Restaurants are some of the problematic businesses during this pandemic. Studies show that about 70% of independent businesses might eventually close.
The situation might be dire, but don’t lose hope. There are many ways to grow your business and even thrive in the middle of a pandemic:
1. Assure Your Customers of Safety
Even if the government eases restrictions, you cannot expect people to come in droves immediately. Even though they miss your restaurant, they are also scared and cautious to go out.
If you want them to come, then you need to assure them that your place is safe. Here’s how to do it:
- Follow the state guidelines. Most will soften rules in phases. For example, they might allow only half of your customers to dine.
- Do your best to keep your employees safe. Keep in mind these are the people who will often interact with your customers. Check their temperature before they come in. Don’t let them come if they’re sick. Practice social distancing. Strongly recommend frequent washing of hands to them.
- Be innovative. In China, some restaurants use robots to serve food. In Thailand, diners eat with panda dolls to entertain or make them feel less lonely since they might not dine with friends and family. Other places use glass-wall partitions.
Once you already have health protocols in place, don’t forget to remind your customers about this. Use them to promote your business. Make safety a selling point for your restaurant.
2. Don’t Stop Spending on Promotions
The COVID-19 pandemic is shutting down businesses and forcing owners to be more frugal with their spending. Unfortunately, some make the mistake of cutting off their budget for marketing.
Instead of doing that, now is a good time to realign your financial resources to strategic and thoughtful marketing strategies. For example, Stock & Draw provides custom-printed takeout bags. These bags are made from paper, which makes them not only sturdy but also eco-friendly. A CPG survey revealed that customers would spend more on sustainable packaging.
You can also strengthen your digital marketing strategies since more people are spending more time at home and browsing the Internet. Get active on social media or open an e-commerce store using Shopify.
3. Consider Broadening Their Options
Just because you’re a restaurant doesn’t mean customers need to dine to eat your food. In this pandemic, you can bring your business to them in many ways:
- Offer curbside deliveries.
- Create a separate booth for takeouts.
- Provide private-catering menus.
- Consider launching a subscription program.
In a subscription program, customers pay for a week-long menu. Doing this will help you save money as you know what food to cook. You can also expect your earnings for the week.
4. Shift to Other Methods of Earning
“Pivot” is the buzzword these days for a good reason: you might not be able to rely on your traditional business model. As a restaurant, you can explore other ways of boosting your income:
- Provide video tutorials on how to cook your signature dishes for a fee.
- Create a membership club. Your members will then have access to freebies, videos, and cooking tips, to name a few.
- Sell fresh produce. You can offer them as bundles or allow your customers to pick their favorite fruits and veggies. As an upside, you can help your suppliers, who might be struggling, too.
The journey will be tough, but opportunities are also abundant. With creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness, you can beat this virus and let your restaurant live.