5 Tips for Restaurants During the Pandemic

Has keeping your restaurant open and profitable been difficult in the past few months? In this article, Chef Ventures Group offers five tips to help you out.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been massive and devastating, especially in the restaurant industry. Food businesses whose income depended on dine-in customers experienced the heaviest blow, having little choice but to close down their business in the first few months of the pandemic response. The majority of the states in the country have reopened since May, but it has still been a difficult time for many food business owners. 

If your business also sustained heavy losses due to the pandemic, the best course of action at the moment is to adapt. The future is still uncertain, but there are a few things that we know:

  1. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and no one knows for sure when it will wane. 
  2. There’s no telling when it will be safe again for people to gather in public.
  3. After the world beats COVID-19, many things will have changed permanently, and we’ll face a new normal.

With these in mind, the only way to move forward would be to make changes wherever necessary and observe what you can adapt as your business’s new normal, whether it’s just for now or for the long term. 

If you need ideas on how to adapt and manage your restaurant so that it keeps turning a profit in today’s climate, we have five suggestions for you.

  1. Update your website and social media pages.

Don’t have a website yet? Now’s a good time to invest in one. Don’t have the capital for web design and development services? Go on social media, create official pages for your business if you haven’t done so, and get ready to promote there.

The point is to be present online. The pandemic has given birth to a thriving online buying and selling ecosystem. There can be room for you in this ecosystem; but first, you need to establish a presence. Then, you can advertise your new menu, new prices, or new promo for online orders. Your promotions will reach your regular customers (and new ones, too) without you having to leave your establishment or your home.

  1. Advertise online.

With so much competition online, advertising has become necessary. It’s a way to be sure that your target market sees your marketing content. Advertising costs money, but if you work with a savvy online advertising manager, you can still get excellent results from your limited budget. Here are some examples:

  • Higher online visibility
  • Visibility to targeted audiences
  • Leads generation
  • Reaching a wider audience regardless of geographical location 
  1. Do SEO to boost your online marketing

While your ads are actively promoting your business, your website also has to convert new and casual visitors into interested buyers. Optimize your site so that it can rank organically for search terms that are relevant to your business. 

SEO may not produce leads and traffic as quicky as paid ads, but any achievements for organic search results can stick for weeks, months, even years later. The best part is you don’t need to do everything on your own: you only have to find a capable and reliable SEO company that can do the job from start to finish, all for you.

  1. Promote with empathy

There is a noticeable trend among famous brands on Twitter in recent months. Many of them have dropped the formal and impersonal marketing tone and started speaking informally to their followers and the public instead. From exchanging light-hearted banter and joining in on trending topics to expressing their positions on social issues as candidly as possible, these brands have endeared themselves to the public. 

More than the candid tone and words, however, it’s the empathy that helped bridge the gap between these huge, million-dollar enterprises and the average Americans who are doing their best to stay employed and manage their finances. You can follow their lead. Be sensitive to what your customers are going through right now, talk naturally to them, and avoid making grandiose messages as they often end up being tone-deaf instead of inspiring

  1. Offer other products besides food.

There are specific types of food that do well with door-to-door delivery: fast food, baked goods, drinks, groceries, cakes, and specialty drinks. For menu items that must be served immediately or need seasonal ingredients, not so much. 

Now, what if one of the menu items you can’t offer through food delivery services is also one of your bestsellers? That will be a blow to your daily revenue. 

Here’s an alternative: sell non-food products that complement the food and drinks you sell online. Examples would be glass bottles for bar & restaurants and metal straws, spoons, and forks for coffee shops and milk tea cafes.

That rounds out our five management and marketing tips for restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to get more tips on how to navigate your industry during this time or discuss a different concern, our consultants will gladly receive your call. Contact Chef Ventures Group today.