The restaurant industry has always been competitive, but now with the ongoing global pandemic many restaurants and food businesses are finding it even more difficult to continue to make a profit. That being said, if you’re willing to be creative and make adjustments to your strategy and business model, it’s possible to survive even a prolonged slowdown. While it can be challenging to implement major changes like building a new online ordering system or developing an entirely new marketing strategy, the extra work will make a difference in your bottom line. Read on for some simple tips for running a more effective restaurant in this economic climate.
Improve your facilities.
It’s often the little things that customers notice, like having some snacks at the bar or, at a sit-down restaurant, having a coffee or water jug dispenser in the foyer when they’re waiting for a table. Your goal should be to make everyone who comes into your space as comfortable as possible during their visit. Customers also notice things like whether your restroom facilities are modern and clean and how high the quality of the furniture and decor is. Many also generally respond poorly to being made to wait a long time, so make sure you hire enough staff to provide efficient service to your patrons.
Simplify service for your customers.
The easier you make it for your customers to patronize your business, the more likely it is that they will do so. If you don’t already have one, consider using an online ordering system for restaurants. Online orders have been on the rise for awhile, but COVID-19 has made it the preferred option, and a safer one, for many customers. Make sure your restaurant is available to accept orders on major platforms like GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, ChowNow, and Postmates. It’s unclear how long the pandemic will continue to impose restrictions on dining, so expect to rely on takeout sales in a significant way for the foreseeable future. An online ordering system can streamline orders from various delivery systems into a single POS (point of sale) so that you’re not toggling back and forth between delivery orders from DoorDash and Uber Eats. Given that reality, it’s also important to have your own website for your restaurant, so customers can find you online and learn about your menu.
Make sure you’re offering quality customer support and service, as poor handling of a situation when something goes wrong can lead to poor reviews online that can harm your restaurant brand. With thousands of potential customers using the internet to learn more before they order from a new restaurant, you want to ensure that the results that come up when people search for yours are positive.
Use creative marketing.
If you’re putting in the effort to improve your business and try to offer new services, you need to let your customers know. If your restaurant is new to online sales, it’s even more essential that you invest in advertising. If you have an email list, design an announcement and inform your customers which delivery platforms your food will be available on and consider offering coupons or discounts to encourage them to give it a try. Unique promotions and useful discounts attract more repeat customers and create brand loyalty.
Making your restaurant stand out in a crowded industry can be difficult, but it’s worth the investment of energy and time so you can improve your bottom line. Now, with COVID-19 and ongoing restrictions on dining out, improving your service with an online ordering system, unique email marketing, and attractive promotions for first-time and frequent customers, offering a simple and safe customer experience is more important than ever, and developing consumer trust in your business is the best way to create repeat customers. With some ingenuity and a modern approach to marketing, ordering, and sales, you’ll find that your restaurant is running more effectively than ever.