We know these are very unusual times for business. We understand the challenges that this current climate brings as businesses are forced to rethink strategies and reconfigure operations.
We want to help. Here are some ideas for restaurants, coming from thoughts from across the country: from trade groups, bloggers, industry press, and social media. Just one idea could make a difference.
EXPAND YOUR SERVICE DELIVERY MODELS: Clearly, everyone has turned to delivery models as a first step, usually a combination of take out, curb side delivery, contactless delivery, or using the delivery services (Door Dash, Grub Hub, Uber Eats.) We’ve seen some build on these, such as “Open your Trunk”, where a customer calls as they drive up, open their trunk, and a server places the order in the car. Some establishments have taped off 6 foot waiting points in the restaurant for clients to maintain social distancing while taking out.
EXPAND YOUR DELIVERY SERVICE AREA: “Chinatown Delivers” is a program creating a delivery service for participating Chinatown restaurants to deliver food to Boston suburbs where they don’t normally service. Perhaps Cape Cod establishments to deliver local specialties up through the South Shore.
ADAPT YOUR PRODUCT TO THE TIMES: Many consumers are now looking for Family Sized meals. Other product enhancements include updating menus to be more “delivery friendly” and focusing only on best sellers. Some are creating pre-packaged to go meals, full multi course dinner kits, or specific dinner kits to make at home.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS: It’s important to communicate your changes to customers and listen to their changing needs. It’s a good time to review your advertising messages for relevance and tonality but also communicate new stock arrivals, new hours, or new offerings. It’s a good time to update your Google Business page as well as your social media pages.
USE VIRTUAL/ONLINE ENHANCEMENTS: Use social media to interact with your customer base in a new way. For example, the Clover Food Labs founder hosts a live cooking show with only pantry staples.
TRY PROMOTIONAL TACTICS FROM RETAIL: The world of retail holds some interesting promotional techniques that could be leveraged for restaurants. Common tactics such as percentage off discounts, gift with purchase, buy one, get one free, tiered discounts, or loyalty programs could drive traffic and repeat business.
INCREASE CROSS SELL: In California, liquor licenses have been relaxed so that restaurants can sell bottles of wine with takeout. Others are cross selling salad or dessert with the entrée for a complete meal. Others are selling “perishables” bags- vegetables for consumers to pick up at the point of take out.
LEVERAGE YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN FOR THE CONSUMER’S BENEFIT: Some restaurants are utilizing their commercial food suppliers to offer groceries with prepared take out. Although our agricultural season is different here on Cape Cod, other cities are leveraging their produce, meat and seafood providers to offer added sales. In California, some restaurants are offering a weekly CSA which customers can pick up with take out. One California shop is offering bulk staples such as legumes and meats, sourced from their suppliers, in addition to take out. Could your business offer local produce and seafood as an option, along with the regular take out?
CONSIDER CAUSE RELATED MARKETING: Many organizations are participating in #feedthefrontline to send food or a buy one, send one, to hospital workers. A Nashville restaurant is donating free meals to anyone who’s out of work in the local music industry.
KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR: A local restaurant is offering a free roll of toilet paper with take-out orders. A Buffalo Wings restaurant admonishes customers to “Get Your Wings & Go Home!”
PREPARE FOR THE RECOVERY: As sure as night follows day, this crisis will end. What will your Grand Re-Opening look like?
We hope these ideas stimulate some thoughts for your business; let us know how we can be of service. We can get through this together.
Our building will be closed to the public and our Marketing Consultants are working remotely. Please reach out to your Marketing Consultant or to me, Melinda Baker, General Sales Manager, at 508-815-2661 if you have questions or concerns.