The scare of the spread of the virus totally cut off guest groups from most restaurants, but after a whole year and a half, the restrictions on social meet-ups have eased in many regions, restaurant operators are slowly beginning to reopen their premises for dine-in facilities. In spite of the ease, people are still not venturing out freely to restaurants, therefore restaurant designs need to have better strategies to get their customers back since word of mouth may not be that reliable. Today the greatest challenge In that restaurant designs staying on top is to start remarketing their restaurant in the best possible way or we may say in the pandemic way. Digital has become so popular on all platforms, restaurateurs are digitising and leveraging all online mediums to gain customer’ trust. Let us learn the most effective marketing tactics for restaurants during the grand reopening of their businesses in this phase.
A). Communicate about your Restaurant Reopening – Once you have set up your restaurant design so as to fulfill the norms of the pandemic, and are ready to reopen for dine-in services, ensure that you communicate the message to all your customers, by posting “Reopening soon” on social media platforms, also update hours of operation of your restaurant. You may also send messages directly or emails about the reopening of your restaurant. Always remember to include some photos of your dining area in your social media and emails too. Your official website should have all the details related to reopening and also update your Google business listings.
B). Update Information Regarding the Changes to Your Operation – Since digital is the common norm of the day, consumers often prefer local pages and Google listings for more information about any restaurant’s location or menu. They would like to read up about the services you offer, special instructions or safety precautions your restaurant would be taking after the new reopening. Your customers would definitely want to know the difference they would be seeing post the COVID- 19 period.
Make sure you keep critical business information such as updates to your restaurant’s local listings and pages as real-time as possible. Plan your restaurant design with respect to your evolving customer preferences, restaurant operating hours and preferred ordering methods with the necessary changes required. Your customers should have the exact update about your restaurant. All important information about operating hours, service updates, or delivery and takeaway options should be presented on your official website. Also update any limited menu offers on specific periods during the day, and ordering systems, third party platforms as well.
C). Communicate The New Safety Precautions with Customers – The bigger challenge today for all restaurants is to anticipate food safety of the customers. The reopening of restaurants comes with a new curiosity of customers about what safety steps the restaurant designs would be following in order to keep food safe, protect customers as well as employees and most of all whether the restaurant is following all the rules and regulations directed by the health authorities. Your restaurant should develop and implement processes for workforce contact tracing, in the event of an employee testing positive for COVID- 19.
The official website of your restaurant design should positively share all the COVID- 19 related information, local pages, social media, online ordering system, and high search visibility Google Posts. You should add a COVID- 19 resource to your site who can house a collection of FAQs which your customers can refer to during social media interactions, customer service calls,online orders, etc.
You should specifically tell your customers how the services in your restaurant would appear after reopening or even more you can show them the types of PPE kits or safety measures your staff is adopting to prevent the spread of the virus.
D). Level Up Social Media Game – Since offline marketing has come to near close, social media has become an essential tool today to communicate with customers. Social media becomes even more critical for the F & B sector, especially when it comes to informing customers about the new dine-in reality, safety measures being adopte, or communicating changes such as new takeaway menus.
If your restaurant design has fewer wal-ins and can accommodate only a restricted number of dine-in guests, concentrate your social marketing campaigns to communicate effectively with your customers and attract new ones too. Ensure that you position your restaurant as a safe, hygienic place to dine-in after the lockdown. Your social media posts should have high definition images, also highlight the changes you have implemented.
As a smart restaurateur, you should have the tools that let you automatically schedule your social media posts, having a consistent plan for every week. Post engaging and informative posts to give your followers insights into your daily operations. Once your restaurant adopts such methods in marketing, you can give a tight competition to your competitors.
E). Curate Loyalty Programs to Entice Your Regular Customers – When you prepare your restaurant design to reopen operations at your premises, it is the best time to reach out to your loyal customers, by sending them special offers, by creating value-based loyalty programs so as to make them feel valued when they return. You should create targeted campaigns to reconnect to your regular guest groups, and offer them incentives for dining in and do take the best care of them while you serve. Following up with thank you emails or messages would be the humblest way, asking them to fill a post-dining feedback form would definitely deepen relationships and would also keep them coming back.
Restaurants that are reopening post COVID- 19 period, should adapt to the new reality and reform their existing ways of operating. According to the new norm to be followed by restaurant designs, marketing will be of utmost significance, implementing the above discussed simple, practical and budget friendly ways to promote the reopening of your restaurant.