COVID-19 Update V. 33.0 – Wednesday, May 27th 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. 

Today I wanted to share an update on our Sales Recovery Journey.

This past week, system sales finished +18% vs. the previous week’s sales. These results mark our sixth consecutive week of increasing sales WoW (week over week).

Comparing SSS (Same Store Sales) vs. the prior year, we finished down for the week -26%. We continue to see sales shift from Off-Premises to dining rooms, and most importantly we are seeing incremental sales growth.

This past week we had 26 locations post positive sales vs. prior year. The number of Mellow locations at -20% or better grew to 80 locations – a significant improvement and very encouraging as we continue to chip away. 

We had some notable individual store performances for the week as well. Of the 26 locations posting positive to the prior year, 13 of them were up double digits! We also had 3 locations break $80k this past week: Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, & Phoenix.

As mentioned, we have seen some significant incremental sales growth as we opened up the dining rooms. We anticipate continued growth as capacity constraints slowly ease. So the question becomes, “With most of the dining rooms now open, how do we avoid hitting a wall on continuing incremental sales growth each week?”  

We must work hard to earn the trust of the public that it is safe to dine with us. Pre-COVID we were running about 73% Dine-In sales. We bottomed out at 5% a few weeks ago and are now up to 41% and climbing. 

Recently we added some questions to our InMoment Survey around COVID.  This past week out of 500 surveys, our Social Distancing Score was a 99.3% – great job!!  Our PPE score rose from 86% in week 1 to 94% this past week. Good improvement, but we have a few outliers. “Did you see anyone cleaning or sanitizing on your visit?” came in at 83%. Once again, the more we can show our guests this instead of telling them will resonate to less anxiety for our guests. 

This week has started off strongly again vs. the prior week. Keep at it, team.  Don’t let up on the PPE, and let’s ensure great Food, Service, and Ambiance accompany the safety piece.




Slowly, restrictions across the country are relaxing. The big news is no longer regarding which states are next, but rather how the existing guidelines will be amended as things progress?

Aspects of these Executive Orders remain in flux, but there are a few things to keep in front of:

  • Seating Capacity Changes
  • Expiration Dates of the Orders
  • Alcohol Policies

Most of the Executive Actions have an Enforcement Provision. Make sure that you are on top of all of the rules that impact your specific business.

The most recent changes are indicative of what we can expect. The particulars continue to change as their expiration approaches and roll into their “phased” plan portions.

Colorado has released guidelines for restaurants to reopen beginning today May 27th. The order is in place until June 1st and includes a 50% seating capacity as well as a party limit of 8 guests.

Tennessee has extended its current order to June 30th.

Iowa has extended its order until June 25th.  It also increased the limits on party sizes from 6 people to 10.

Virginia has finally added Northern Virginia to its plan. Also, the governor added a mask-mandate. It will mirror the Washington, DC plan of targeting Friday, May 29th.

Colorado’s Order

Iowa Public Health Proclamation

Tennessee Executive Order

Virginia’s Mask Mandate


Every week, we will provide you with research findings or blog posts from around the restaurant industry that pertain to the current state of business and provide you, the Mellow store owner and management team member, with some insights and perspective

“The Customer Journey” from The Culinary Edge

The Culinary Edge helps restaurants develop food and beverage recipes. “The Customer Journey” was published on TCE’s blog #openforbusiness .  Here is a link to the full blog post:

“The Customer Journey”

Reopening restaurant dining rooms is a bit clunky at the moment with adhering to social distancing restrictions. Like a middle school dance, everyone is staying a safe six feet apart, although everyone does want to get to a place where we can all be closer together. 
Our role as restaurant operators is to help guests make a safe and smooth re-entry into the dine-in world of restaurants. Prior to Covid-19, Mellow delivered a memorable dining experience. Today, part of the experience is delivering assurances that our guests will be safe dining at Mellow.

The Culinary Edge has broken the Customer Journey into five key areas and provided insights into the mindset of the guest at each stage of the journey.  Here is a summary of the post Covid-19 guest journey.

  1. DECIDING                Where Should I Go To Eat?
  2. ENTERING               Is It Safe To Go In?
  3. ORDERING              How Do I Order?
  4. DINING                     Eating Out: What Is This Experience Really Like?
  5. LEAVING                  The Check And Beyond

DECIDING: Where Should I Go To Eat?

After weeks at home cooking for themselves, guests are looking for foods they can not make at home. Wings is a good example. Be sure on social media to post photos of those crave-able foods that entice guests to come to Mellow.

Guests also want to know that it is safe to come to Mellow. Be sure to use the infographic HGI has created for social as well as lots of photos of your staff in PPE gear.

Realize that it will take guests some time to become comfortable with dining out in this new environment. Continue to provide the great off premises service you have been providing all along.

ENTERING: Is It Safe To Go In?

For guests returning to restaurants, there are a lot of unknowns. Help them know what to expect. Use your social media channels to show:

  • How you manage folks waiting for a table
  • A dedicated staff member for cleaning and sanitation
  • Contactless menus
  • Servers, Kitchen Team and Host all in PPE

ORDERING: How Do I Order?

Contactless menus can alleviate many guests’ concerns.  Each Mellow location with an open dining room is provided with  a contactless menu.

Guests want reassurance that they are coming back to restaurants for what they love- the food. They understand about the environment and the safety precautions. Take some time share photos on social media of those beautiful pies and some fresh salads and now that summer is here an icy cold beer and beautiful Sunset in Paradise will be very timely as well.

DINING: Eating Out – What Is This Experience Really Like?

How do I stay safe while eating in a public place is a key concern for guests. Making your safety protocol evident to all of your guests is critical. This includes hand sanitizing stations for guests, ensuring  kitchen staff is using PPE- especially important with an open kitchen.

LEAVING: The Check And Beyond

You only get one shot at making a great last impression. In addition to settling the bill, make this final step in the journey count. Here is where Mellow store owners really have an opportunity to excel beyond the usual add on sales of store merchandise, gift cards or pizza kits To-Go. A manager table touch at the end of the meal to thank Mellow guests or a host holding the door open to eliminate an additional public touch point goes a long way to leaving that good last impression.


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 should have arrived!

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.


What is A Pie for A Pie?

HGI created A Pie For A Pie™, a community giving program, that provides funding and publicity support for each Mellow location to select a local organization to support and make a food donation of small pepperoni and cheese pizzas. The food cost for this program will be covered by various HGI suppliers. The amount of small pies is determined by how many total pies are sold at a specific location on matching Thursday. If your location has not participated yet, look for an email in the coming weeks or contact your Business Coach.

What results are participating stores seeing?

On average, participating locations Net Sales on matching Thursday increase an average of 44% compared to the previous Thursday.  Participating locations sell approximately 165 pies on matching Thursday.
A Pie for A Pie features:


BURLINGTON, NC (clip starts at 12:40)


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.

CLICK HERE to Download Burger Photography Assets


We are pleased to announce an update to the BeerBoard Digital Menu process. Menus will now be automatically updated multiple times per day at set times. Additionally, each store will have the ability to push out new changes at their discretion.  

What times will the digital beer menus update?

Digital beer menus will update four times per day at 9AM, 12PM, 4PM, and 7PM EST. This is a change from the initial rollout of these menus, which updated only one time per day at 8AM.

If I update a beer and want to make it live immediately on my menu, can I do so? Yes ! Each store now has the ability to manually update any new items or changes made to their beer list by using the “Beer Pages” icon. From here, you should select Beer Pages. This will initiate the manual update, which takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. Please see below for an example of the button:

What if I need assistance in updating my beer list or ensuring that the correct items populate on my menu?
  Should you need further assistance, please email


As you work to rebuild your beverage inventory, please review information regarding ordering Monin products. Should you need additional assistance, please reach out to

What Monin products are required items for the Core Beverage Program? Core, required Monin products are listed below. Please note there is one new addition, highlighted in green, and one item that should be depleted, highlighted in pink, for the 2020 Core Program.

Where do I purchase Monin products?

All Monin products are available for order via the Monin Expressway. Each store has the ability to set up an account. Please reference the instructions in the Monin Expressway Welcome and Set Up Instructions.

Does PFG have Monin products available?

Your PFG distribution center may have some of the Monin products available.  You are able to purchase from PFG, but product availability, pricing, and lead time may vary. For consistent availability and pricing, we recommend using the Monin Expressway.

Do we have nationally negotiated pricing available when we purchase from the Monin Expressway? Yes. The pricing below is available for all Mellow Mushroom stores ordering via the Monin Expressway portal. Please note this pricing list include items that are not part of the core program and may not be in use in all Mellow locations.


How much are Dispatch fees and who pays them? 

Effective October 2019, the Mellow Mushroom Dispatch delivery fee for guests changed to $4.99 per order. As part of the agreement, DoorDash charges a $1 subsidy on every delivery order. This is in addition to the $0.50 per order OlO fee for Dispatch delivery orders. Currently, HGI funds $0.50 of the subsidy and restaurants fund $0.50 of the subsidy for each Dispatch transaction. The subsidy amounts appear on your monthly OlO statements. 

What can I expect to see on my OlO monthly statement? 

All restaurants pay a monthly OlO fee of $85. If a restaurant also has Dispatch, Dispatch fees are also included on the monthly statement. The monthly statement includes:

OlO Monthly Fee ($85)

Guest Delivery Fees ($4.99 per delivery order)

Guest Delivery Tips (TBD )

Franchisee portion of subsidy ($0.50 per delivery)

OlO Delivery Charge ($0.50 per order)

How OlO Billing Works:  Prior to ordering, guests are provided the delivery fee amount and are required to accept the delivery fee terms prior to ordering completion. Delivery fees paid by the guest are “passed through” to the restaurant and paid to OlO within the monthly billing statement. Restaurants are paid upfront from the guest for the full amount of an online order (food + tax + delivery fee + delivery tip) – at the end of the month, the delivery fees and tips are paid to OlO as pass through fees. 

Are Dispatch fees the same as Third-Party Delivery Fees? 

No. Third-Party delivery fees vary by DSP (delivery service provider), but generally range from 25% and higher per transaction.    Please contact your business coach with any additional Dispatch billing questions.  



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 amongst 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 both Togo and Catering menus is now open. The window will close Friday, June 5. 

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


Hiram, GA

“This was our first venture out for dining inside a restaurant since the shelter in place order was lifted. The food – delicious. The service – outstanding. Our server – Hailey was sweet, considerate and friendly as she always is. We appreciate Mellow taking all the necessary precautions to keep their customers and their staff safe, post quarantine. And we are so glad you are back open for inside dining — we have missed you!!!!

Jacksonville – River City, FL
Although inside dining has been closed for 2 months or better, server Brian remembered my order, and kept my tea glass filled as well. Awesome! So glad Mellow is open again. And the pizza was great, too!”

Jacksonville – Avondale, FL
They all were wearing masks. They kept all guests at a safe distance from one another. They were friendly. Our server, Ryan, was very helpful and a very good server. We will definitely go back.

Brandon, FL
“We haven’t been in since the pandemic started, but Kristen had our order still committed to memory. She’s a sweet young lady and is always on top of things no matter how busy she seems. Glad to see Mellow is back.

Coralville, IA
We are so happy Mellow Mushroom has reopened their dining room. We love the food and atmosphere and ordering To-Go just didn’t quench the craving! We are so impressed with all the upgrades to this location. It was nice before but now it’s so amazing. The firepits were a very nice touch. CC was our server and she was so nice and attentive.”

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