By BizVid co-owner, Caz Taylor
Writing to you, as a business person, I suspect you have more question marks than exclamation marks in your plans for maintaining and growing your company in these “COVID-ified” times. In many ways, you may feel that the deck has been unfairly stacked against you and fellow small businesses. Perhaps it has been.
Please allow this brief blog entry to serve as an encouragement. An inspiration. A motivation for you and your organization’s enhanced success moving forward.
Sometimes, the best communications tool is to use examples and stories of others learning to survive and even thrive in antagonistic environments, as we are in. May I draw your attention to a beloved friend of my partner, Bill Gruber, and mine? This person and his “roaring twenties/mafia themed” restaurants, Notorious Burgers, are located in Carlsbad, California. His name is Brian Gruber.
You have likely observed that Brian’s last name is the same as my associate’s last name. Partner Bill is Brian’s father. This relationship puts us in a position to observe, provide video support and otherwise encourage, when possible and appropriate. This relationship gives us firsthand knowledge of the ebbs and flows in a promising business model and the threat of seeing a great idea snuffed out by a debilitating pandemic and less than compassionate regulations.
Bear with me as I present the story and provide a closing “moral to the story” to end this blog. If the “business closing” plague crippled commerce, the seemingly unfair local and state regulations nearly terminally strained the comeback of many businesses like yours and Brian’s.
Brian is one of the most creative and resilient business owners I have seen. As are you. To people like him and you, devastating challenges should really be taken as exhilarating opportunities to give you benefits and approaches which will separate you from the competition and enhance your success, rather than hamper it.
I will give you two examples born by Mr. Gruber and his restaurants. Government mandates to restrict inside dining afforded Brian the opportunity to expand his primary location by enhancing his tables and service to include an outside experience. This was presented to customers not as an inconvenience, rather a benefit of taking their dining experience “to the street,” almost literally.
His second location was within a “restaurant row” kind of a setting named the “Windmill Food Hall.” While the whole restauranteur clientele braced for the impact of COVID restrictions, and many closed down, Brian made lemonade out of lemons, so to speak. Instead of being “grilled” by restraints of COVID and government bureaucracy, Brian’s strategy turned to “barbeque.”
Discovering there were no longer any restaurants in the area offering barbeque, Mr. Gruber altered his menu to command the attention of hungry and cooped up diners. He revisited his menu and marketing approach when he realized he could tastefully corner the “barbeque” market. This decision and his flexibly creative strategy is being met with resounding success.