The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped entrepreneurs in their tracks. While many companies tragically went out of business, some entrepreneurs were able to pivot their brand overnight to accommodate the changing scenario. Entrepreneur Trevor Fey shares with us the strategies of five brands that were able to successfully alter their business model and preserve their enterprise.
- Union Square Hospitality Group
USHG CEO Danny Meyer is a career restaurateur that has shaped fine dining in America. He has founded several noteworthy restaurants in New York City and launched Shake Shack into the continental United States. But the pandemic has been particularly harsh on the restaurant industry. Meyer shut down all of his restaurants in New York after the COVID-related death of his longtime business associate and chef, Floyd Cardoz. Since then, Meyer has adapted his restaurant model to keep his employees healthy and safe. Among other things, he has implemented frequent testing and contact tracing at his restaurants. Fey believes that he is also an outspoken advocate for federal restaurant aid.
French cycling brand Ekoi transitioned its business to cater to the online world. As most people were home-bound with no access to the gym facilities, Ekoi stepped in to offer their biking equipment. They focused on digital marketing and offered online classes, hosted by professional athletes. According to Fey, Ekoi was successful in this transition because they were able to offer their customers something they needed during the pandemic.
- Red Roof Inn
When people don’t travel, they don’t stay in hotels. The entire hospitality business took a huge hit, thanks to the pandemic. But with more and more people working from home, the hotel chain Red Roof Inn came up with an interesting solution to make money. If it is hard for you to work at home (too many distractions, poor wifi, etc.,) you can come to work in the hotel. With incredibly cheap daily rates, Red Roof Inn found an innovative way to still rent out rooms during the pandemic.
- The Pantry
Seattle’s favorite culinary classes used to be in-person cooking parties. After learning how to make a delicious meal from a trained chef, all participants would sit down and break bread together. Due to the pandemic, The Pantry was forced to find a way to take its business online. Using live stream technology, the instructors guided the attendees to make their tasty concoctions remotely. And they would answer your questions in real-time. According to Fey, The Pantry’s innovation is second only to their delicious recipes.
- 20 Front Street
Do you miss live music? According to Fey, 20 Front Street is the next best thing. Even though this Detroit venue could no longer host guests in person, they wanted to bring music to the people. So they invited their scheduled artists to play on their stage, and the venue hosts recorded the performance for free streaming. Participants have been encouraged to donate while watching, so that 20 Front Street could still make some money. “One great thing about this idea is that now, you can tune in from anywhere in the world,” said Fey.