“Look after your teams, invest in technology, keep planning.”

There’s no doubt that the food industry was greatly affected due to COVID-19. Sadly, during the first few months of the lockdown, some establishments had to close some of their branches to either cut down on costs or stay alive – not to mention that dine-in isn’t an option.

Fortunately, after a few months, safety guidelines were made and establishments started to reopen. Want to know how they’re up to lately?Luckily, we got to talk to Mikkel Paris, the COO of the famous pretzel chain, Auntie Anne’s, as he shares the team’s journey during this challenging time and tips to come out it stronger.

Auntie Anne's COO Mikkel Paris

How Customers Can Do Their Part To Help Establishments

Since establishments have certain guidelines to follow, customers should also do their part by showing empathy towards retailers and following safety protocols like wearing their face masks, face shields and observing social distancing. Mikkel adds, “If your orders are not as quick as they used to be we just ask for some patience and understanding. Please be assured that we are doing our best. And I speak on behalf of most retailers; it’s not just Auntie Anne’s.

Invest and Prioritize Employee Welfare

Mikkel highlights the importance of prioritizing employee welfare. Since there were no public transportation during the early months of the lockdown, their employees had a hard time coming in to work. With this, Mikkel decided to come up with a bike subsidy for them so they can report to work safely. He states, “We always invest in our people and looking after them. So when this was happening, our main concern were the employees.

Auntie Anne's Blueberry Nuggets
Photo from Booky

Advice and Business Recommendations

Mikkel’s advice for business owners is to plan far ahead, to find ways to adapt, and to embrace technology. He also encourages other owners to be helpful to one another by sharing insights and tips from their experiences. Lastly, to quote Mikkel, “Number one piece of advice I always tell everybody is look after your team. Hold your team’s welfare at the forefront of everything, of all of your decisions because once you have a happy and safe team, everything will flow. A lot of the great ideas that we’re coming up with now, how we’re adapting, how we’re surviving, are coming from our team.”.

Check out the full interview we had with Mikkel below!

The pandemic has brought about new and unique challenges that many businesses are currently facing and we hope that our Business in The Time of COVID-19 series can help you and your team navigate through many of these obstacles. You may follow our LinkedIn page for up and coming discussions with other business leaders in the country.