Every state has it’s own guidelines and regulations for restaurants operating during COVID-19. It is very important to follow these strictly and restaurants should be up to date on monthly, weekly, and/or daily updates. During the pandemic, examine how your restaurant can become creative and boost sales when your restaurant does reopen.
First and foremost is to communicate with your customers. Are your hours of operation different to compensate for cleaning or downtime, do you offer patio dining, have you made dining room rearrangements to increase the distance between tables, are you running special pickup offers? The options are endless, but the important thing is that your customers are made aware of what your restaurant establishment is doing to reopen during COVID-19.
The best communication options are:
- Keep your website up to date with relative information. An outdated website during a pandemic will turn away potential customers that you desperately need at this time. Most will just assumed you are closed or perhaps closed your doors altogether if the information is not correct. Consider it your business card.
- Post new updates on your social media outlets. If you have a social media account (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) keep updated as your restaurant makes changes. Social media is great source of communication and where most customers will go to ask questions they may have.
- Update your Google My Business account. If setup correctly, your Google My Business will be the first thing potential and regular customers will see when searching online. Google has even released specific types of posts featuring COVID-19 specific related updates for restaurants and businesses. It is especially important to check your listing from a customers view. Are your restaurant’s hours correct, is your website linked, dining options such as dine-in, takeout, or delivery correctly listed?
- Communicate any new changes through your email marketing lists. Email marketing is a great way to release changes and or news regarding your restaurant. The emails on your list are customers who have already proven they are interested in your restaurant, because they chose to already signup to receive your news. If you are running a weekend delivery special, make sure your loyal customer base is aware of it by sending out an email marketing campaign.
- Website comment and/or contact forms. If you have not already, post a comment or contact form on your site where customers can easily reach out to you online. It is not just enough to have one on your website; be sure you (or someone on staff) is actively checking and responding to the submissions received.
If you need assistance with any of the items above, contact the SIDEKICK team. Please review our internet marketing solutions for a more in-depth of each offering we can provide. Although they may seem small, each one of these communication techniques can greatly help to reach your customers.
Host Online Events
You may not be able to be at full capacity during COVID-19, but everyone is still trying to find new and fun activities while staying at home. Take this advantage to offer some online events that you can charge a reservation fee for. This is especially true for those restaurants that may have been doing in-person events prior to the shutdown. Or restaurants with larger event space or private dining rooms that are going unused. While it may take some logistics and pre-event leg work, you may be presently surprised with the results. Just think, you don’t even have to be local to join! Some ideas include:
- Online cooking classes
- Wine and art nights
- Guest Foodie/Blogger sit-downs
- Chef/owner Q&As
- Virtual wine tastings
- Cocktail making tutorials
Get creative and think outside of the box!
Offer Online Ordering
With so many people opting for takeout rather than dine-in, online ordering is here to stay. If you are not already offering online ordering, contact SIDEKICK. A custom online ordering system with zero commission fees will increase your restaurant’s profit while dining rooms remain closed or restricted.
COVID-19 has hit the restaurant industry like no one could have imagined. Make sure your restaurant is prepared as you begin to reopen. Check these resources to educate yourself and your staff during these unprecedented times: