The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all globally, both personally and at work. If you own a restaurant, surely you have seen the need to change the way you run your business. In this article, it gives you some adaptation strategies, so that even during this crisis, your restaurant continues to grow.
The Coronavirus has changed the pace of business around the world. Faced with this pandemic, the governments of all countries have found it necessary to adopt special measures of social distancing.
Non-essential businesses were limited or shut down entirely, and food and beverage businesses are no exception, yet people need to eat every day. So if you are a restaurant owner, you just need to change your sales and marketing strategy to continue on the path to your business success.
We invite you not to see this situation as a dead end but as a huge business opportunity for you to consider the online environment and address different forms of marketing, so we present these recommendations for your restaurant to overcome this crisis:
1. Build Your Own Delivery Platform
Now more than ever customers are more engaged with technology, most of their daily activities happen online and people expect everything to be at their fingertips. The increased use of mobile devices only contributes to the overall growth of delivery services.
As a restaurant owner, you can benefit from building your own delivery platform for a number of reasons. First, you can get full control of your customer data, as delivery systems record names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and food preferences for each and every one of your customers. This information can be used to send your customers: personalized promotions, vouchers, updates to your menu, etc.
To build a good digital platform, you must identify the essential functionalities. A digital platform should include a website with a well-presented menu, an e-commerce system with a delivery tracker, and reliable customer service. Choosing a suitable and reliable digital platform is the most important step in this process. Fortunately, there are ready-made systems that can cover all the basics so you can create your own platform in a matter of hours / days.
2. Use All Available Online Ordering Tools
Another very effective alternative is to use the tools or applications at your disposal so that customers can easily find and order the products of your business. Here are some options:
Order food with Google ( Food Ordering with Google ): With this option, customers can discover and sort of your restaurant, directly from Google Maps, and Search Assistant. It will help you make yourself available to all Google users who specifically search for your restaurant and to those who search for terms related to your specialty or characteristics such as “pizza open now” or “newyork ribs to go”.
Yelp Ordering: This is a good alternative, even if you don’t like Yelp, it can be worth it as by using it, you allow orders to be sent to you. You can always disable it when this crisis passes.
Delivery: Customers can buy their lunch, food and even a bottle of wine, if there are no legal restrictions in your area. Delivery does not charge a delivery fee. The rate is based on distance and you can analyze to automatically share all or part of that amount with your clients.
Instead, the company takes a small percentage of the total order, through tips.
Instagram Orders ( Instagram Ordering ): This new Instagram feature allows customers to order directly from Instagram Stories and their Instagram profile.
3. Update Your Restaurant Data On Google
- Your status on Google, the world’s largest search tool, must be kept up to date. Make sure your customers have the latest information about your food business by following these steps:
- Change working hours: Update the exact time of operation when it will open and close.
- Mark “temporarily closed” only if your restaurant does not offer: “Dine-in”, “Take Out”, “Delivery” or “Pick-up”.
- Manage food options so your customers know if your restaurant offers takeout or delivery.
- Update your menu to attract more customers.
- Create an announcement on the website to communicate to customers for information updates.
- Use Google My Business so customers can easily contact you.
4. Promote The Good Quality Of Your Meals Through Photos
“A picture is worth a thousand words”, food lovers always have a good impression with restaurants or cafes that have impressive photos posted on Fanpage, Instagram, Website or Apps. Remember many times: The eyes eat first!
Clients are generally not looking for artistic and overly artificial photos. Typically, diners want to see the serving size, what the ingredients look like, and most likely if the food meets their expectations of how it should look.
If you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer, it doesn’t mean you don’t have photos of your meals online. Fortunately, there are tons of smartphone apps to help you with this. VSCO is the classic application that you can consider. It comes with presets and tools that will take your photos to the next level.
5. Add Offers Of Delivery (Delivery) Or Pick-Up.
Whether you’re working with a third-party marketplace, ordering online with a known vendor, or accepting orders over the phone, now is the time to adjust your menu to generate more sales.
Ordering food is often an emotion-based decision. Customers compare multiple options and if they do not have experience with the restaurant yet, they tend to compare, to the restaurant that offers its meals at the best prices, with cheaper / faster delivery or any extras (free drink / dessert).
Here are some ideas:
- People don’t like to pay shipping costs. It is good to set a minimum order value and if the customer exceeds it, offer free delivery.
- Collect information about birthdays and special occasions. Customers always enjoy some little extras (small gift – dessert) on their birthdays or, for example, on Women’s Day.
- Make sure you always deliver on time, this will undoubtedly get customers to keep asking you as they will be satisfied.
- Prepare discounts and promotions for your customers who have returned, to attract them to order with you again.
- Offer large-format or family-style takeout to move more inventory. Place it as an option to feed the whole family or freeze it for later.
- Create DIY kits that will last longer and provide a fun activity for families to do together. Some restaurants offer do-it-yourself packages of pizzas, pasta and sauce combinations, or even cookie decorating kits.
- Don’t forget the drinks! Delivery restrictions and pick-ups regarding alcohol vary according to local laws and licenses, but if you can add beer and wine to your menu, now is a good time.
- If your restaurant has branded products, such as t-shirts, mugs or hats, don’t forget to include them in your menu. Encourage your customers to show their support by purchasing one of the items.
- Keep your staff employed, making them your new delivery team
6. Build Loyalty With Your Old Clients And Look To Get New Ones
Connect with your existing customers and encourage word-of-mouth recommendations from them.
Use social media and email to spread the word about your updated takeaway offerings and make it clear to your customers that your restaurant wants to serve them and that you depend on their help.
All consumers love tasty food, interesting meal combos, free delivery, and new dishes to try. And you have a perfect opportunity to let them know that! Fortunately, as soon as you receive your customer’s first order, you have all the information you need about him or her – name, email address, phone number, and order history.
With the help of customer data, you can easily include it in one of your campaigns, which sends information about your promotions, limited offers, and menu updates. These campaigns can be sent as a series of emails, SMS, or a combination of both, to ensure that you reach your goal at the right time and place.
The more information about your customers’ behavior you have, the better you can target your goal and the more successful your campaigns will be.
7. Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Yourself
We are all stressed right now and it is easy for us to forget to pause, breathe, and rest. Here are some resources that can help you pamper yourself:
Headspace – This app offers a free collection of guided exercises and meditations.
- Crisis text line ( Crisis Text Line ): This line is free, with support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those in crisis. Send a text message to 741741 from anywhere in the US and you will be connected to a trained crisis advisor. Crisis consultants are trained to take texting users from hot weather to cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem solving.
- CDC : The Centers for Disease Control has a list of tips for managing stress and anxiety.
- Balance : This month, Balance offers a free one-year subscription. Using an audio library of thousands of files, Balance assembles custom meditations that you can take advantage of.
Finally, remember that it is up to you to assume the appropriate strategies so that your restaurant adapts to this new situation that we are experiencing. We hope that our advice has been useful for this new challenge and for you to achieve success.