CBS's Zagor Lays out Plan for Restaurants Recovering from Covid Pandemic

August 27, 2020

As the world slowly starts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and companies begin to re-open their doors, restaurants need to take a hard look at how they do business, according to Stephen Zagor, Columbia Business School (CBS) professor and restaurant & food industry expert.

“You really should think of your restaurant as a manufacturing business,” he said during the webinar “The Future of the Restaurant & Food Industry - A Business Perspective,” hosted by the Santiago Center and co-sponsored by Chilean tourism federation Fedetur and the national gastronomy association, Achiga. “All food businesses are manufacturers: you’re sourcing ingredients and purchasing them, your kitchen is a manufacturing business, your chef is head of manufacturing, and then you’re distributing through waiters and waitresses, via internet or delivery.”

“It’s all about process, people and relationships, and how do I make it work in this really negative time?” he added during the event, commented by Fedetur president Ricardo Margulis and moderated by the Santiago Center’s Chris Molinari.

According to Zagor, the future is in cost control and logistics. In order to best address issues brought on by the pandemic, he recommended simplifying the menu to focus on the best sellers that can be prepared in less time, standardizing as much as possible, forming purchasing collaboratives with other restaurants, and negotiating fixed costs.

All the while keeping in mind that the restaurant’s focus should be on the customer experience: “It’s all about creating an emotional bond with the product.”