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Together With Chefs

Interview With Restaurateur Martha Hoover

Patachou, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana

Restaurateur Martha Hoover

Photo via The New York Times

We had the pleasure to connect with Restaurateur Martha Hoover on IG Live and hear how her restaurant group, Patachou, Inc., is approaching an ongoing effort for resilience and recovery in Indianapolis, Indiana, from setting up strategic systems to feeding 4,000 children in need a week. Thank you, Martha, for sharing your ideas with us!

Here are a few of Martha’s tips:

  • Think of your restaurant as an ecosystem comprised of staff, customers, community, finances and environment.

Balance the impact of every decision against the need for each component to stay healthy and productive.

  • Use the talent on your team to divide and conquer a response plan.

Patachou allocated responsibility for items like sanitation and seating capacity so that each item could be addressed in its entirety with its own plan and protocols in place.

  • Be transparent, open and honest in your communication to staff and customers.

Martha and her team share updates throughout every stage of their decision-making. Staff stays informed as to what is happening and exactly why it is happening, and the customers and community know about the efforts being made to keep everyone safe and secure.

  • Talk to colleagues and seek information both externally and internally in order to stay informed so that business decisions are as data-driven as possible.

Martha watched what was happening in Europe and Asia, talked to colleagues across the country, and reviewed internal sales numbers and data in order to anticipate a mandatory shutdown before it happened. Now she is doing the same with reopening, and plans to hold off on opening dining rooms until at least 75% capacity is allowed.

  • Be smart and strategic in reopening, and focus on playing it slow in order to do what is right for your business.

In this scenario, there is no prize for being the first, but there is a reward for being sustainable.

  • Define your culture and expectations, and lay the groundwork for long term support systems.

When you are in crisis mode, it is difficult to create systems and programs. Patachou lays out a 10-point rule book along with mechanisms of employee support which have become pivotal in weathering this crisis.

Watch the full interview for even more inspiration and actionable ideas.

Connect With Us @corto_olive for even more industry tips and stay tuned for another installment of our #TogetherWithChefs series!