put together their plan. 

However, perhaps the most significant resource I have found was provided by Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. I don’t know many businesses that need to plan to deal with crowds and groups as much as casinos do.  On Monday, Wynn Resorts released its comprehensive plan to combat COVID 19 and detailed their health and sanitation plan. This 23-page document provided a template to use to come up with a documented, detailed plan.  Franchisors, in particular, must take the lead in developing a plan that can be rolled out to their franchisees.  After all, it is their brand that will be tarnished if the reopening is fumbled. 

I wanted to put together a list of specific takeaways from the Wynn plan to consider when coming up with a strategy.

1. A Documented Plan

You can bet that this is not the entire plan. Instead, it is the public outfacing plan.  Behind this document are probably hundreds of cleaning procedure checklists, FAQs and training guides for employees, and planning documents.  However, creating this document gives a franchisor the ability to formulate their  strategy and figure out what they need to support it.

I used the Wynn document as a starting point, and from there it helped me determine the training guides, checklists, and franchise owner guides that I needed to create.  The entire document, including training guides, for my much smaller business, came in around 15 pages.

2. Start with the Customer Journey

The Wynn plan documented the journey from the point a customer gets out of a cab to check in to going up to their room in the elevator.  What is your customer journey?  If you run a restaurant, your customer most likely enters your store, stands in line, orders, and then sits at their table to eat their food.  By identifying the customer journey, you have gone a long way to determine where steps may need to be taken.

3. Consider all Stakeholders

While customers are essential, so are your employees. The Wynn guide addresses employee health, safety, and responsibilities.  It talks about subjects such as washing hands every 60 minutes, personal protective equipment, how to clock in, and how to address health concerns and case notification. 

4. Detail Forces Thought

The detail of the plan forces thought about how to handle certain things tactically.  For instance, the plan addresses signage – what type of signage, where is it going to be located, who it is for?  This is just one topic the plan goes into detail on. The point is not to gloss over any details.  If you just say to “hang signs,” most employees or franchisees will take it on themselves to determine how many and where.  Instead, detail it for them.

5. Addresses Physical Distancing

Like it or not, physical distancing is going to be a part of every business and franchise.  That means that you need to figure out how to apply physical distancing to your customers and employees.  The plan provided by Wynn has some great examples of how they will be using distancing and should give you some ideas for your business.

6. Sanitation Policies

There are ten pages within the document that goes through the sanitization of various areas throughout the casino.  There are likely many additional checklists, but the plan gives a high-level (but detailed) plan.  The great thing about Wynn is they have so many different “sub businesses” in the casino that odds are, some of the details they provide will be relevant for your business. Even if the guidelines they provide are not applicable, they will give you some ideas for your business regardless.

7. Topics to Address

If anything, the Wynn plan provides a list of topics that your plan should address, including:

  • Employee and Guest Health
  • Employee’s Responsibility
  • The Guest (Customer) Journey
  • Cleaning Products and Protocols
  • Physical Distancing
  • Department Specific Sanitization Policies
  • Entry Screening and Reporting Protocols

8. Released to the Public

Perhaps the biggest takeaway was that Wynn made available their plans to the public.  What better way than showing people you are taking their safety seriously then to publish your detailed strategy? 

Like it or not, the public is going to want to know what your business is doing.  Despite all the talk fo the government “reopening” the economy, the truth is it doesn’t matter what they do until people feel comfortable coming back to your business.   Providing an outward plan like this goes a long way in building that comfort and trust so that your customers come back.

Like I first mentioned, I used a combination of resources to come up with a plan for my business.  Along with doing outsourced CFO services, strategy, and coaching with franchisors, I also run a business called Monkey Bizness.  At Monkey Bizness, we are an indoor kids playground that offers both open play and birthday parties throughout five facilities.  We have had to close our stores since mid-March and don’t anticipate opening until June 1. 

As part of working with my franchisees and planning to open, I used the resources listed above along with the Wynn plan to create a plan for our business.  We are currently working with our employees and franchisees to finalize and adjust.  However, I thought I would share so that you can see another example.  Keep in mind, there are other training documents, cleaning checklists, and internal franchisee documents that go along with this that are not included.

Krieger Analytics

My name is Matt Krieger, and I am the founder of Krieger Analytics, a CFO advisory partner for small businesses and franchisors.  I am also the owner and franchisor of a concept called Monkey Bizness, in Denver, Colorado. 

During my time as a small business owner, I realized the benefits that a CFO could bring to smaller organizations.  I also realized that franchisors and small business owners didn’t have the need (or budget) for a full-time CFO.  That is why Krieger Analytics is a part-time resource for our clients.  While most think of CFO’s being involved in finance and accounting (we are), I am also involved in so much more.  I partner with my clients by coaching them on strategy, gaining clarity on their business, building efficient and effective processes, and making confident business decisions.  Conversations are free, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me at matt@k-analytics.com.

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