COVID-19 Update V. 31.0 – Wednesday, May 20th 2020

BY Administrator

2 years ago

In our concerted effort to keep all Mellow Mushroom owners, operators, and store-level leadership updated through such uncertain and trying times, the following is a continuation of FAQs regarding COVID-19 and current topics within the Mellow Mushroom brand. 

Please be on the lookout for multiple weekly update communications as the ever-changing COVID-19 developments continue hour by hour. 

If you have any questions or comments related to the information below, please email for a rapid response. 


As many dining rooms are now open in most states, and some states are increasing seating capacity to as much as 50%, these changes are bringing higher sales volumes and more people into your restaurants. Increasing numbers of people in your building means planning for safely managing guests in waiting, whether for a table or a called in To-Go order. Marking floors in the lobby for social spacing is a start. Using your text-based paging system allows guests to wait in the safety of their cars, takes this to the next level. An additional advantage to encouraging guests to use the Online Ordering platform is that Curbside pick-up further helps to mitigate the need for people to enter your building. 

Recent InMoment feedback indicates some locations are not adhering to advisement nor have an active plan for guests within their bar areas. Marking floors and removing bar stools will help with spacing. Still, bartenders and managers must continuously monitor the number of people in this area of the restaurant as guests want to SEE safe Social Distancing requirements in place and in use.

The active use of PPE (face masks and gloves) by all Mellow Mushroom managers and team members is a standard set in place by HGI at this time to assist in the safety of both the guest and the team members. Last week, InMoment guest surveys were amended to include questions on PPE usage, the use of single-use or contactless digital menus, and whether COVID fighting sanitizing is occurring. Early feedback indicates ongoing continuous sanitizing is an essential step for guests to feel secure by being able to SEE safety practices happening. As a reminder, the standard for COVID sanitizing is to have a team member on every shift whose specific role is to sanitize touch points throughout the building constantly. Touch points are any surface that a guest or team member can come in contact with, including – front door handles, POS screens, countertops, seats, bathroom doors, menus, highchairs, etc. 


All 50 states have started easing restrictions and are partially reopening. Below are the latest benchmarks for the following states. Continue to monitor your state for updates on local regulations, restrictions, orders, and guidance. Each jurisdiction is on a different timeline regarding the expiration of orders and the reopening of their economies.

North Carolina
Based on Governor Cooper’s three-phased approach beginning on Friday May 22nd, restrictions are loosening on dining rooms to allow 50% dining room capacity or 12 people per 1000 square feet.

Beginning on May 22nd, Kentucky opens its dining rooms at 33%. It is also one of the states that requires employee screening.

Continuing May 25th as part of Governor Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana: Stage 3, restaurants are allowed to continue operations at 50% capacity, however bar seating continues to remain closed until Phase 4 of the plan.

This week, Ohio goes from outdoor dining only to reopening dining rooms, requiring the following of social distancing practices and limiting parties to no more than 10. Also announced was the assembly of an enforcement team to ensure bars and restaurants are operating safely under the plan.

Look out for another announcement as the Safer at Home order is set to expire on May 22nd, look for an extension or further loosening of restrictions.

Are You Ready for the Changes?

As mandates get lifted and the orders themselves begin to age into their next phases, the rules governing dining room capacities and allowances are expanding.

This means a different level of planning for the day-to-day, and the flexibility of Mellow operations will be tested. The success can be affected by a ton of factors, from employee availability to food delivery timing, as well as product availability.

As with manager meetings and pre-meal discussions, remember the Three P’s:


  • Adjust your schedules for an increase in Dine-In traffic.
  • Make sure in-times are accurate; now is the time to concentrate on being ready for every shift, as guests in the dining room have different expectations than To-Go/Curbside guests
  • Schedule your best people. Attitudes are everything during a stressful time, and your most hospitality-driven staff members will help to ease a lot of worry for you, the guests and the other members of the Team.


  • Make adjustments on food orders going into the weekends. We are not back to normal by any means, but dining patterns at least will begin to return to normal. 
  • Adapt to the restrictions. With food vendors going through the same crisis as the rest of the industry, your delivery options may still be limited. Make sure that you are looking ahead to the next delivery on every one you receive.


  • Sanitation practices have to be on display. Don’t just look like we are taking care of the place, walk the walk. Clean, disinfect and sanitize everything.
  • Empower a member of the staff to keep up sanitation practices, handwashing and social distancing guidelines.

Many guests will just be relieved to get out of the house. Still others are bringing a heightened sense of what to expect from the entire industry, and not just Mellow. As they return to us, be ready to deliver on those expectations.




As restaurant dining rooms are officially scheduled for a reopen date, HGI is deploying reopening POP kits to each scheduled location. The contents of each kit are outlined in FAQ editions 24 and 25. Kit materials include the following: table tents, box toppers, box topper stickers, letterhead pack, floor clings, and an exterior banner.

There are so many pieces to the reopening POP.  How do I know what to use? We created an implementation guide to help you navigate through which piece of POP goes where. It is available via the below link and you can ask your Business Coach for a copy as well. Your Business Coach will also send you the UPS tracking number for your POP kit.

Dining Room Reopening Implementation Guide


HGI has received notice from many operators that there is a need to host an additional menu ordering window for those that may not have participated in the window hosted in March, or find that they need more menus for the coming months of business. For this ordering round, we are opening both the To-Go menus and the Catering menus for order.

As outlined in previous FAQs, menu costs are substantially lower when we can collate orders among the system versus ordering individually on an as-needed basis. When reordering menus in this window, we encourage you to plan for the next 60-90 days. The next To-Go menu opt-in window will be in August/September of 2020, so it is recommended that stores utilize this order opportunity to ensure that you have enough menu inventory on hand for the duration of the next 12 weeks. 

To-Go Menu Pricing
The maximum cost for the To-Go menus is $0.66 each. With more participation, costs can drop to as low as  $0.20 each. To-Go menus can be ordered in packs of 500 menus at a maximum cost of $0.66 per menu, or $330 per pack.  *Please note that final pricing will depend on the level of store participation.  The more menus ordered by stores, the lower the cost per store! 

Catering Menu Pricing
The maximum cost for the Catering menus is $0.83 each.Catering menus can be ordered in packs of 100 menus at a maximum cost of $0.83 per menu, or $83 per pack. *Please note that final pricing will depend on the level of store participation. The more menus ordered by stores, the lower the cost per store! 

Menu Window Open Dates
The order window for both To-Go and Catering menus opens this Friday, May 22nd. The window will close Friday, June 5. 

All orders are placed through MenuNet 
Menu Order Delivery Estimate
All orders will be delivered no later than June 24, 2020.


As many of us are working towards reopening or have recently reopened our dining rooms to some capacity, it is our responsibility to ensure both our team members and guests are in a safe environment.

Refresh all returning team members and provide all newly-hired staff in safe food handling and sanitation standards with a free ServSafe Food Handler online course and assessment.   

For a limited time, through May 31st, ServSafe and the National Restaurant Association are offering a free ServSafe Food Handler course available to all restaurant team members.

For more information or to register CLICK HERE


Reusable Face Masks Option? 

Contact Threds at 865-525-2830 or visit their website at They are now offering customized options.

Disposable Face Mask Option?

Currently Imperial Dade has disposable face masks readily available to ship directly to your location. Orders can be placed with credit card by contacting Hayley Stephens at 678-322-4501 or

  • Pack size is 50 each
  • NEW LOWER PRICE – Price is $45.50 which includes shipping

Infrared Thermometer Option?

TriMark has infrared thermometers available on their website. Reference the newly added PPE category. 

The thermometers have arrived at the TriMark warehouse TODAY! They are repackaging them and shipping them directly to locations who placed preorders. Shipments might be slightly delayed with the holiday, however, should be received by early next week.

If you have any questions or need to adjust your order then contact Katie Bauman at

How can I get hand sanitizer?
Option #1 – Ecolab has the following LIQUID Hand Sanitizer available for anyone interested. Note that your Ecolab account needs to be current for the order to be released. You can contact your Ecolab rep directly to request any outstanding invoices and to make payments.

Please provide as much notice as possible but no less than 4 business days to allow processing and transit time. 

To order email

Option #2 – TriMark now has inventory of this product available and has it listed on the website under PPE.  This is a liquid sanitizer. Please note that other sanitizer options and sizes might be pictured; however, they are not available at this time. They are correcting this on the website.


PFG will be operating under their normal routing schedule. If orders come in heavier or lighter there could be some slight time adjustments on some specific routes.  

Regarding NPC, the following NPC produce distributors will be CLOSED on Memorial Day. All impacted restaurants have been notified by their local produce distributor. If you have any questions, contact your local produce distributor or Monica Johnson at If you are not on NPC, please reach out to your local distributor to see if you will be impacted by holiday hours.


  Memorial Day is this coming Monday, May 25th. We have curated a collection of patriotic social assets that can used to honor this holiday, as well as post about your location being open for occasions like patio use, in-store dine-in, and online ordering. These assets should also be saved and used to honor and celebrate future upcoming patriotic occasions, like the 4th of July. 

CLICK HERE to download Mellow America Social Posts


Have you checked out the new Mellow online ordering platform? This week we made a change to the Mellow ordering home page. Guests will now be prompted to allow geolocation or manually enter their address when they visit Once address information has been auto-populated or manually entered, the closest Mellow locations will appear on the page for the guest to select their preferred location for ordering. This new flow will enhance the user experience on the ordering site and decrease potential for guests to select the wrong Mellow location.

Before Geo-location:

After Geo-Location:



  • DO remember to adjust OlO store hours for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend if needed.

Additionally, any changes to operating hours should also be made to any other digital platforms and Third-Party vendors you are currently using. You may update your hours of operation in OlO by selecting the Settings tab, and then Store Hours. (Don’t forget to click SAVE!)




Employee #555 in most cases. To view orders or make adjustments should only be viewed from the OlO Dashboard.
Logging into the Aloha OlO Employee will cause the following:

  • Failed orders
  • Scheduled Orders will not fire to the kitchen
  • POS Errors
  • Impacts on the guest’s ability to place orders
  • DON’T perform a checkout for the OlO Employee code. 

If you need a to refer to tipping data, you may retrieve that information via manager access to the OlO Dashboard in the Reporting tab:
Select Sales and Orders > Under Report Type, select Store Breakdown – Closed Orders > select your date range > then select Generate Report.
When the report generates, you’ll see a notification under My Reports. Click the report to download and open in Excel. The total for tips is found under column “J”.

  • DON’T clock out the OlO Employee code.

The leading cause of failed OlO orders is directly related to the misuse of the OlO employee in Aloha. The OlO employee (ID# 555 in most cases) should NEVER be clocked out, should NEVER have a checkout performed, and should NEVER be used to sign-in on any Aloha terminal.


Reminder- guests can no longer assume that your dining room is open, so you must share that information with them and social is a great platform to do so! It is important to give regular updates via all social channels regarding the status of your current hours, dining room open (or closed), curbside, contactless payment, and safety protocols. 


Will there be another round of promoting gift cards sales in May? 

Yes, HGI will promote a bounceback incentive for every $50 gift card purchase.  Guests who make an online gift card purchase of $50 will receive a $5 bounceback Fishbowl offer for use on their next $10 Mellow meal. This offer expires on May 31st.The bounceback cards will be valid through July 31st.  HGI will include the gift card offer in emails and social posts over the next two weeks.  


HGI has partnered with Cardfree to provide a contactless payment solution to assist our franchise stores in safely processing credit card payments for curbside and dine-in guests. Contactless payments can provide a sense of comfort for our guests in these times since it reduces touchpoints in their dining experience and limits device and payment processes to their mobile phone.

The steps to sign up, steps of service, and related training documentation are now being developed from feedback during the pilot period. They should be available in short order so we can begin the onboarding process.

Key features to the CardFree partnership:

  1. Fully integrated with the Aloha POS
  2. PCI compliant solution
  3. Reduces the liability associated with EMV/chip card chargebacks
  4. Contactless payments
  5. APP-less payments – does not require the customer to download any Apps
  6. Can be utilized for dine-in and curbside orders
  7. Scalable – more features to come

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