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“As businesses were first implementing virus protocols, we had several active projects that were at various stages of completion,” Keck says. “We made all the necessary calls to determine the status of the projects. With only a few exceptions, the chains chose to continue development.” Having determined which projects were


proceeding, Concept Services then turned its attention to the supply chain. The pandemic didn’t just shut down customers; it affected warehouse and manufacturing operations as well. Most people staying home meant fewer people to pick stock off shelves and send it out for delivery. Realizing that some disruption was inevitable, Concept Services worked with customers and suppliers to set expectations and develop plans to ensure delivery of projects in a realistic timeframe. “I will say the manufacturers were as cooperative and transparent as they could possibly be with the information they had available,” Keck says. “There were several instances when we had to inform the customer that the manufacturers would require additional time to produce the goods due to social-distancing protocols, virus issues, layoffs, and furloughs. It didn’t come as a surprise that the manufacturers would come through. My hat goes off to them for muscling through some very difficult challenges.”


Likewise, Keck commends chain development teams for being understanding of supply situations and adjusting project timelines to accommodate the challenges everyone faced. “In those cases, you saw the entire industry come together to ensure success for all parties involved,” he says. The disruption for projects that were already in development ended up being minimal in most cases, but Keck is already thinking about how operators will change strategies coming out of the pandemic. Smaller dining rooms and more robust off-premise dining programs will become more commonplace, he predicts, while the back of the house will be designed to support a well-thought-out operational plan for to-go ordering. “The guest


Summer 2020 33


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