As we head into a post-pandemic economy, tensions about social distancing are starting to ease. Whether it will be a thing of the past or develop some hybrid of how it used to be combined with social space awareness remains to be seen. One industry hit hard by the pandemic is the food and hospitality sector. Some restaurants were forced to close their doors, while those who pivoted to alter their offerings and processes could stay afloat. Some even thrived in a new age of entertainment and dining.
According to leading forecasters, 2022 will be marked with numerous economic challenges, including the restaurant industry. Issues such as supply chain difficulties, frequent COVID infections still taking people from work, and the overall labor shortage and "Great Resignation" are all taking their toll on society as a whole and are being felt in the hospitality industry.
There are also concerns that the shortage of available goods will drive inflation, leading to a downturn in the economy, and will likely plague the U.S. at least through 2023. In turn, inflation will make grain and beef products cost approximately 60% more than last year. The consumer will eventually absorb those increased costs, which will likely cut back and choose to prepare meals at home.
For restaurants to remain profitable, they must find new menu offerings with fewer choices and higher prices. Currently, consumer prices are already up an estimated 4%, which is an increase that we have not witnessed in nearly a decade.
The good news is that although costs are climbing, consumers are so happy to return to engagement with the outside world that they are willing to shoulder the increased costs. Despite the new COVID variant issues and other economic uncertainties that plague the U.S. and the world, consumer spending is beginning to rebound.
The biggest hurdle at the moment is the labor shortage. Some workers laid off during the pandemic enjoy the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance that allows them to stay comfortably at home without returning to work. Many restaurants have offered incentive programs like higher pay and more considerable perks to get workers to return. However, those costs will eventually come down the pipeline and fall on the consumer. Labor costs currently are at a 20-year high. Combining that with the inflation rate equals higher menu costs, and how consumers respond is uncertain.
When Tracy Toomer-Couvson was laid off from her position as VP of Operations for the largest fitness franchisee in the United States in 2020, she decided enough was enough. Tracy previously made four successful corporate moves, but her career success came at a cost. With elderly parents at home, Tracy could choose to make another corporate move and disrupt the family again or do something different. She chose the latter and has felt blessed every day since.
Tracy’s priorities include being present as a daughter, girlfriend, sister, friend, and most of all being present for herself. She began thinking about business ownership as a way to feel valued and appreciated while controlling her own time. In November of 2020, Tracy became the owner of CarePatrol Collin County Central. CarePatrol is the nation's largest and most trusted senior living placement organization, with over 150 Certified Senior Advisors throughout the country. It was founded to take the stress out of finding the best and safest senior care choices for families and their loved ones.
Tracy admits that owning a business is not all sunshine and roses, especially when you have a pandemic to contend with but feels so much appreciation for the life she's creating for herself and her loved ones through the meaningful work she's doing as a CarePatrol owner. "It's about finding ways to do what I love in service to others. I love supporting families while they are going through an emotional crisis and helping them make some of the biggest decisions in their lives. Being able to answer questions like, where will their loved one be cared for and treated with the utmost respect and dignity they deserve? That's what I am blessed to do every day".
Tracy worked with Seth Lederman, Franchise Advisor and Frannexus CEO, to determine the right business opportunity.
"The greatest value Seth and the Frannexus team offered throughout the process was in providing answers and insights around the important considerations like which financial business model is right for me. Should I look at a brick-and-mortar or an at-home business? How much and when will I break even? All of the answers to these great questions helped determine that franchising was right for me at this time in my life."
- Tracy Toomer-Couvson, Owner of CarePatrol Collin County Central
At the end of the day, Tracy feels good about her decision to invest in a franchise. "I absolutely love this business, and I know I am in the right place, at the right time to be of service to a population that truly needs it! Here's to 2022!!"
#1 Do your research! "The first piece of advice I would offer is that you can never do enough research."
#2 Talk to Franchisees. "Make sure you speak with Franchisees that have left recently. Why did they leave? How much were they earning by the end of their contract with the franchisor?"
#3 Dive into the Franchisor/Franchisee relationship. "It is like a marriage. Ask if they're happy with the franchisor and how their experience is different from what they expected?"
#4 Find out what positions are essential to hire. "If it is a business where you can work from home, ask other franchisees what positions were critical at the opening to the success of the business? Should you budget for an assistant?"