Canadian Vending

COVID-19 Updates Features News Business
Coronavirus Operations Checklist for convenience industries

April 2, 2020

Image courtesy of Cottonbro

Operating a business during the COVID-19 health crisis is one thing, but trying to run a convenience operation is something else entirely.

For those who are experiencing shut-outs and lockdowns, establishing a crisis management list for your convenience operation is crucial. The following Crisis Operations Guide to help manage your office coffee service, pantry service or vending operation safely.

Call Your Accounts – See what accounts are still open, and which accounts are closed or working remotely. Know which accounts need your attention and continued service.

Go the Extra Mile – For open accounts, see if there is something they need that you can uniquely provide them. Items like hand sanitizer, paper towels, and vitamin C packets are in high demand. Workers might even need staple items to take home with them after finishing up their work. Do everything you can to maximize profits in your still-open accounts.


Maintain a Healthy Business – For your safety and the health of your community, it is essential to run a hygienic business. Do everything you can to run a clean operation. Make your route drivers bring sanitizer with them, wipe down machines or markets after service, regularly disinfect your warehouse. Show your locations they can count on you being clean. The more openly sanitary you are, the better the chance you have to continue servicing open accounts, and to keep your community healthy.

Order Shelf-Stable Products – With decreased traffic at many locations, fresh food and quick-expiring products are riskier to order. Cut down on pastries, salads, and sandwiches and shift toward more shelf-stable products. For accounts that are closed, recover and re-distribute viable products. Minimizing product waste is essential to keep your operations up and running. For products that do expire, consider donating them to a local food bank.

Redirect Commissary Food – If you have a commissary, redirect the sale of these products to retail stores in need. Many retail stores are struggling to meet demand, especially with food, beverage, and paper goods. Get your products to places in need.

Try Home Delivery – Home delivery / last mile delivery is in very high demand. If you need work for your drivers, see if you can maximize their efficiency with home delivery. Inform your accounts that you can do home deliveries for their employees. Use email or website postings to let individuals place orders directly from you. If necessary, institute a minimum order dollar amount to ensure you profit from home deliveries.

Take Advantage of Low Fuel Prices – Gasoline prices are currently very low – national averages are hovering around $0.80 a litre. Now is a good time to fill up. Your drivers can drive further, which means servicing your accounts has a lower fuel cost. This will let you service accounts in need more frequently, or service locations outside your normal zone of operations.

Stay Tuned to City, Provincial, and National Decrees. Follow updates from CAMA, monitor legislation, keep an eye on shelter in place orders, pay attention to WHO, CDC, and Governmental updates. There are many resources you can turn to in order to stay informed and operationally compliant.

Know what Services Are Essential – Healthcare, utilities, emergency services, governmental facilities, critical manufacturing, transportation systems – all of these services and more are declared essential by homeland security. However, they may vary on the state or city level. Knowing which locations qualify as essential services will let you know which accounts are still viable.