Restaurant owners have been operating in crisis mode ever since the novel coronavirus first appeared in the United States in late February. Many states ordered all dine-in services to cease immediately by mid-March, forcing owners to adopt a takeout, drive-thru, or delivery model overnight.
However, they have had little choice if they want to survive and open their doors again when the threat of the virus passes. Below are several tips for restaurant owners to keep revenue flowing during this challenging time.
Update Local Business Listings
There’s nothing more frustrating for consumers than driving to a business expecting it to be open only to find that it’s not. During the coronavirus crisis, it’s important for restaurant owners to update hours of availability as well as whether customers can dine in or must order their food to go. Restaurant owners should be sure to state whether a limited menu is in place during the closure as well.
Including a statement describing steps the restaurant takes to ensure diner safety also helps them feel more secure in ordering food there and promotes trust that will last long after the pandemic is over. The most obvious places to include this information are social media accounts, Yelp reviews, Google My Business, and related online platforms.
Use Social Media to Remain Relevant
People can forget about closed restaurants when they can’t visit them for dine-in services for weeks or months. Social media is a good way to remind them that good food is still available, albeit on a takeout basis only. Instagram can be especially useful for this since it allows large color photos. By consistently posting photos of new or existing menu items, restaurants can remind people they still exist and can quickly provide them with a freshly cooked meal.
Create Special Offers
People love to feel appreciated, and what better way to do that than offering a discount on their takeout meal? It can inspire those who were debating whether to pick up some food to go ahead and do so while also rewarding both new and repeat customers. Just because a restaurant is closed for in-person dining doesn’t mean the staff can’t come up with some new dishes. In fact, creating new offerings with coronavirus-related names might even bring a much-needed smile to their faces.
Sign Up with Third-Party Delivery Services
While more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs during this pandemic, companies like Uber Eats and Grub Hub are busier than ever. That makes sense considering they pick up food from restaurants and deliver it to customers. For restaurant owners that haven’t yet partnered with at least one delivery service, now is the perfect time to sign up.
People may tire of driving to pickup takeout themselves, but many are willing to pay someone else to do it for the convenience of not having to cook. Some may even discover they appreciate it so much that they continue to use food delivery services even after restaurants reopen.
The current crisis is likely the most challenging one most restaurant owners have ever faced. It takes commitment and creativity to weather this storm, but the result is a restaurant that thrives once restrictions lift as opposed to one that closes its doors forever.