5 Ways for Restaurants to Be Successful During COVID-19
With so many restaurants forced to close down because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s no wonder restaurant owners are scrambling to find solutions to stay in business and increase profits despite this constant threat. Both in the middle of lockdown and during its aftermath, some restaurants have managed to remain successful and preserve their clients.
Inspired by them, below you will find 5 ideas through which you, as a restaurant owner or manager, can add to your profits and keep attracting new customers, as well as keeping old ones satisfied during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Switch to online ordering for takeout and delivery
From takeout and delivery being a side gig for most restaurants and non-existent for others, in the COVID era, it has turned into an essential way of keeping your business alive. Regardless of whether or not you’ve opened your doors to customers, you should still capitalize on the opportunity that takeout and delivery provide.
Online ordering in the middle of a pandemic looks quite different. Still, your first concern should be to choose the right tool for you. Luckily, there are plenty of online ordering systems that you can choose from that help you avoid the commissions cashed by third-party food ordering apps.
Once you’ve set up the online ordering function, think of how you can make takeout and delivery more secure for your customers. Many restaurants now offer 100% contactless delivery as well as other fulfillment options such as curbside pickup or drive-thru. Make sure you let people know they can find you online on your website, social media, and even your front door and windows for passersby.
2. Start selling meal kits
Everyone is pretty bored in lockdown, trying to stay home as much as possible, so they want more than a meal, they want an experience that they can enjoy together. Apart from your ready-made dishes, consider selling meal kits as well so customers can replicate your most famous dishes from the comfort of their own home.
This will also help you use all your stock and avoid waste, which means you won’t lose money right now when every penny counts. If that is an option for you, you can also sell cocktail kits because as every internet post will tell you, people need their alcohol right now. Cocktail kits are a great activity for family dinner night or even a remote party with friends via Zoom.
3. Introduce a “donate a meal” program
With front-line workers risking their lives to help people who contracted the virus, many businesses, restaurants in particular, have decided to help as much as they can. What you can do is not only donate meals to medical workers yourself but also create a “donate a meal” program to encourage your customers to do it too.
They can either place the order, pick it up, and deliver it themselves or they can give you the address of the person they want to surprise with a meal and leave a note mentioning it’s part of the program.
4. Offer cooking classes online
Another way in which you could increase your profits in these trying times is by offering affordable online cooking classes to people who are bored and want to learn something new in this pandemic. There are many cooking classes online but you can stand out in the crowd not only by making them really affordable but also by presenting original recipes that your chef makes that cannot be found anywhere else.
5. Create unique “lockdown” promotions
Think about what most people want right now when they’re stuck inside and need to feel comforted. Then, brainstorm ideas of what you could offer them to cater to those needs. Finally, come up with catchy promotion titles that draw customers’ attention. Here are some promotion ideas you can try:
- 1+1 Lockdown Happy Hour: Order Drinks for Two Between 6 and 8 PM.
- $20 Zoom Lunch Bundle: Catch up with Your Coworkers Over a Full Meal.
- Stay-at-Home Free Delivery: You Order, We Deliver for Free.
- Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: Order Any Main Course and the Dessert Is on Us.
If there’s one thing the Coronavirus pandemic has made clear for restauranteurs is that the future of restaurants is online. Even after the threat of the pandemic will be over, the advantages and benefits of having an online presence as a restaurant will persist. So, you can start small and experiment with the 5 ideas above until you find the recipe that best fits your restaurant.