Coronavirus (COVID-19) has already had a dramatic impact on restaurants. In these challenging times, restaurants must take proactive measures to not only keep establishments safe but also ensure they take steps to limit adverse effects on sales.
What can restaurants do right now?
Embrace off-premises dining options while putting more effort into deliveries
Almost all restaurants across the globe have been mandated to proactively go off-premises and are only allowed to do deliveries. While this step helps reduce the potential spread of the virus, it also largely impacts the dine-in revenue of restaurants. This is a good time for establishments to work on their delivery offerings; R&D new delivery friendly menu items, promote delivery combos and packages that yield higher margins, or maybe take some time to revamp your delivery packaging – the possibilities are endless.
Implement contactless delivery
For those restaurants which are offering delivery to consumers directly through a website and/or mobile application, we recommend immediately implementing and promoting “contactless” delivery.
To support the implementation of contactless delivery, we suggest restaurants take the following steps:
- Restaurants with their delivery fleet should take measures as recommended by the WHO to ensure packaging and delivery drivers follow safety guidelines.
- Restaurants should also ensure that contactless delivery instructions can be entered by consumers directly through ordering channels, whether online or through a mobile app.
- Major third-party delivery providers offer contactless delivery options as well.
Once implemented, restaurants should promote contactless delivery across all digital channels, including restaurant websites, email, SMS, push notification, and in-app.
In support of takeout and deliveries, restaurants must limit direct contact between employees and guests. Restaurants should move to accept credit cards and touchless mobile payment only, as much as possible. Regardless of whether or not mobile payments are available in-app, encourage guests to adopt mobile wallets. Since many guests likely do not have and will not download the restaurant app, this ensures that anyone can pay via mobile and avoid direct contact with machines and employees.
Promote loyalty and gift cards
With restaurant sales facing a major hit in revenue due to lockdown measures, establishments should consider promoting loyalty schemes and gift cards. Many loyal guests are looking for opportunities to support local restaurants, and promotional schemes through loyalty programs, donations, and gift cards provide a path for that support.
Promote pre-paid dining vouchers
Give your customers pre-paid dining vouchers, which they can redeem at your restaurant at a later time (once it’s safe for everyone to step out and dine-in again). Not only does this help secure diners for when things get better, but it also provides the much needed cash-flow, to keep your restaurant going today.
This is an excellent way for restaurants to make up for the dine-in revenue losses that they are facing right now. It helps to throw in a little bit of incentive for the customer, for example, a voucher worth 20% more value than the cost of purchase.
Communicate transparently and regularly
Perhaps it goes without saying, but it’s important to share the specific precautions that the restaurant has undertaken in light of the coronavirus. Many restaurants have already shared similar messages, but it’s important to keep up a regular cadence and maintain your diners’ confidence.
In addition to sharing updated practices being undertaken to keep customers safe, it’s essential to show how restaurants are caring for employees, for example, offering free meals or paid leave benefits to those affected.
Smartly reduce your fixed running costs
Now is the time to optimize your restaurant’s operational costs and smartly balance out those revenue losses. It is important, however, that these changes do not put stress on existing procedures and can work in your favor as a long term change. Most of the tools and apps used for reservations, ordering, feedback, etc. come with individual fixed subscription costs putting undue pressure on restaurants during times of low revenue.
Engage on the other hand combines all your restaurant management tools – CRM, loyalty, reservation, ordering, feedback, campaigns, and other third-party integrations into one platform. All this at ZERO FIXED COSTS!
Engage comes with a unique ‘Pay-as-you-go’ model which allows you to only pay for outcomes. This means you only pay for the services you use as per the amount of usage, thereby eradicating fixed overheads and bringing down operational costs.