Covid’ 19: 7 Tips for Restaurants to Survive the Coronavirus Crisis

With governments starting to ease the Coronavirus (Covid) induced restrictions to a certain extent, restaurants are re-evaluating their options on how to go about their businesses.

Should they re-open the shutters (for deliveries and online ordering) or should they hold on and wait for further notice? Should they resume customer acquisition strategies across digital media? Should they be investing in their own order online channels to bring in greater streams of orders?

In the last 2 months, restaurants across the world have had to deal with a large number of challenges- namely high rentals, salary payments and limited number of incoming orders. Restaurants need to amend their strategies in order to survive this period. This article will present 7 tips to help restaurants adapt and respond with minimal spends.

Tip #1 Set up / Update your online ordering information

Online ordering is undoubtedly the lifeline of your restaurant amidst the current times. How do you make your order online system stand out, increase orders and drive business?

First- have you set up your order online? Build your website and app, link it to an order online platform so that you can accept direct orders.

Second- Update your order online info on Google and Social media and you’re good to go.

Third- Run a few ad campaigns to drive visibility on your platform, tell your customers that they can now order directly from you.

Tip #2 Update your online menu

Your menu surely needs. a little jig now. People want the assurance of safe and hygienic food and deliPeople are stuck at home so they want to see something just for them.

Mcdonalds has a special “Stay Home” addition to their menu.

Stay Home Combos to click with the customer’s wants.

Pizza hut gives the promise of safe through its contactless delivery option.

Contactless Delivery for safety standards.

Make your order online platform as irresistible as possible, that compels your customers to order from you.

Tip #3 List out the most effective ways of optimising spends

This is perhaps the most important question that restaurant owners are asking themselves. Can we survive this? How long do I have to burn my cash? How much money can I shell out from my pocket to keep my business afloat?

To answer this, consider the following.

Have you minimised spends across inoperable channels like Dine-in (spends in terms of active staff and high rents)? If delivery is the only way you can still receive orders, are you doing enough to reach out to your customers? What are the most effective channels where the success rate is highest?

it is important that you optimise your spends across platforms and identify both high and low performing units so that you can make the necessary updates to your strategies. Fine-tune your inventory requirements, keep a track of your channel spends and monthly fixed costs and see if you can make your operational leaner.

Tip #4 Post stories of inspiration

Restaurants should speak about how they are helping out the community. Customers around the world are dependent on online orders for their daily meals. At a time like this, restaurants have stepped up and reached out to serve the nation.

Zomato ran a social media campaign on how they respect their delivery personnel for carrying out this essential service.

Besides offering round the clock deliveries, there are stories of restaurants giving donations and meals to hospitals, daily-wage labourers. Restaurants have even helped out groceries and retail stores in transporting/storing goods. Do share such stories of inspiration on your social handles and website for your customers to see.

Tip #5 Educate your consumers about your hygiene practices

Consumers are concerned about the quality of hygiene. The restaurant industry has seen an upsurge in online orders, however people are more cautious and more aware than ever. In this et-up it is extremely important that restaurants update their hygiene standards.

Mcdonalds has clearly laid out safety and hygiene practices

Hygiene at the restaurants- Staff making use of soap and hand sanitisers frequently

Delivery- Riders ensuring cleanliness and hygiene at all times

Use your social media handles to spread awareness on how safe your food is and the practices you follow to combat coronavirus. You can be more detailed with your packaging material- telling your customers about your safety standards and the extra steps you’re taking. This could include kitchen hygiene, staff hygiene, sanitisation steps, delivery guidelines.

Tip #6 More Digital Marketing and Promotions

Ramp up your digital marketing and consider running offers and promotions campaigns. Grab attention of your customers through your online presence. Reach out to your customers via planned digital marketing. Update your online information, delivery hours. Plan out campaigns with your existing customers. Let them know of your latest offers and promotions

Acquire new customers via ads on social and google. Customers are spending much more time online than ever before. Be it Youtube, Instagram or Google, restaurants should ensure they are there where their customers are. Not running ads on these platforms is an opportunity lost of connecting with your audience. Check out this resource for structuring your digital marketing plan better!

Digital marketing for Restaurants- 9 tips and ideas to try out in 2020

Tip #7 Communicate more with your customers.

Be active in talking to your customers. Use your CRM channel to reach out to your loyal customers through good solid communications. Make an automated text and email content strategy that helps keep your brand alive in the minds of customers who frequented your outlets before.

Ensure that your followers on your social media handles see what you have to offer on a regular basis.

Communication can be around a host of things

One- Latest promotions

Two- Improved Hygiene standards

Three- Stories of your staff

Four- Your customer’s favourite dishes

Summing Up

Times like these need a measured approach on how to go about your daily business. With the coronavirus spreading across the world and cases still on the rise, restaurants may need to hold on a little more before resuming operations like before. In the meanwhile, keeping a close check over spends and opening up avenues that are doing well are important. Hope this article helped you get a feeler of what all you should be doing during this period. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. More power to you!

Aditya Sarkar

Aditya Sarkar is a Marketing Manager at LimeTray. When he isn't being a Marketer, he likes solo-travelling, playing all kinds of sports and chilling out with friends! He's reachable at aditya.sarkar@limetray.com