FoodLab Chicago 1.0 – 2020 Cohort Overview and Results

AEO Impact Evaluation of FoodLab Chicago 1.0 Report
Participants generally found the FoodLab Chicago program extremely
helpful, giving it an average score of 9.2 out of 10 in terms of usefulness. See the full report below:

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April COVID pivot to “Survival – Response, Recovery, Resiliency”

22 Cohort members, many legacy businesses, on average 16 years in operation

COVID Impact April 2020 down 57% from 2019 sales, head count off 57%
August 2020 down 26% from 2019 sales, head count off 28%

 

Cohort Highlights:
• Four owners got COVID-19
• Seven closed, now all reopened and looks like 100% prospects for survival
• COVID-19 section on FoodLab website updated daily – Latest COVID-19 virus information; Economic Support Opportunities; Latest State & City reopening guidelines; Small business support connections
• 14 out 15 applying received PPP funding (93% hit rate) – $1.75 million in grants and loans!
• 13 moving off checkbook accounting to QuickBooks real time financials
• Digital Presence-on a ten-point scale April 3.7/10.0 by Oct 6.4/10
• Seven cohort members did not own their website, four did not have websites
• Conducted detailed menu survey and pricing analysis
• Plate costing, menu engineering on a five-point scale April 2.2/5.0 by August 4.0/5.0
• Established local farm sourcing for restaurants
• Established talent pipeline connections with local culinary programs
• 14 looking for Consumer Product Goods (CPG) launches
• 8 opening new outlets/stores

Cohort Sessions and Curriculum

APRIL 27TH, 2020

1 – ACCESS TO CAPITAL, BUILDING BANKING RELATIONS,
PPP/EIDL Round #1 could not get through
Round #2 much more prepared and successful

Results:
PPP 93% (14 out of 15 that wanted support received it)
$1.7 million in support. Grants and loans
Need to come out of the commercial shadows – payroll & file taxes timely
Build small banking relationships – provided introductions and lobbied

 

2 – COVID CRISIS, THEN RIOTING, LOOTING, VANDALISM
Businesses closed because of COVID (seven)
May31st riots, looting and vandalism.
No revenue coming in, laid off employees, did not know what to do next
Great fearful of catching the virus (four did, one died)
With schools closed employees had childcare issues

Results:
You are not alone, a safe harbor in the storm, support network
Comfort of meeting other local business owners, though just down the street never
knew them. Held a restorative practice exercise with cohort
Sharing information and ideas.
FLC resource pages-COVID information, Economic support opportunities, latest
reopening regulations
Entrepreneurs were able to focus their energies on important things without missing
out on grant and loan opportunities (93%)

MAY 4TH, 2020

 

3 – SWOT EXERCISES, STRATEGIC PLANNING
Step back assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
Working “on” your business versus “in”

 

Results:
assessed the situation, took stock of what you have available to you, focused on the
strengths. Knew not alone and good direction on the way forward – One bar that is
legally not allowed to open and one owner still in the COVID recovery, the rest have
reopened and hired staff. No failures.

JUNE 8TH, 2020

 

5 – MITIGATING RICKS IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS & STAYING SAFE
Workplace Health and safety Pandemic playbook and operational best practices

 

Results:
Review latest COVID reopening guidelines, supported by info on the FLC website. Opened safely and in compliance 5 Loaves had and passed a health inspection shortly after class session

JUNE 29TH, 2020

 

7 – ADAPTING BUSINESS MODEL

The new normal – pick-up & delivery Digital presence, seven members (1/3) don’t have their own websites

 

Results:
0-10 scale (zero- no website, 10 – full integrated online ordering through POS systems) Website grade: April 3.6/10.0, August 4.6, October 6.4 half-dozen more to be upgraded Upgrading and Integrating technology Food photography to enhance SM and website

AUGUST 24TH, 2020

 

9 – VISION & MISSION

What are my core values? Why does my restaurant exist? What are my restaurant’s goals? What makes my restaurant different from its competitors? What do I believe in and how do I strive to bring those values to life?

 

Results:
Again working “on” your business, serious reflection Hiring “aligned” employees

MAY 18TH, 2020

 

4 – FINANCIAL DATA, PRIME COST TRACKING

Cash management, expense tracking, financial analysis, real-time with QuickBooks
Most operating checkbook accounting, could not tell you if they are profitable or not
Learned about Operational Financials

 

Results:
13 members (over half) have known and had QB, but now are investing in the time to
setup QB up properly and get real-time financial data.
Need for financial education

JUNE 15TH, 2020

 

6 – ORGANIZATION, BUILDING THE TEAM

Many family businesses Need a strong team to contribute to seeking answers and to execute solutions

 

Results:
Need to recruit talent, aligned with mission Set-up recruiting pipeline

JULY 27TH, 2020

 

8 – MENU ENGINEERING – THE LIFE BLOOD OF A RESTAURANT

Critical analysis for restaurant potential profitability What are you offering? How do you determine menu price? Last time you changed prices? Plate costing exercise Dog/Star/Plow horse/Puzzle Local and farm product

 

Results:
Pre-COVID vast majority had not looked at pricing in over twelve months now they have.
Scale 0-5, five-expert plate costing, cohort in April 2.2 out of 5.0 by August up to 4.0
Every Monday farm product list from Comer Crops

AUGUST 31ST, 2020

 

10 – BUILDING A BRAND

Bring all the lessons together into a finished product

 

Results:
Every aspect must be aligned-message, décor, packaging Story Telling

MAY 4TH, 2020

 

3 – SWOT EXERCISES, STRATEGIC PLANNING
Step back assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
Working “on” your business versus “in”

 

Results:
assessed the situation, took stock of what you have available to you, focused on the
strengths. Knew not alone and good direction on the way forward – One bar that is
legally not allowed to open and one owner still in the COVID recovery, the rest have
reopened and hired staff. No failures.

MAY 18TH, 2020

 

4 – FINANCIAL DATA, PRIME COST TRACKING

Cash management, expense tracking, financial analysis, real-time with QuickBooks
Most operating checkbook accounting, could not tell you if they are profitable or not
Learned about Operational Financials

 

Results:
13 members (over half) have known and had QB, but now are investing in the time to
setup QB up properly and get real-time financial data.
Need for financial education

JUNE 8TH, 2020

 

5 – MITIGATING RICKS IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS & STAYING SAFE
Workplace Health and safety Pandemic playbook and operational best practices

 

Results:
Review latest COVID reopening guidelines, supported by info on the FLC website. Opened safely and in compliance 5 Loaves had and passed a health inspection shortly after class session

JUNE 15TH, 2020

 

6 – ORGANIZATION, BUILDING THE TEAM

Many family businesses Need a strong team to contribute to seeking answers and to execute solutions

 

Results:
Need to recruit talent, aligned with mission Set-up recruiting pipeline

JUNE 29TH, 2020

 

7 – ADAPTING BUSINESS MODEL

The new normal – pick-up & delivery Digital presence, seven members (1/3) don’t have their own websites

 

Results:
0-10 scale (zero- no website, 10 – full integrated online ordering through POS systems) Website grade: April 3.6/10.0, August 4.6, October 6.4 half-dozen more to be upgraded Upgrading and Integrating technology Food photography to enhance SM and website

JULY 27TH, 2020

 

8 – MENU ENGINEERING – THE LIFE BLOOD OF A RESTAURANT

Critical analysis for restaurant potential profitability What are you offering? How do you determine menu price? Last time you changed prices? Plate costing exercise Dog/Star/Plow horse/Puzzle Local and farm product

 

Results:
Pre-COVID vast majority had not looked at pricing in over twelve months now they have.
Scale 0-5, five-expert plate costing, cohort in April 2.2 out of 5.0 by August up to 4.0
Every Monday farm product list from Comer Crops

AUGUST 24TH, 2020

 

9 – VISION & MISSION

What are my core values? Why does my restaurant exist? What are my restaurant’s goals? What makes my restaurant different from its competitors? What do I believe in and how do I strive to bring those values to life?

 

Results:
Again working “on” your business, serious reflection Hiring “aligned” employees

AUGUST 31ST, 2020

 

10 – BUILDING A BRAND

Bring all the lessons together into a finished product

 

Results:
Every aspect must be aligned-message, décor, packaging Story Telling

SEPT 14TH, 2020

 

11 – GROWTH STRATEGIES

More units Franchise Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)
Get a product on a grocery shelf

 

Results:
12 cohort members have CPG ideas 7 cohort members are expanding units (Tropic, Surf, Foodie, Majani, 5 Loaves, Licorice, Chicago Wings)