COVID-19 Update V. 33.0 – Wednesday, May 27th 2020
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 COVID19@mellowmushroom.com for a rapid response.
FROM THE DESK OF MIKE FOSTER, COO
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.
STATE BY STATE REGULATIONS UPDATE
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
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.
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:
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.
Should I Go To Eat?
Is It Safe To Go In?
Do I Order?
Out: What Is This Experience Really Like?
Check And Beyond
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
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
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.
SUPPLY CHAIN UPDATE
Reusable Face Masks
Contact Threds at 865-525-2830 or visit their website at www.thredsmasks.com. They are now offering
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 HStephens@imperialdade.com.
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.
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.
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.
PIE FOR A PIE UPDATE
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
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:
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.
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 Beverage@MellowMushroom.com.
MONIN SYRUPS & PUREES: ORDERING PROCESS
As you work to rebuild your beverage inventory, please review
information regarding ordering Monin products. Should you need additional
assistance, please reach out to Beverage@MellowMushroom.com.
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
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
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.
TO-GO MENU &
CATERING MENU PRINT WINDOW
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
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
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
Menu Window Open Dates: The
order window both Togo and Catering menus is now open. The window will close
Friday, June 5.
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
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,
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.”