Post-COVID-19, restaurant operators are scrambling to come up with strategies to get their customers back into their restaurant. As more of our favourite restaurants prepare to reopen, it’s inevitable that many will struggle to rebuild what was lost during lockdown.
We’ve had wonderful opportunities working alongside some American restaurants who have successfully been able to reopen and welcome guests back into their stores. As more of our Canadian clients turn to us for guidance on how to reopen their restaurants with confidence, we want to shed some light on what this transition period is going to look like and provide some recommendations on what you should consider before reopening your store.
As much as we would love for things to bounce back to “normal”, we need to face the reality that success in the restaurant industry post-COVID-19 is going to look different.
Adjust Your Vision of “Success”
Shifting your focus to take-out and/or delivery will be significant to your business’ “new normal”. Many restaurant operators hesitate in having their business on third-party delivery sites due to high service fees and you should know that this isn’t your only option.
Many customers are opting to pick-up their orders to save money and ensure their food is hot. By providing take-out and/or curbside pick-up, your business can keep the full revenue of each order.
We highly recommend implementing e-commerce (online ordering) to your website. Not only would you maintain an ordering relationship with your customers, but you would also be saving on the service fees charged by third-party delivery apps. With online ordering, you could have customers placing orders for take-out, curbside pick-up or for your own delivery service.
This business shift to take-out and/or delivery will be an investment that will stay profitable to you post-COVID-19. If we look back at what things looked like pre-COVID-19, a good portion of restaurant sales were already shifting towards the take-out / delivery business model.
If you’re looking at making this change for your business, you’ll also need to re-evaluate your existing menu offerings and food costing. We’re happy to help expand or re-develop your menu content and implement e-commerce to your existing website.
Health and safety guidelines will vary from state to state / province to province and needless to say, you need to prepare your employees for the frontlines (if you haven’t already).
Here is a short list of things to consider:
Contactless and Disposable Menus
Offer and encourage touch-free ordering through your website or an app. Display washable decals on tables to direct customers to view your online or digital menus. Print recyclable menus or placemats that can be disposed of after each use to ensure a safe and sanitary ordering experience for your customers.
Seize the Opportunity to Prepare
In the next few phases of reopening, we might expect patios to reopen in the warmer months at 50% capacity to maintain physical distancing before interior dining rooms can re-open and it never hurts to be prepared.
Manage Customer Expectations and Reassure Customers of Brand Promise
Instill confidence in your customers by communicating your approach and that you are committed to doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19, while upholding the safety of both your employees and customers.
Stay informed. Research and ensure you are keeping up-to-date with government guidelines and mandatory protocols in your area.
Educate your customers of the measures you’re upholding to keep them safe and what changes they can expect when dining in your restaurant, visiting for take-out, ordering for curbside pick-up or contactless delivery. Reassure them that everything they love about your restaurant is staying the same.
It’s especially important as your business and your customers transition out of lockdown that you are smart and responsible with the words and imagery you choose in your marketing.
Make a Plan and Take Action
Going forward, things are bound to be different. The COVID-19 pandemic hit hard, but it will be over soon. People say that with change comes uncertainty, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Seize this opportunity to prepare and make a plan to move forward. Evaluate your options and take action. Let’s work together to stay safe and build confidence in your customers!
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Here are some quick links to services we can provide for your business during and post-COVID-19: