Becoming profitable during Covid

How can you make more money under the coronavirus restrictions?

It looks like the Covid-19 crisis is going to be around for quite a while. And while many businesses are waiting for things to get back to normal so they can operate without restrictions and get profitable again, some may go under before that happens. What they need is to find ways to get profitable with the restrictions, which we may not be able to get rid of for a long time to come.

For instance, restaurants have been especially hard-hit. They were ordered to shut down for everything except takeout, then outdoor dining. Even now that they finally allowed to reopen their dining rooms, it will be at a reduced capacity of 50%. Could they possibly be profitable with such limitations?

Even if they could open with no restrictions, would people come? Many may think restaurant dining is just too dangerous. How can we allay their concerns and make them comfortable again?

Years ago, I went to a steakhouse in Albuquerque. The place was enormous; the food and service were excellent. They had a great reputation. Every table was surrounded by partitions making it a private dining room. There were tables/dining rooms for two, four, eight, 12, etc. They were trying to mitigate the noise. You could have a nice quiet conversation even though the next table was having a lively party.

If they’re still in business, I’ll bet they could open at full capacity despite Covid-19. Each table is not just isolated from neighboring sounds but from neighboring germs as well. If I owned a restaurant, I’d be getting partitions installed. If I had a restaurant with a view, I’d use plexiglas. I might lose some capacity, but that’s a lot better than operating under those percentages above. If this adversely affects your ambiance, make the partitions temporary.

Everyone would have to wear masks. Once diners are seated, they could remove their masks, as you can’t eat or drink wearing them. Waiters and waitresses typically stand while serving, so they don’t have to worry about us infecting them while we’re seated without masks. They wear masks protecting us. Social distancing while entering and exiting can be maintained with a little guidance. Other guidelines can also be applied where appropriate.

As soon as you get your partitions up, invite the governor to lunch and ask for a waiver so you can operate at full capacity. Advertise your new private dining rooms so your patrons and others will know. Mention the safety measures you’ve adopted and you may find you’re making more money than ever.

Admittedly, many of these restrictions are unconstitutional and wouldn’t survive a serious challenge in the courts. If you’ve got deep pockets, don’t mind waiting while your case winds its way through the courts and want to make a point, go for it. If, on the other hand, you need to recover your cash flow as soon as possible, suing the government is probably not an option.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Whether you’re a believer or not, that’s a great business strategy. Why waste resources trying to change things that are unlikely to change? It’s much more profitable to capitalize on them.

This kind of innovation may not work for every type of business, but before you decide it can’t work for you, give it a try. Get a few heads together, especially some creative ones, and do a little brainstorming.

The question you want to answer is: How can we make more money under the Covid-19 restrictions?

I never would have thought of all those private dining rooms until that night in Albuquerque. I was amazed and impressed by the idea and how well it worked, and I can’t recall seeing it anywhere else. Go for it.

Ronald J. Bourque, a consultant and speaker from Salem, has had engagements throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He can be reached at 603-898-1871 or

Categories: Business Advice