Few industries have been more profoundly impacted by the pandemic than the food industry. When it comes to figuring out how to address these different impacts on the industry, there are a variety of things to think about. In order to prepare your business to thrive in upcoming years, be sure to consider these suggestions.
Change Your Façade
Your restaurant façade is the first thing that people see when they are exposed to your restaurant. The exterior of your restaurant can make a big difference in attracting various demographics of clients.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to update your façade is to make the interior the exterior. In essence, the biggest way to draw customers in is for them to see other customers seated and eating delicious food. Make sure that windows aren’t blocked and position tables in more prominent places if possible.
You should also think more generally about the specific demographic that you’re trying to draw in. Updating your restaurant sign to have a more hip design or font can also make a difference in attracting younger customers.
Ramp Up Your Digital Marketing
One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your restaurant will continue to thrive is expanding your reach online. Gone are the days when only your façade can draw in new customers. One of the first places you should start when it comes to increasing your digital marketing is with your website. Make sure that your website is easy to navigate and quickly directs users to the menu items.
You should make sure that your restaurant is easily accessed when users search it on Google. Try and get a variety of different reviews on your page. Having reviews on your Google restaurant page will make your restaurant seem more credible and will draw in more customers.
In addition to having a variety of customer reviews, you should also invest in making sure that your page has multiple professional pictures of the interior of your restaurant.
Offer New Menu Items
Change up your menu. Sometimes you just need to switch things up and put other options out there for customers. When it comes to changing up your menu, you should start by looking for food trends to capitalize on.
If it seems like there are gaps in your menu or items that aren’t doing as well as others, take that as an opportunity to switch them out for seasonal items, customizable dishes, or other experimental options.
Reevaluate Your Customer Service
Reevaluate your customer service and see what needs improvement. There are multiple facets of your customer service that you should look at specifically. One of the most important ways that you interface with customers is through your phone communication. A majority of customers still call to make reservations and to ask questions. Because of this, you should make sure that you consistently have enough receptionists to ensure that the phone is always answered.
You should also consider updating your system for how you manage tables. You can improve customer service by using a modern POS system. A POS system will digitize all payments, the assigning of tables, and reservations.
Strengthen Relationships with Repeat Customers
One of the best ways to ensure that your restaurant will survive in the future is to develop a loyal customer base. In order to develop a loyal customer base, you need to figure out a way to reward repeat customers. Take time to offer repeat customers exclusive opportunities like special “chef’s tables” or rewards.
Another thing you can do to reward repeat customers is to develop a loyalty program. Allow repeat customers the opportunity to accrue points or to get a certain percentage off the total cost of their meal.
Make Your Restaurant Child-Friendly
When it comes to making your restaurant child-friendly, one of the first places to start is with your kids’ menu. Having inexpensive crowd-pleasing options for children goes a long way in making a restaurant experience positive for families.
You may want to consider adding special promotions or options for kids — maybe kids get a free dessert with their meal or maybe you give customers a free kids’ meal with purchase of two adult entrees.
In addition to adapting the menu to ensure that kids are satisfied, you should also make sure that you have plenty of seating options for kids. Having a variety of booster seats and high-chairs for children will also ensure that families have an enjoyable restaurant experience.
Improve Takeout Options
As COVID precautions continue to play an important role in the business and restaurant markets, it’s especially important to refine your takeout approach for customers. If your restaurant is predominantly eat-in, start by making your menu items available for takeout.
You should then work to identify a strategy to make ordering out an easy option for customers. Consider building an application that allows customers to directly place their orders or make your website easier to navigate. Making these changes can go a long way in making your restaurant more accessible.
Give Back to the Community
When it comes to building customer loyalty, giving back to the community can go a long way. Not only will it help customers feel a greater affinity for your restaurant when they see you supporting local causes like a little league baseball team or another youth activity, but it will also help you connect with important individuals in town.
You should also consider hosting charity dinners or other events that can support various causes. In the process of supporting different causes, you will be able to connect with other organizational heads who may be interested in hosting other dinners at your restaurant in the future.
Figuring out how to ensure that your business will be able to thrive in upcoming years can be difficult. With so many different ways that the industry has changed and morphed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be complicated to know where to start. Thinking about these things can help you get started on building a successful restaurant business plan.