With slim profit margins and stiff competition, surviving in the restaurant industry is no piece of cake. Add a global pandemic to the mix and the challenge intensifies.
Fortunately, restaurant managers are finding ways to retool and lift profits in light of unforeseen challenges. Problems abound but so do creative solutions! Dig into ideas for restaurants during COVID in this handy guide.
Reopening Roadmap: Ideas for Restaurants During Covid
Adapting to the changing needs of consumers is key when staying afloat during COVID. These revenue-boosting ideas for reopening restaurants communicate your care for both employees and customers.
1. Let Take Out Take Center Stage
With ever-changing rules and regulations surrounding dining during COVID, keeping up is a full-time job. This is why some restaurants are turning to a take out centered model. While customers can still come into the facility, they are there simply to pick up an order and then take their food home.
Contactless ordering via phone scan menus or tablets in the restaurant allow customers to place an order in real time and then wait inside or outside until the meal is ready. Health-focused casual eatery Flower Child implemented this model in one location and dramatically reduced the need for wait staff.
2. Minimize Risk with Strategic Scheduling
Protecting staff should be a top priority. As you reopen, schedule employees in specific groups and ensure that they all stick to the schedule. By creating these bubbles, you form a layer of protection for the crew.
If someone tests positive for COVID, you can look at the shift group and know exactly which employees are at risk and need testing. Separating these groups limits transmission and helps avoid major staff shortages. When these shortages do occur, utilize on-demand staffing to fill in the gaps.
3. Incentivize Group Orders
Large delivery orders can help offset losses you incur as fewer diners come in, so attracting families or groups of friends is a great strategy. Changing up the menu to offer family size options of popular dishes is one way to do so. Let hungry locals know that their favorites are now bigger and better.
Another option is to integrate with food delivery apps that offer a “group order” feature. This allows multiple people to place a combined order through one individual in the group. Doordash, GrubHub and UberEats are just a few that include this nifty tool. Run promotions featuring discounts, BOGO items or added rewards points for group orders to encourage people to place them.
Your Toolkit for Marketing a Restaurant During Covid
These impactful marketing ideas for restaurants during COVID make a difference for your community and your bottom line.
1. Put a DIY Spin on Takeout
Revamp your menu offerings without adding a thing. Turning menu items into meal kits that customers can assemble at home is a great way to add a fun flair to the usual takeout process.
Whether it’s an at-home cocktail kit, a build your own smoothie bowl or other delicious fare, diners will have everything they need to put their meal together at home. Market these in email blasts and on social media platforms to build excitement and showcase how others are getting creative with their at-home kits.
2. Support the Community
If you’re experiencing lulls at regular times throughout the week, this next strategy can help. Let customers know that specific times or days will be “giving days” in which a portion of proceeds from sales will benefit a local charity.
From business closures to high unemployment rates, communities are hurting in the midst of the pandemic. Display your commitment to the community and encourage diners to stop by to support others in the area. You’ll get more customers during previously sparse times of day and give back to the community. A win-win!
3. Add SEO to Your Marketing Mix
Hoping to expand your customer base? Then it’s time to get serious about your restaurant’s online visibility. As people are out and about less often these days, being easy to find online is more important than ever.
To improve your chances of showing up in local searches, head to your Google My Business profile to make sure all your information is up to date. That way, searchers can see whether you offer delivery, take out, dine in or a combination of the three. Then, head over to your website and see where improvements can be made.
Focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) helps your business rank higher on the results page when people search for restaurants like yours. So fix technical errors on your site, utilize tools like Google Search Console to see what keywords you’re ranking for and add engaging content to give your restaurant a digital boost.
Think Outside the (Lunch) Box With Qwick
Staying flexible is key when reopening a restaurant during COVID. Meet these modern challenges with an innovative solution like Qwick.
When hiring new staff is not financially feasible or sickness causes employee shortages, turn to Qwick for quality professionals at a moment’s notice. Adapt to staff shortages with ease. Get started with Qwick today!