In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants were no longer allowed to provide dine-in experiences. Some were told to shut down the complete businesses to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The impact of COVID-19 is scary and unfamiliar enough but there is hope on the horizon. Customers are still wary of stepping out and going to a crowded place. Hence, restaurants can no longer rely on pedestrian traffic to keep their business running. Now months into the pandemic, restaurants are reopened to dining while some have opted for takeaway and delivery. After we recover from COVID-19, restaurants will prefer a certain approach for sales. No matter what approach they choose, this alone is not enough to reach people and make profits.
In this guide, we have mentioned a few marketing tips which will help you to connect with the existing customers and reach new people during and after COVID-19 lockdown.
Updating your restaurant website
Now is a good time to update your website. A website is something that defines you and tells who you are or what you offer and directs them to take an action, here it means to place an order.
Analyse your website for factors like –
- Have you put all the required information?
- Is your website user friendly?
- Are your images attractive?
- Does your menu view well on laptop and mobile devices?
- Do you have a reservation system in your system for easy booking?
- Do you have a pre-ordering feature?
- What else you can add on your website which is valuable for your customers?
This will help in marketing the website. Part of updating your website should also include online ordering and delivery to maximize your business. People who are still not into an online business, its high time to make their business online. No business can sustain without having an online presence in the form of takeaway and delivery.
Presence on Social Media
This COVID-19 pandemic time is not to get sadden but considering this lockdown as a great opportunity for marketing and standing out your business in a difficult time. You have to be sensitive and not too salesy or pushy on social media. More than ever, people are seen active on social media scanning for updates and staying connected in sudden isolation.
Things that to be shared on social media –
- Tell the story of how you started this business?
- Why did you want to become a restaurant owner?
- Share recipes, tutorials, and live cooking shows.
- Virtual interviews with staff members about what they like about your restaurant or cooking tips.
- Interviews of loyal customers about their experience with your restaurant.
- Entertain people by giving small cooking classes.
- Keep call to action button on social media pages as its easy for ordering in just a few clicks.
- Mention changes made in menus.
- Offer vouchers or discounts on bulk orders.
Expressing all the points above on social media will be good in the form of videos and images. Dynamic content is more appealing than a static one.
Your restaurants should be listed on top social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Having presence on these platforms will have a great impact on people and your business will be popular.
Email and SMS campaigns are a great way to reach your customers. Sending attractive and up to the mark emails and SMS on offers, sending ‘order now’ SMS will be beneficial.
It is very important to ensure your message is catchy. Points mentioned in the presence on the social media section can also be shared via emails to existing customers.
The great way to start is to set up your business on Google My Business. It’s free, easy to use and allows to manage your presence across Google including contact number and maps. There are many business-related websites wherein you can list your company and reach the audience by posting reviews, ratings, testimonials, and other information about your restaurant. These websites are LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, Yahoo, etc.
Online Food Ordering Mobile Apps
Online food ordering mobile apps helps to get more orders as it’s an easy way for the customers to order food as everyone uses mobile phones more than desktops. It’s easy to store your account information, past orders, wish lists, etc. It is best to have ordering apps in android and iOS versions. The app should be attractive and user friendly.
Online Food Delivery and Order Taking Mobile Apps
Mobile apps for drivers is an essential factor now so that everything remains contactless. If a restaurant does not have a delivery app then he needs to give a receipt to the driver which will be contacted to a page. Instead, let drivers have their own app where all the information will be visible from the customer’s order details to his location’s details.
Order taking mobile apps are also essential as each restaurant member can use their own logins to accept and view the orders so that everything is prepared without keeping contact with each other.
Using SEO tools to rank your website online
You must admit people are more online than in their cars or offices during the COVID-19 situation. Search traffic has increased over the weeks as we are glued to our computers and phones looking for updates about the community. Anything online right now can be consumed more than ever. Having a good SEO tool is the best solution to raise your ranking to the top of Google’ s search. This is not the time to sit idle as a business is down but to rise and make your ranking best so that once all is sorted your business runs rapidly which was never before.
Marketing your Resuming
You should think over marketing to return your business even though there are restrictions on dining or deliveries in a few cities due to COVID-19 lockdown. Making a proper plan now to sustain later is the key to the restaurateurs.
Consider points below for resuming your business & inform the same to your audience –
- Communicate safety and hygienic precautions that are followed by your restaurant.
- Inform your audience on current rules and regulations for the restaurant business.
- Update your website with a change in operation hours, new restaurant layout.
- Inform what options you will be opting now like contactless delivery, take away, dine-in.
- Publicize special offering on resuming of the business.
- Mention support provided by you to your business staff which includes chefs, drivers, etc.
Transformation to normal life is long and a careful process for the restaurant owners due to COVID-19. Taking advantage of this time by branding your skills through marketing through various ways as mentioned above is an essential. Regular simple marketing techniques will reward you with the loyalty in the upcoming months and years.
You can check The Effects of COVID-19 on online food and delivery system and preventive measures for the same.