COVID-19 Update V. 32.0 – Friday, May 22nd 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. 


Good afternoon, Team!
 I wanted to provide you a few quick updates as we head into Memorial Day weekend. 

Through yesterday we are trending up in sales over 20% to the prior week and expect that trend to continue through the weekend. If this is the case, it will mark our sixth consecutive week of exceeding sales from the week prior.
Yesterday there were 33 locations posting positive sales vs. Prior Year. 
We continue to close the gap in sales to Prior Year. Take a look at the weekly trends below since the onset of COVID-19:

    Start of COVID:                   -65%
   Last week:                           -36%
   This week:                           -30%

By the end of the week, there will be over 150 Mellow Mushroom locations with open dining rooms, and by June 1 the majority of remaining the locations will be reopen as well.

Keep up your tenacity on the PPE component. This weekend could be a coming-out party for people wanting to dip their toe back into visiting restaurants. Remind your team of how big of an opportunity this will be to show the guests they can trust us. 

Thank you all for the hard work, and HGI Team wishes you, your families, and teams a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!

As always, the HGI Team will be here if should you need anything. 

Our next FAQ will be on Wednesday, May 27th.




With the country well on its way to being reopened, the Mellow system is also on its way. As of now, only two Mellow Markets are remaining that have not definitively announced reopening plans (Washington, DC and New Jersey).  Many states were waiting for the Memorial Day Weekend to come and go before making further decisions. Please keep an eye out early next week for more.

In the meantime, the states that have reopened have already begun to relax or extend their restrictions.

The governor has extended the order with their current guidelines until July 3rd.

While the governor had a press conference yesterday, there are no new developments. The mayor of Atlanta, however, has extended Off-Premise Alcohol sales until June 30th.

The governor has lifted restrictions on seating bar areas in restaurants.

The state has increased its limit on party size from Six guests to Ten and added language specific to seating bar areas as a part of a dining room. These policies are only in place for a portion of Tennessee; Knox, Hamilton, Shelby and Davidson counties will, as before, have their own rules.

The common thread that remains in the updated versions of all the executive orders is the continued mention of sanitation and social distancing. With the Memorial Day Holiday weekend upon us, expect that these procedures will become more challenging to manage. Be diligent.  The guests will thank you for it.

Alabama Extended Order

Tennessee Pledge

Atlanta Mayor’s Order




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 partnered with Cardfree to provide a contactless payment solution to assist our franchise locations 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 in development utilizing the feedback from the pilot locations. They should be available in short order so we can begin the onboarding process.

Why CardFree?

The HGI IT Team has done extensive work and testing with CardFree in their Lab to ensure seamless and non-disruptive integration with Aloha. CardFree has been running in the Lab and the pilot locations for quite some time with minimal issues recorded and has proven not to conflict with existing processes and services that run on the Aloha server that are critical to operations (such as OlO, etc.).

Can other similar solutions be utilized?

CardFree is not a mandated solution at this time but is the preferred vendor by HGI at this point due to testing, compatibility, and ability to scale with us. We are aware that other vendors with similar offerings have been knocking on the door, and the option to explore these offerings exists. However, before proceeding with other solutions, they will need to be approved by HGI IT Department from a compatibility standpoint to ensure some criteria are met (full Aloha integration, no software conflicts, support, etc.).

Questions on CardFree or any other payment solution should be directed to our Director of IT – Zwayne Sealy at


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 today, 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. 

Thermometer orders shipped yesterday!  Shipments might be slightly delayed with the holiday, but should be received by early next week.

Also, if you are trying to place an order for them and the website states that it’s back-ordered reach out to Katie Bauman directly.  This is an error on the website that she is trying to get corrected. 

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.


PFG has been waiving their delivery fee since the end of March, however, the majority of our locations are now back to their pre-COVID delivery schedules. Therefore, beginning next week the minimum delivery fee will no longer be waived. 

As a reminder, the minimum order fee is waived on all orders $1500 or higher. 
We have been reviewing the drop sizes on all deliveries and locations have been significantly exceeding the minimum dollar amount.

Contact your DC rep or Michelle Longo at with any questions.


  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


As Memorial Day and the official start of summer approaches, now is a great time to begin promoting Frozen Jack & Coke in participating stores. The HGI Brand Development and Beverage departments have created a toolkit for reintroducing this option to your guests for both dine-in and To-Go* (*where legal). 

What assets are included in the toolkit?

Included in the social asset toolkit are social posts, video gifs, and LSM email templates that will be available via Fishbowl. These have a new creative style to better reflect Mellow’s unique design aesthetic while still promoting what has made this initiative so successful – our guests’ love of Jack & Coke!

Click here to download Jack & Coke Social Media Assets

Can I post these to my social media channels?

Yes! In fact, we highly recommend that you use these assets to communicate to your guests as summer kicks off with Memorial Day weekend. As seen in the Mellow America article included in this FAQ issue, HGI is also providing patriotic Mellow art and food photography for social media purposes. 

What if I can offer Jack & Coke as part of my To-Go offerings?  What vessel should I use?

A social jpeg version has been included for use in markets where cocktails To-Go are allowable. In the Jack and Coke social media asset kit, there is a folder labeled “off-premise togo frozen social”. This folder contains social media images that reference this project being available for To-Go. Please be sure to verify you can offer mixed drinks off-premise before using these images. The HGI Beverage department is working to source appropriate To-Go vessels and will share more information once available.

Do I need to include any disclaimers with my social posts?

Yes – please include the following : “Must be 21+.  Please Drink Responsibly.  Jack Daniels & Old No. 7 are registered trademarks.  @2020 TN Whiskey 40% ABV Jack Daniel Distillery. @2020 “Coke” is a registered trademark of the Coca-Cola Company.”

I have not been using my Frozen Jack & Coke / ICEE machine.  What steps do I need to take to ensure it is ready to go?

If your machine has been turned off or out of use for more than one week, you should evaluate its functionality prior to use and following the steps below:

1.       Follow the Jack & Coke Troubleshooting Guide as you restart your machine to ensure proper functionality.

Frozen Jack & Coke Troubleshooting Guide

2.       If any issues arise, please contact your local service personnel to set up an appointment.  There is no charge for this service call, provided they are a licensed ICEE technician. To schedule an appointment, please email or call 1-800-423-3872.

What spirits am I required to include on my ICEE machine?

All stores should carry Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey on their ICEE Frozen Cocktail machine. You are no longer required to offer Bacardi Superior in the machine, it was removed as part of the 2020 Core Beverage Program (Bacardi Superior remains a core spirit in the program however). Stores have the option to begin transitioning to Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey as part of the 2020 program at their discretion.

Can I add Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey to my Frozen cocktail machine now?

If you would like to add Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey to your machine now, you can do so at your discretion. Please note, before adding a new spirit, your lines should be flushed and cleaned of the old spirit.  Please set up a service appointment. Please keep in mind that Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey does contain a small trace amount of peanut allergens and should be communicated accordingly to guests.

What if I do not have an ICEE Frozen Cocktail machine but I am interested in adding one for my location?

Please email and copy your Business Coach for an outline of the program, associated support, and estimate costs.

  For all locations participating in our Mellow Mondays program, this note is a reminder to utilize the package of social assets for posting on your LSM Instagram and Facebook channels.

Mellow Mondays Social Posts + Instagram Stories HERE

PROMOTIONAL REMINDER: BURGER DAY  National Hamburger Day is May 28, 2020:  Americans love hamburgers. So much so that there is a National Day devoted to the Hamburger: Thursday May 28, 2020. This year, more than ever, restaurant guests are looking for favorite foods and the hamburger is certainly a favorite. In anticipation of hamburger activity on social media we have pulled some of our favorite burger photos to use if you choose to promote Build Your Own Burgers or the iconic Ritz Burger.  Please note that meat prices are rising and before promoting burgers you may want to check with your PFG representative on the current cost of ground beef.

Download Burger Photography Assets HERE


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.  



*Note* these packages have been renamed from “Celebration packages” to “ConGRADulation Packages” 

ConGRADulations Package for 6-8: $100 

  • Feeds 6-8 guests; Includes: 
    • Small Catering Salad (guest’s choice of Caesar or House)
    • 3 Medium Specialty Pies 
    • Mini Brownie Bites (3 brownies, quartered)
  • POS Key: 878091
  • $66.86 Average Margin | 33.41% Average COGS

ConGRADulations Package for 8-10: $130

  • Feeds 8-10 guests; Includes : 
    • Small Catering Salad (guest’s choice of Caesar or House)
    • Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese (2x Recipe)
    • 3 Large Specialty Pies
    • Mini Brownie Bites (3 brownies, quartered)
  • POS Key: 878092
  • $87.25 Average Margin | 32.89% Average COGS

What special packaging will be used? 

Packaging costs have been included in the financial estimates above. 

  • Small Catering Salad – Packaging should follow standards for a small catering salad. You should utilize a 12-inch catering tray and soup container or 10oz plastic container for the salad dressing.
  • Pretzel Bites – Use the current To-Go box and soup container or 10oz plastic container for beer cheese. 
  • Mini Brownie Bites – Use a lunch box with liner.


Boone, NC
“The Mellow Mushroom staff has done a great job of shifting to the carry out only mode. They have a clearly marked and organized setup which makes it easy to stay 6 feet apart without it being a hindrance. They are professional and conscientious. I hope they are doing well during this difficult time.

Denver, CO
“Everyone working today at Mellow Mushroom was absolutely awesome. I’m so stoked that you guys are open during this crazy and weird time. Each employee was incredibly helpful and welcomed me into the restaurant. I can’t wait to visit again!”

Warner Robins, GA
Your team is amazing. They get the orders out on time nice and hot and always perfect! Love this place. Best pizza place in town. Any bad comments? Not even close, LOL! Great job ladies and gents!”

Port Orange, FL
“We really enjoyed the fact that we were seated immediately upon eating the building and served drinks pretty rapidly following our seating as well. We were also put at ease by the fact that all the servers and staff had masks and gloves on and that the guests were seated very far away from one another. Again the server’s favorite choice suggestion was excellent too.”

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