Tips for Restaurants to Thrive Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

As we all know, due to the COVID-19 outbreak most countries had imposed a complete lockdown in most of their states.

No doubt that this lockdown was the need of the hour, but due to this step taken, most businesses around the world have taken a major hit. 

The restaurant business is no exception.

Right now restaurants are operating partially for delivery and take-outs.

Even after the lockdown is lifted the government still has many restrictions on restaurants.

Besides, people themselves are scared to venture out. 

It’s unlikely that too many people would think to dine-in at restaurants for the foreseeable future.

So what should a restaurant owner do in such tough times?

It’s actually very simple! The answer is to constantly engage their patrons on online platforms.

There are in fact many ways in which you can keep your patrons loyal to your restaurant even in your downtime.

So without further ado, let’s dive into some of the strategies!

Create engaging content

You must’ve read this quote many times, but it just never gets old, “content is king”.

Yes, you should try to create unique and original content. It’s a great way to engage your customers online even when your restaurant is shut.

Thinking of what kind of content would intrigue your audience? Okay, let’s delve into that bit now.

Give your guests a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes

Your guests not only love your food but they love the whole vibe that your restaurant has.

So take them in the dining room and kitchen and answer things that your guests would love to know about you.

Here are a few ideas:
- Tell them the story of how you started the restaurant.
- What was the inspiration behind starting a restaurant.
- Interview your chefs and other staff on how it is like to be part of your team. You could do this via skype or zoom.

Share how you’re dealing with the current situation

It’s important to show your guests the human side of your restaurant. So if you’ve taken some extra measures to support your staff then you might as well put it across on social platforms. In fact, you can put the story on your website as well.

Remember, guests really like to see the human side of your restaurant, especially in these times, so don’t be afraid to publicize such stories.

Share recipes, host live cooking shows  

With so much time at hand currently, people would be more than happy to learn something new. So how about you teach them to make the most beloved dish in your restaurant?

Have a special recipe to prepare your famous Apple Pie?

Then post the recipe with pictures on your social channels explaining how to prepare it step-by-step.

Have a recipe to prepare your delicious Hamburger patty? Go live on Facebook showing your patrons how to make it that finger-licking good.

This is what Gordon Ramsey has been doing for restaurants recently.

You might think that why would your guests come to your restaurant if they learn to cook these dishes themselves.

But remember I’m not asking you to give away all your secrets, for example, your secret sauce.

Again, you have an expert chef by your side, so this activity is only to engage your audience.

In fact, it would entice them to come to you when you reopen fully.

Feature your customers on social media

Are your customers posting about takeouts and delivery orders?

If yes, then re-post what they’re posting on your own channel.

An example of how it’s done is here:

This is how a restaurant called Crossroads Kitchen did it on their social handle.

You can also ask your customers what kind of content they would like to see by asking them to tweet or create a poll on your Instagram story.

Setup an eCommerce website

People are going to be reluctant to visit your restaurant.

So it’s best that you have a platform where people can directly place their orders.

All you need to do is to have your dishes as products on your site.  

You might think that listing on Uber Eats and other apps would do the job, but let me tell you it’s not good enough.

On such apps, you are competing with other restaurants whereas when you have a website you set yourself apart from the rest.

It’s your own space where you have an opportunity to personalize everything. Like you might like to publish chef bio’s.  

Again, your website could have a blog which has engaging content and also an email capturing device, through which you could build a mailing list.

Use Facebook advertising to market your restaurant

Since you can’t use flyers to advertise door to door, Facebook is indeed the best way to market your restaurant in your locality.

It has various targeting options to choose from. You can literally target people around the place your restaurant is located in.

Moreover, it gives you an option to target by gender, age etc.

Needless to say that you should take advantage of this platform in such times as most people are spending their time online.

Learn from other restaurants that are leveraging digital marketing

Host social media contests

Fatburger a well known burger joint, encourages people to order more by offering prizes and meals to customers who tag them in their posts or stories.

Here’s their creative.

Share recipes of favorite menu items

If your kitchen is closed right now, you can still build awareness, goodwill and community by sharing recipes on social media.

This will keep customers loyal to you and they’ll rush back to you when you reopen.

This is what Saxon + Parole of NYC did to engage their audiences:

Hopefully, this article has given you a plan that you can action during this time of crisis.

These are some ideas which you can do by yourself.

Having said that, if you have any issues executing any of the strategies mentioned above feel free to contact us.

Pigtail Pundits has been serving clients just like you for 23 years now! So we can do this and more for you.

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