The 13th of March marked the beginning of the national lockdown and massive changes to our everyday lives. The Danish restaurant chain GRØD woke up to a fall in revenue of 75% and faced a crucial, tough choice. Do you close down? Do you keep fighting against the odds? For GRØD it was the matter of what kind of legacy they wanted to leave behind – they chose to keep fighting.

We have talked to GRØD’s founder and CEO, Lasse Skjønning Andersen who has given us insights into how they handled the corona crisis and how it radically changed GRØD’s approach to especially online marketing.

How hard was GRØD hit by the corona crisis?

Insanely hard. We lost 75% of our revenue overnight. It was very chaotic, and it was a pretty desperate situation for us.

What did you do in order to navigate through the crisis?

We were faced by the tough choice of deciding between fighting to stay open, or to close down to receive financial support. We chose to stay open which resulted in several significant adjustments.

We had to reduce opening hours, make changes to the menu, start new partnerships and so on. We even started to wash our company clothes ourselves to save money. We also had to prioritize takeaway immediately, and we increased our marketing budget by an insane amount compared to our previous marketing budget.

Why did you decide to go ahead with the massive increase in marketing?

The rug had been pulled out under us. There was no time to be cautions anymore. We had to act, and we had to act fast. We had to get out there and tell people that we still existed, and that we took the situation very seriously by taking precautions. It might sound a bit cheesy but ultimately all of our choices came down to which sort of legacy we wanted to leave behind. Did we give up or did we fight with tooth and nail against the odds.

Are there any of the initiatives you launched that you will stick to in the future?

We have become more efficient and innovative since we have been forced to take a hard look at our business as a whole. Both at a restaurant and operational level. This approach will definitely stick with us.

We have also become much better on takeaway marketing and have gained a lot of respect for online marketing, and are now more prone to more online marketing initiatives. I’ve never doubted that online marketing has its advantages but we’ve always been hesitant with allocating a massive media budget – but I definitely underestimated the potential and effect at our bottom line. It will without a doubt be a central part of our marketing moving forward.

How are things going for GRØD right now?

Terrific. We just opened two new restaurants but we are still affected by the crisis, and the aftermath of fewer tourists than usual in our restaurants. However, we have gained a lot of new customers lately which means that we’ll survive. And the best part is that we haven’t sacrificed our brand’s carefully crafted soul to reach this point.