The restaurant industry has taken a major dive over the course of this last year. Coronavirus lockdowns have created intense pressure on restaurant owners and their staff, causing temporary and permanent closures all around the United States and beyond. But the industry is poised for a comeback as the vaccination efforts get underway. While we are still a long way off from ‘normality,’ restaurateurs should be planning their grand reopening to the public for regular dining services in the near future. Planning for this eventuality now is the best way to meet it head on when we are finally able to mingle with one another in the ways that we have taken for granted all these years.
While the pandemic has depressed markets around the world and led to an economic crisis that threatens small and large businesses alike, this won’t last forever. Getting ahead of the curve is the best way to ensure the success of your restaurant in the future. By taking steps to engage with customers today you will ensure that you remain fresh in the mind and a must-see location when restrictions and guidance begin to change for the better. No one can predict when we will defeat the coronavirus pandemic, but we can and must plan for this eventuality.
Utilize safety upgrades to increase traffic to your location.
The importance of food safety simply can’t be overstated. Safe food handling practices make up the core of the restaurant industry. It can be easy to backslide on some less obvious components of this larger mission, even while knowing how crucial it is to your customers' safety.
Always wearing disposable gloves, for instance, is something that restaurant workers and food processors are going to have to get used to, if they don’t already include this precaution in their regimen. Gloves go a long way towards preventing the spread of germs and bacteria that collect on our hands as we go about our days. Government advice has always been to wash your hands for at least thirty seconds after using the bathroom, touching objects in public spaces or, now, going outside into public at all! Gloves go a long way towards helping stop the spread of the virus and other pathogens that may be in the air or on surfaces. The use of gloves is going to become a standard, so getting your staff used to this new normal now will help them better prepare for the future.
Similarly, many restaurants are building in clear screens between tables and pay points, and utilizing online ordering software for restaurants. Many more orders come in from apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Caviar these days, and you can expect that to continue even after indoor dining has returned to our lives. Consider training your staff on how to use an app that consolidates all the ordering platforms into one tablet so that you speed up your customer service.
The use of these protective measures are designed, of course, to slow the spread of the virus, but they also go a long way to creating a peace of mind for customers and employees alike. Shielding is a great way to physically introduce protective measures into your space that customers can see. Likewise, online ordering platforms allow your employees to take orders from a distance or to streamline the processing of takeout orders to keep people out of the space altogether. Anything you can do to make those in your restaurant feel safe is a good thing. These measures will drive business as well. The more you protect your customers the more they will appreciate and applaud your efforts in the public forum of social media. Safety here is truly a win-win situation.
Develop a framework for success from today.
Utilizing business processes is a great way to reenergize your restaurant ahead of the large reopenings that will surely take place across the United States in the coming months. Listening in to OKR podcasts can help you develop a better business acumen that will allow for a more sleek operation over the long term. Not only are restaurants suffering in this current climate, but many are on the verge of collapse. This threat won’t just melt away when we begin to emerge from our hiding places. Businesses will need to be incredibly careful over the next months and years in order to build back their customer bases and scale in order to return to profitability and sustainable operations. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) provide a great framework to achieve this. OKRs are utilized by some of the largest companies on the planet; even Google drives business decisions with this mentality.
This framework for decision making helps businesses focus on both the short and long term goals that will drive future success by breaking them down into critical components that are both achievable and offer a challenge to employees at the same time.
Build or grow your web presence.
The internet is a powerful source of traffic. Many restaurants have integrated online ordering platforms so that customer orders can be taken and prepared without any friction between ordering and eating for the customer. Others are focused intensely on brand awareness through the use of social media and their own websites. Hiring a creative web design firm like Webolutions is a great way to incorporate the best of both these worlds into your growth strategy moving forward.
Branding is a critical component of competition as we enter into the New Year and welcome the new vaccines that are rolling out into our communities around the world. As the pandemic subsides people will begin to return to the things that make them feel normal, and this includes eating at restaurants. In order to capture your regulars and new customers alike it’s important to stay fresh in the minds of these prospective customers. With the help of a web design and strategy firm you can create a wide range of advertising and a great SEO campaign in order to maintain a high level of visibility, even if your regulars have stopped walking past your brick and mortar location.
Preparing for the return of regular business operations means getting smart with your marketing and installing safety measures that will make your customers feel safe within your walls. Get to work on engaging with them now in order to see a boom in business as we all return to normal life.