Ankur Bhatiya & Dilip Rawat, Co-Founders, Clue Lounge and Bar

Ankur Bhatiya co-founded Clue Lounge and Bar with Dilip Rawat, at the age of 30 years. Ankur decided to venture into the path of entrepreneurship when he was pursuing his MBA. Along with Dilip’s amazing Management Skills, both of them have worked hard to make their visions and goals possible.

COVID-19, a virus which once everyone heard but ignored, assuming it as a small virus which will be cured in some time, little did everyone know that it will be turned into a pandemic and will create havoc on our planet. COVID-19 not only took the lives of people but sparked fear and affected millions of business sectors and industries but, the worst affected sector during the past few months was the food and beverage sector, pandemic didn’t spare food business also. When everyone cooped inside their homes, hotels and restaurants were closed, and the world came to a standstill. Fear of going out and eating out restricted people.

In an attempt to flatten the curve government gave strict instructions of not going out, follow social and physical distancing, practicing hygiene and imposing lockdown, this led to a rapid decrease in business revenues. Food and beverage sector had to face huge losses due to their fixed expenses such as rent, food and liquor license, salaries and with no income and continuous losses many employees were laid off from their jobs. Budding entrepreneurs who started their business recently were in strain. But what’s next?

As to take the economy back on track government is slowly reopening industries, and people are starting to go out with their friends and family but, what made them do that? The answer is New Normal by not taking everyone’s safety for granted restaurants, and hotels scaled up their hygiene and safety. Regular sanitization, temperature checks, wearing masks, and following physical and social distancing helped these industries to gain the trust of people. But the journey is still long, and
to attract more people, existing entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs have to form new strategies. Here are a few tips that should be on every businessman’s checklist to scale up their business:

  • New normal– As long as we are unable to find a cure or vaccine we have to adopt a new lifestyle. A lifestyle where a face mask is mandatory, regular sanitization is mandatory and physical distancing is mandatory. F&B industries can redefine their safety protocols and can level up their hygiene practices so that patrons feel safe while visiting.
  • Offers and discounts– Selling something is better than selling nothing. F&B industries have to give special food discounts on food and drinks. It can be either % off or +1 deal.
  • Food delivery– Enjoying food from the safety of home can be a choice for many people; restaurants can offer great deals and can tie-up with some big delivery partners like Zomato and Swiggy.
  • Contactless– Physical contact with anything needs to be avoided. But then how one is going to order the food and can enjoy exotic buffets? The answer is contactless menu and contactless dining. Restaurants can offer QR codes and bar codes on the table, and patrons can scan the code to open the menu to order and pay digitally.
  • Bio-degradable plates and glasses– As people might be worried about eating from plates and cutlery that other people have handled or eaten from. Restaurants can use bio-degradable cutleries as they are for one-time use and can be thrown away once used. Using bio-degradable utensils, on the other side, saves the environment, which will eventually make the restaurant environment friendly.
  • Digital marketing– When everybody locked themselves inside their homes, the use of the internet rapidly increased. Since everyone came to the internet, they discovered a new world of Social Media. Food and Business sector can take advantage of this can turn the curse into a blessing. Advertising on Internet will increase the presence in the market and customers will be attracted with creative techniques of advertising.
  • Theme parties– Since the festive season is around the corner, various clubs and restaurants can organize themed parties on Navratri, Halloween, Diwali, Christmas, and New Year while following the safety guidelines issued by the government.

So, whatever strategy and roadmap a business adapt to step up their game, it must be flexible. Business owners need to keep a check on safety protocols can they have to conduct an internal audit. Regular temperature screening and sanitization must be strictly followed; this will reduce the risk of contamination.

COVID-19 pandemic has given industries severe damage around the world, but looking at the positive side, one can learn lessons from it. Entrepreneurs have got a chance to redefine their business and find new ways to grow their business exponentially.


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