This year has been unlike any other years past. The pandemic and social distancing have changed people's lives...at least for the short term. It has also changed the way people do business and how customers interact with your business. Many of our customer are thriving in the second half of the year despite getting off to a slow start. If you're still waiting for the season to turn the corner, then don't fret. There's still time left and we're going to show you how you can make the most of it by extending your ice cream season.
It's been a tough first half of the year and in order to transition out of the worrying phase and into the cash flow positive stage, you'll need to make the most out of the second half of the season. Obviously, we can't predict the future and tell you what is going to happen this winter with the pandemic. But as things change from day to day, we are certain about a few things - and these few things will help you squeeze every last dollar out of this remaining season.
Take advantage of the warm weather. For the past several years, in the north east United States, the average temperate at the end of October has been 65°. Though that's unusually warm for that time it doesn't mean people have stopped eating ice cream because it's October. The late warm weather, gives you an opportunity to stay open later in the season. This year, many of our customers are extending their season past the date where they would normally shutdown. The extended fall season will make up for the shortened spring season.
Fall Schedules...or should we say lack of fall schedules. Because of the pandemic everything that was normal in Septembers past, may not be the norm this year. Some schools may not go back to school at all or may mandate a hybrid of school and home learning. The point being, the kids (as well as the adults) are going to be home more often. Fall sports may or may not happen at all or resume to the level they once were - people will be around more. Summer vacations and travel plans have completely changed for most people. Getting on a plane to fly somewhere or hopping in a car to drive to another destination just isn't happening. As travel continues to be affected well into the fall, people won't be leaving the community as much, which means you should be seeing an uptick in your business.
Adjust schedules, stay efficient. There's no telling how long the covid situation will last so there's no way we can tell you how long you should remain open this season. This will be up to you and the data that you collect. If it gets to the point where it's not worth it to stay open because of the numbers or cash flow, then obviously the season is over. However, there may be some inefficiencies that you can look at to streamline costs. This includes adjusting your hours or the days you're open. For example, you notice the most of your business happens between Thursday to Sunday while Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are slow. If that's the case, just remain open from Thursday to Sunday and close the other days. You can also make adjustments to your hours. Maybe you open an hour or two earlier in the afternoon since the kids aren't in school avoiding that 3 o'clock after school rush. Bottom line, if it costs you more to stay open then you're making during those hours...it probably isn't worth it.
Staffing Opportunities. This is a great time to hire, fire or re-hire the right staff. Since schools and universities may not be going back this fall, it could be an opportunity to find the right person to run your store or help you manage it. Extra help may be available with local students that won't be in a classroom this fall. If you are going to stay open it doesn't mean you need to use all of your time being at the store itself. Take advantage of some extra help out there if you need. This season has been a grind - get some help if you need it.
With people being home more this fall, they're going to need an escape and want to get out of the house. Ice cream provides a destination and an inexpensive treat for the whole family. So, if you combine the community being stuck at home, combined with the need to get out, mixed with warm weather you have a recipe for continued success.