About Us

About this book

COVID-19, widely known as the Coronavirus, has been the most impactful global event since World War 2. Aside from the vast human cost in health terms, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrashed the global economy, resulting in many record recessionary metrics; including largest stock market value decrease in one day, greatest unemployment numbers, and the largest surge of business closures in the space of four weeks.

The US restaurant and food service industry has been one of hardest hit from the shutdown with layoffs and furloughs expected to reach 5-7million, a little shy of half the industry workforce. Even when the shelter-in-place period concludes, there can be no expectation that there will be a miraculous comeback. Indeed, the concept that the government blows the “get back to work” whistle and we all joyfully skip back to work is regrettably amiss of reality.

As a result of the COVID-19 quarantine, it is clear that, when we do re-open for business, the next twelve months will present enormously adversarial conditions.

Notwithstanding the pending deep recession, which is short of unavoidable, the restaurant and hospitality industry is about to experience the greatest food-based mobilization in US history, from supply chain through to street based operations. Disruption has laced through every part of the industry’s operations and the en-mass grand opening, expected in mid-May to June, will test us all.

As a long term industry consultant, I felt compelled to write this book as an essential guide to help restaurants, bars, and hospitality in general, open their doors to the PC19 (Post Covid-19) era.

In this book, myself and a group of experts cover all aspects of reopening independent and chain restaurant groups, exploring the technical and human aspects of our momentous task ahead, with the singular goal of providing a comprehensive road map to navigating the next 12-18 months; in what will likely be the most volatile and challenged trading times in our lifetimes.

The book shares best practices in opening restaurants, working with vendors, and most importantly, the human aspect of our mammoth task ahead.

The book is extremely personal to me. I embarked with the mission to provide a comprehensive guide on how to open a hospitality business after the Quarantine, yet while writing and collaborating with my colleagues, I found myself looking back over my own career, my highs and lows, and the defining moments that brought me to today. I have included stories of the people I have met that made a difference, discussions about clients, and a few photos of what opening over 800 restaurants and bars across five continents looks like.

While I have been very fortunate to travel the world, this book has been possibly been my most interesting journey to date, and I didn’t even need a plane! You see, as we move through life we live through many different experiences, yet its only when you string them altogether can you begin to define yourself. How we spent our time during the COVID-19 quarantine will stay with us forever, but how we emerge will represent our character and resolve.

My wife and I coined the phrase, How do you Corona? It’s a little silly, but it helped us change our lives from being professional nomads to confinement in one space, days in and days out. We use our silly phrase to describe anything we do behaviorally that protects us from COVID-19, whether its spending time researching or writing this book, through to posting Coronavirus memes and making super nonsensical videos. We talk about this in the book, as this little silly phrase has defined both of us, and we understand that we will need to change our own behavior as we begin the next phase in humanity, post COVID-19.

The hospitality industry has always been my 2nd love, next to my wife and children, it is deeply important that our industry survives and thrives; if this book can help in anyway, then the long hours and late nights my colleagues and I spent working on its content have been more than worth it.

I very much pray that you re-open your hospitality business magnificently and efficaciously. Yes, the challenge ahead is daunting, yes, its fraught with adversary, and yes, the mountain is high. However, history has proven that recovery is the guaranteed consequence from disaster, thus, while times may be hard, recovery is inevitable, we simply have to make it happen!

I wish everyone who reads this book, and the hospitality industry at large a very successful post COVID-19 reboot, and may we all drink together and celebrate our new and improved Post COVID-19 industry, once we have travelled the path of recovery and settle into our new world.

What Our Readers Are Saying

This book was a great read – we are about to open 5 locations when the shelter is lifted, and this book literally covers it all. Great book for the restaurant industry and perfect timing Thank you

Gerry Dillard


Solid reading for any executive, owner or manager in hospitality Highly recommended

Susan Gordon

This book was a great surprise – not only does it help think about all the necessary areas to address when we reopen our restaurant chain, it has some great management ideas. I love the Coffee Breaks where Mr Ancill, talks about his experiences in consulting and some of his humor Great read

Jarred Falkwer

I really enjoyed this book, not at all what I expected. I was anticipating a good jolt of technical information, which was there for sure, however the author broke the book up with his stories and experiences which made the book a very enjoyable read with many good points of information. I think this book is a great reference for all HR and Operations managers and executives - great read

Susan Henry


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Donate For COVID 19

20% of all donations go to COVID 19 hospitality relief funds, the rest go towards the cost of producing this book and the Covid-19 Reboot team

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About Author


Robert Ancill

Robert Ancill is the CEO of and The Next Idea Group. Widely considered an authority on emerging and future food trends, restaurant concepts, brand positioning, food service, and design

Based in Los Angeles, Robert has overseen the launch of over 89 new brands and 800 restaurant or café openings or remodels. He has worked or consulted with clients in over 24 countries, including but not limited to: USA, UK, Kuwait, Dubai/Abu Dhabi (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Malaysia, France, Qatar, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Pakistan.

Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Robert joined the Glasgow College of Food Technology and graduated with the HCIMA qualification. During his career, Robert worked for a range of well-known corporations including: Aroma Café Group, The House of Albert Roux, Planet Hollywood, House of Fraser, Safeway, Panera Bread and HMS Host.

In 2002 Robert founded The Next Idea, a high energy, innovative international restaurant consulting agency that simply provides – The Next Idea. The agency specializes in new food and restaurant concept development, interior design and architecture, re-positioning, food trend research forecasting, marketing and restaurant franchising.

Never wavering from The Next Idea’s core values of Creativity, Excellence, Client Service, and Integrity, Robert has built The Next Idea from a one-client agency to an acclaimed international boutique consulting group with a broad range of small, medium, and large clients, and an enviable project portfolio. The company split in 2016 and operates consulting services under The Next Idea, www.thenextidea.net and interior design under TNI Design, www.tnidesign.com.

Robert regularly takes on interim executive assignments. He is Chairman of Phood Farmacy, Design Director at Plant Power Fast Food, and Vizualization and Cad Director for Design i.

Robert is regularly quoted in the Media on global restaurant and food trends as well as food & restaurant opportunities in emerging and frontier markets. He is regularly speaking at conferences on topics relating to international growth opportunities, restaurant concepts, food trends and consumer behavior.

Robert is also active in the Non Profit world, supporting many good causes including, anti-slavery, cure and support for autism and child education in underdeveloped countries. In his spare time Robert is an amateur photographer, whose work has been featured in a number of magazines and websites, and can be found at: www.introspectivelense.com

Interview With Robert Ancill

Our Contributors


Maerav Chiprut

Maerav's career spans over 18 years in the Restaurant, Retail & Leisure Industries, with a focus in restaurant/cafe operations and training.

Maerav has managed over 60 restaurant/café openings in the UK & the US.

Maerav is responsible for all The Next Idea training activities, and has consulted with a range of food service operators; including Britney Spears, The Zone, Virgin Trains, Panera Bread, Viva Vegan, Phood Farmacy, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, and Albert Roux Cafes.


Thelma Weaver

Thelma graduated from City University of New York-Hunter College with a degree in Media Studies and Psychology. Her background includes 12 years of diversified experience in project management, marketing, and promotional programming, in mobile communications, tradeshows and hospitality. Thelma began her career as Brand manager (freelance) for a range of well-known US and international brands, including Stella Artois, DKNY, Lufthansa, Boars Head, Jet Magazine, Snapple, Time Warner Cable, Estee Lauder and T-Mobile. She then became Project and Marketing Manager with Ring Plus, a dynamic start up telecommunications company based in Beverly Hills, California. In 2016 Thelma joined The Next Idea as Project Manager and Marketing Consultant, and has worked on multiple accounts including: Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, Maria's Italian Kitchen, Poke O, The Hungry Trader, Phood Farmacy, Viva Vegam, and Steak N Shake. Thelma was Key Note Speaker on Marketing, Past, Present and Future, at the Bahrain Hospitality Forum 2017, and is Editor of all Client and TNI written communications.


Joshua Merel

Josh is a Vice President of Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. A national insurance brokerage firm based in Newport Beach California.

After 20 years as a restaurant operator and franchisee, Josh made the transition to the insurance business in 2000. Utilizing his experience as a businessman and restaurateur, Josh has developed a unique and effective approach as an insurance professional. His client base includes multi-unit restaurant operators, mid-market manufacturers, contractors, and retailers.


Sara Rivera Partner/Senior HR Consultant/Employment Law & Employee Relations Specialist

Sara holds a degree in Business Administration from Wagner College in New York City. An immigrant from Central America, Sara quickly knew that her professional career would be in any field that was about advocating for people and providing resources for their betterment. Sara’s professional bilingual career began in the field of Risk Management for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. There she sat on the Safety Committee Board for 5 years. She was then initiated to the Human Resources field for the hospitality industry with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in 1992, where she mastered all disciplines of HR with a focus on Employment Law, Compliance and Training. In search to further her career, Sara accepted the position of Director Human Resources with Fairmont Hotels in Santa Monica, CA. There, she successfully negotiated a 5-year contract and established a good working relationship with Local 814, H.E.R.E.. During her tenure, she worked in both union and non-union environments with a focus on Labor Law and Immigration Compliance.

In 2001, Sara left the hotel industry to service as a VP of Human Resources for various independent restaurant chains throughout the U.S. making her knowledgeable in wage and hour laws and compliance regulations for many states.

From these experiences, Sara pursued a consulting career. She brings her coaching and advisory role to a wide variety of industries including hotels, restaurants, automotive, non-profit organizations, manufacturing and technology. Sara has helped many organizations with Strategic Planning, Performance Management and all disciplines of HR. Sara has been associated with ECG since its inception in 2003.

Sara is an active member of Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the National Human Resources Association (NHRA), the Council for Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) and HR California. Sara is also certified to assess and train on numerous behavioral assessments such as DISC, Batrus Hollweg, and the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.


Andy Hobbs

Andy Hobbs is a native of Orange County, California. He served four years in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman and four years in the California Army National Guard, again as an Infantryman. He's a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills and earned his master of arts, organizational management, from the University of Phoenix.

Andy's experience in repair and maintenance includes the Disneyland Resort, Montage Laguna Beach, Montage Beverly Hills, the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, the Monarch Bay Beach Resort, and El Gallo Giro Restaurants. He's also an adjunct professor at Fullerton Community College in the Construction Technology Program. In his free time he enjoys cooking, microbreweries, reading, and spending time with his family. Andy currently resides in Anaheim, California with his wife and daughter.

Talya Raphael

Talya Raphael

Talya Raphael, MSc is a medical student with a Masters in fundamental virology from the Pasteur Institute (Paris, France). Her numerous laboratory placements have included analysis of retroviral sequence upregulation in HIV-1 positive individuals in the Infectious Diseases Department at King’s College London (England) with Dr. Stuart Neil; epidemiological analysis of circulating enteroviruses and human parechoviruses in outpatients with influenza-like illness in the Lombardy region during the 2014-2015 winter season in the Virology Laboratory of the Università degli studi di Milano (Italy), with Dr. Sandro Binda, which was published in the European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE) and in the Società Italiana di Igiene (SItI); and lastly a work placement at the Pasteur Institute (Paris) in the « Virus and Immunity » laboratory run by Dr. Olivier Schwartz where her final year MSc thesis was entitled “a mycobacterial virulence factor modulates the synthesis of the HIV-1 viral envelope in vitro”.

As part of her current medical degree, she has also worked in different hospitals and wards such as oncology, general surgery, hepato-gastroenterology and dermatology. She is a trained EMT and has volunteered with ambulance services in Israel.

She will be continuing her degree as a 4th year medical student in the fall of 2020 and she hopes to pursue a career in Public Health once graduated.

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