Running a Restaurant & Surviving the Pandemic

Running a Restaurants & Surviving the Pandemic
In today’s climate, one of the, and if not THE, hardest hit industries is hospitality. More specifically, the independent restaurant businesses are suffering the worst at the moment.

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From the owner of the business themselves, all the way down to the waitress in the lobby and the server on the counter, every single person involved in working at a restaurant is feeling the pressure. 

Because of this, it’s important to stop and think for a little while. After all, there could be quite a few ways to survive such a hard hitting and cash poor period, and to be able to keep your employees on the payroll without having to furlough or worse.

These are difficult times, after all, and we all need to band together. 

Of course, these are just a few pointers that we believe could help someone like you out. If you’re someone who owns a restaurant, we want to share some of our marketing knowledge with you.

We’re aware of the fact that the power tips below won’t be enough to save a restaurant business entirely, but we hope we can help out even just a little. These are difficult times, after all, and we all need to band together. 

write a review on Yelp or Google Local

Your Patrons are Currently Sitting at Home… 

Which means they’re going to be on their computers or their tablets or their phones all day long, thanks to this quarantine. So, why not take the time now to reach out and get them to write a review on Yelp, Google Local or your review platform of choice?

…up to date online reviews indicate you’re still in business…

If you have plenty of testimonials on your side, and you put them pride of place on your website, you’ll be able to show off just how well you’re doing at maintaining your product quality. At a time like this, that’s key to ensuring customers take notice of you, even if they’ve never considered ordering from you before. 

Not to mention, up to date online reviews indicate you’re still in business, and when something is hot off the press, other potential customers will feel a lot more comfortable with bringing their custom to you. 

Start Email Campaigns

Start Email Campaigns 

Email campaigns can be used very effectively during a time like this. If you can set-up a modern slick newsletter, you’ll be in a good position to bring previous customers back into the business. 

They know what you’re like, they know what you’ve offered in the past, and they’d be keen to keep up with what you’re offering now… 

You’ll keep them aware of what you’re up to, as well as all of your new discounts and/or deals on food right now. That’s something enticing when most of your regular patrons would be stuck at home, with only scant few delivery services still operating as normally as possible. 

It’s these people you’ll want to send a good amount of your focus to right now. Remember, if you’re trying to build up your profits base, at any period in time, don’t let past patrons forget about you! They know what you’re like, they know what you’ve offered in the past, and they’d be keen to keep up with what you’re offering now. 

Turn to Social Media

Turn to Social Media 

Social media makes the world go round, especially when everyone is stuck at home and has nothing else to do right now. So, why not take the time to do a bit of research, and explore what can make a restaurant like yours stand out on these online social platforms? 

The more exposure you can drum up, the better! Which is why it’s key to look to social media platforms you don’t already have an account with. You want to be where the people are, which means you need to be present everywhere you can be. Why not sign up to a service like Tik Tok or Byte, with an account that represents your name? 

Get your name and face out there, and remind people what you can offer as a business. Food delivery companies are quite popular across video posting and streaming platforms, and business accounts exist to be put to good use at a time like this. But at the same time, do something funny, and make use of popular memes, to help bring some good will and notice to your business’s page. 

If you can make people laugh (especially at a time like this), they’re going to follow, and that means more and more people are going to know they can still order from you – even just 10% or 20% of them would work for profits. 

If You Haven’t Already, Get Your Restaurant Online

If You Haven’t Already, Get Your Restaurant Online

Of course, if you don’t already have an online platform for your business, it’s time to set one up. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about not having the right resources, budgets or skills on your side right now – you can set up a guerrilla or pop-up style website. A lot of websites hosts can be found online, most of which are freemium to use, so it won’t take coding knowledge to get a site like this off of the ground. For example you can get a store up and running on Shopify for about $30 a month… all in!

These are both quick forms of an eCommerce website that can take orders; post links to it across your social media, which you most likely created on day one, and are prime for ensuring at least a few of your customers notice your new food ordering portal/s. 

Partner with Food Ordering Platforms

Another thing you can do, to get yourself online and in the upper echelons of exposure, is to partner with food ordering and delivery platforms. Quite a few of these already exist, and it’s very easy to sign up and get going – it can even be done in a matter of minutes, if not just a couple of days. 

We’re sure you’ve heard of these kinds of platforms before. Popular ones include websites like Uber-eats, GrubHub, DoorDash and Deliveroo, but there are more than just these options, if there’s something in the terms and conditions you’re not a fan of. 

However, we highly recommend signing up for at least one of these services right now; they offer free delivery for your business on all orders, as either the customer will foot the bill, and these platforms make use of couriers of their own. 

Look at Minimizing or Creating a New Online Menu

Look at Minimizing or Creating a New Online Menu

If you already offer food online, and you’re struggling to put your orders together at the moment, you can try to minimize your current menu. Offer your most popular products, to help take pressure off of your kitchen, especially when you potentially do not have the access to all of the right ingredients. You might be running low on certain things, and have too much of others, and to ensure things don’t go to waste, it’s time to rearrange that menu of yours!

Similarly, you could create a new online menu. You have the creative skills to knock-up a great new menu made with sustainable and/or non-perishable products, and be sure to offer drinks too. The more you can offer right now, even with the need to source sustainable, potentially more local products, the better your profits are going to look on the other side. As we mentioned above, it’s important to band together at a time like this, and that means focusing on what’s around you for more than just quarantining purposes. 

Spring Clean

Spring Clean

Spring cleaning is always going to be important to the hospitality business. If something a customer is going to use when eating isn’t clean, all kinds of trouble can come your way. So, whilst you’ve got the time, do something to take your hygiene rating to the next level. 

First of all, clean that kitchen. Commercial kitchen cleaning is, of course rigorous, but you’ve got the time and the free staff right now to do something rigorous! Pull those appliances out and clean behind them, make sure the floors are thoroughly mopped and sanitized, and even think about cleaning up and patching the tables and chairs (or booths) in the lobby where the customers are usually seated. 

You could also think about starting all of those delayed projects you’ve been putting off for months now – those wall stains that you hate looking at, cleaning the lights that are high on the ceiling and might be covered in all kinds of dust, see to any broken doors, and make sure you deep clean the restaurant’s toilets too. 

Going through a process like this (can really help mentally too), will ensure you’re more than ready for a re-launch, when you get the chance to start up again normally, and people are able to flood the streets and come to dine at their Favorite restaurant. 

Well, there you have it. Surviving the pandemic as a restaurant business is going to take all of the effort and energy you have under your belt, and we wanted to help out with just a few pointers for anyone interested in them. We sincerely hope the advice above can help you out, and/or inspire some ideas for what you can do during a time like this.

Be sure to reach out to us for any other advice; we have a lot of marketing knowledge for you to put to good use within your business, and we’d love to help. Contact Easthall Design.

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