7 Tips to Succeed as a Restaurant During the Post-Covid Reopening.
We have all come across sad stories over the past few months that an iconic family run restaurant that had been operating for the past few decades had to shut shop owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Retaining and adding new clientele to your existing restaurant business seems more of a challenge now than ever before especially with all the minefield of regulations around Covid-19.
However, on a closer inspection of the industry we can notice that there has been a massive shift in restaurant dynamics. The restaurants that have battled the tides of the pandemic the best have adapted to these new dynamics of the market, by being more efficient with their resources and creative with their promotions.
Now as major chunks of population have been vaccinated and government restrictions on restaurant could be loosened a bit, here are some innovative approaches restaurants can take to sail through the holiday period and beyond.
1. Scream you are “Covid Proof”
All restaurants and Cafes have to adhere to strict government guidelines to function appropriately, only difference is some restaurants promote that phenomenon more than others. If as a restaurant you can win over the customers anxiety of providing a safe dining environment, that can boost footfall drastically.All that it takes is a little attention to detail; having sanitizers at multiple contact points, socially distanced dining tables, appropriate Covid signage, masked & trained staff members and outdoor dining options when feasible. If you can demonstrate that the safety of customers is your highest priority and you never exceed your legal occupancy rate you are ahead of the curve already.
cottonbro via Pexels
2. Strengthen the new backbone of the restaurant business
Norma Mortenson via Pexels
As more and more customers prefer to have restaurant cooked meals at home, no restaurant can survive this new world order without a substantial presence on Delivery and Take-away services.
This reflects on how many restaurants have added delivery services with 31% of business planning to invest further to expand their delivery services. This highlights a trend that with the uncertainties in dine-in within restaurants the delivery approach might be the new avenue to rake in the moolah. With most restaurants collaborating with third party services or building their own delivery portal having a fine-tuned delivery system is a must for any restaurant.
3. Keep the Drinks flowing
Favourite cocktails at home- Tarryn Elliot via Pexels
Gone are the days when restaurant delivery only meant food. With the slew of new Gastro-pubs and Cocktail bars we have gotten accustomed to, the thing that customers miss the most is their beloved Pint of Guinness on tap or perhaps their favorite cocktail.
The next best thing to having your favorite drink at a restaurant is having the drink delivered to your doorstep. Restaurants should consider delivering Beer pints, Mini kegs, Exclusive Wines or Pre-made cocktail jugs.
Deliver a good weekend drinks experience from home and get creative with promotions. Organize a weekly wine/whiskey tasting and have yourself standing out from herd. Selling large volume of drinks across the weekends and festive season will boost your revenues due to good profit margins on drinks
4. Unique DIY products
Bao at home kit via https://baolondon.com/shop/
Let’s face it some foods are best eaten right of the grills like that juicy burger or a rack of BBQ ribs. What is the fix ? DIY restaurant kits ! Restaurants should encourage customers to recreate the magic of delicious food in their own kitchen.
Having the convenience of whipping up your favorite Taco meal or grilling your favorite cheese burger on a Tuesday is lifechanging. So go on and get your thinking caps on to figure our what DIY kits you can promote for your restaurant. A Christmas Turkey with Cranberry Jam kit could be a good start.
5. Keep your customers close but staff closer.
Pressmaster via Pexels
“A restaurant can only be as good as it’s staff” this quote reflects a lot about the restaurant industry. Meeting delivery orders, handling tricky customers and cooking delicious food all of this requires a group of motivated staff members.
Retaining the best staff will be crucial to the success of any restaurant. With the rising trend in staff having hours cut or being furloughed altogether the hospitality business doesn’t seem like the most lucrative employment option at the moment.
In a situation like this a business owner needs to sail a tight ship, it is recommend to have a close knit group of staff that form a base for your restaurant. Being transparent, having them involved in the business process and giving them a sense of ownership within the business could make your business flourish in these difficult times.
6. Loyalty bonuses
Jill Wellington via Pexels
If you believe in Santa or not, one thing is for sure everyone loves to be rewarded with little perks and bonuses. The fact that 84% customers stick to a brand that offers a great loyalty program shows why it’s imperative that restaurants recognize and reward customer loyalty.
Restaurants could have a loyalty card or custom delivery app that offers special discounts for repeat customers. Also with more people working from home these days having a loyal customers base that orders food regularly will give your business stability.
7. Go witty and digital
Dominika Roseclay via Pexels
Let’s face in today’s day and age no business can be successful without a strong digital marketing strategy. For the the above steps to work your digital strategy needs a bit of tweaking, it’s worthwhile having an agency help you out or hiring an expert for online promotions.
A good start would be a strong presence on all major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Posting weekly content and engaging with the customers is a sure shot way to bump up your reach and gain new customers.
Also high quality images of your food and restaurant is a must as a picture is worth more than a thousand words. You can rotate these images across various social media platforms and promote them as your ‘Dish of the Week’, ‘Cocktail of the Week’ and run special promo discounts for those items.
Pixabay via Pexels
The scope of a good digital marketing strategy for a restaurant is endless. Just try to be creative and offer something different from your competition.
“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
Hopefully, these tips will help with customer retention and attracting new customers during the post-covid era..
Feel free to comment with your own ideas and experiences on how to come streamline your restaurant business for success.
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