How to Reopen for a Post Covid Summer
It appears that there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel after a grueling and life-changing pandemic that has compromised so much: social lives have been affected, working from home has become the new norm, restaurants and other businesses have been forced to fully automate their services, and the constant worry over the global health crisis has understandably burnt out a lot of people.
Thankfully, as vaccination rates skyrocket, people can increasingly look forward to the safe reopening of their favorite hangout spots, social activities and start moving around again. For restaurants, this means looking forward to buzzing happy hours, busy patios, and creating memorable experiences for their customers, offering a distraction from real-world issues. Though things are heading in the right direction, complacency is not an option. As you plan for a full reopening of your food establishment this summer, here are some notable things you need to be doing as you welcome back customers.
Continue to Maximize Your Takeout/Delivery Options
When people return to your restaurant en masse, there may be a temptation to ease back on the takeout and delivery options, especially if you find yourself needing to cut back on costs. However, the use of contactless delivery can boost a restaurant’s return on investment (ROI), generate increased revenue, and make your restaurant more attractive in the eyes of consumers.
Delivery and takeout will continue to be go-to options for food lovers for the foreseeable future until they feel comfortable going out like they did pre-pandemic. One thing your restaurant should consider doing as you prepare to reopen this summer is offering meals that come with several portions rather than serving individual entrees. By providing multiple food options in one go, you’re not only boosting customer satisfaction by giving them a few days’ worth of meals, but you’re also cutting down on packaging costs and avoiding potential third-party fees. This way, you’re staying flexible as you cater to customers not ready to come in person just yet while preparing to welcome others who are.
Ensure You’re Communicating With Your Customers
Don’t assume your restaurant has the kind of cache to instantly reel people back in once you’ve announced that you’re reopening this summer. You have to put yourself out there and make yourself the cream of the crop in the minds of restaurant-goers, so they’re eager to visit your establishment when your grand reopening has arrived.
You should be utilizing your website and social media channels to ensure the attention stays on you until a full reopening is safe to do. Keep your content as entertaining and engaging via these channels as possible to get people excited as you get closer to your big day. You should also utilize email marketing to get the word out about your reopening plans. The less you communicate, the more people will assume that your restaurant no longer exists. By buffering your online presence, you’ll extend your reach and potentially win a few new customers along the way, so that reopening feels a bit more special.
Reopen At Your Pace
Another major thing to keep in mind as you reopen your restaurant is to avoid rushing. We get it. You want to hit the ground running once it’s safe to do so. And, you want this summer to be an extensive bounce-back period financially, considering that the summer is the busiest time of the year for most restaurants with all those patio dates, Friday night specials, and more.
However, even if your state is telling you that it’s safe to reopen restaurants right now doesn’t mean you should do so from the moment you give the go-ahead. If your consumer base is relatively low, it doesn’t make sense to reopen at the same time your jurisdiction gives the go-ahead. It may be wise to wait it out a bit more and continue to invest in takeout and delivery services until the pandemic dies down properly. You can also reopen to test how your restaurant adjusts to the ‘new normal,’ welcoming in only a few customers before doing something grander as time evolves and you have a feel for what works.
In the meantime, invest in mobile options or alternatives that allow your customers to order ahead if they’re still apprehensive about making close contact with others. Again, staying flexible in uncertain times like these is crucial to improving your restaurant’s visibility and profit margin going forward.
When it’s time to fully reopen, and you need to figure out how to fairly distribute tips as your employees deal with customers regularly again, TipHaus can help you with a good strategy. Get your demo today.