Dear average Impossible Foods readers: At the end of last year, we started our own blog at impossiblefoods.com and stopped posting on our Medium page. If you’d like to check out our new, regularly updated content, as well as all of our archival content, go to impossiblefoods.com/blog. Thanks for reading!
It has been an incredibly difficult time for so many people, and we want to support you in any way we can. Here are some ideas to help you engage with customers online, increase awareness of your take-out and delivery offerings, and keep your business strong during this unprecedented time.
1. Communicate too much. Let your customers know you’re open for take-out and delivery on social media, email, and your website (wherever customers may look!). Share your schedules, open locations, specials and offers, delivery platforms, security measures and how each order helps you run your business (from paying employees to keeping lights on). Take a look at Gott’s Roadside for some great examples of communications around COVID-19. And check out these Restaurant Playbooks videos and resources for tips on providing safe delivery and take out service, and communicating food safety to your customers.
2. Share your new menu. Show your customers what’s available for delivery and pickup, and appeal to their cravings (everyone’s sick of cooking pasta at home after a while!). Check out this post from Bareburger for an example.
3. Put a sign on your door. Located in an area with a little foot traffic? When customers leave their homes for the much-needed fresh air, they can walk past your restaurant and peek inside. Put a sign on your door to let them know you’re open for delivery and pickup, and call delivery apps you partner with so people know where to pick you up. If you can, display your latest menu on the door as well.
4. Promote gift cards. Your customers love you and are looking for ways to support their favorite restaurants. Encourage them to buy gift cards to use themselves, donate to local delivery people and hospitals, or save for future vacations. Here’s a great example of a website that’s all about supporting local California Bay Area restaurants through gift cards.
5. Check with your delivery partners to see if they already offer support and promotions. Some delivery platforms (DoorDash for example) already offer free delivery. You can sign up and promote this benefit on your website and on social media. Some also have a “free first time” program, which allows customers to try your restaurant with free delivery.
6. Give people what they want. Look for the most popular dishes in your area to make sure you cook all the dishes your customers want. Check out Grub Hub’s “Year in Food” report to see what’s popular in your area. At times like these, comfort food is king.
7. Offer meal kits and family meals. Do you have any favorite dishes that your customers can’t get enough of? Offer them larger orders to limit the number of times customers have to leave their homes, and give them plenty of food for the week. Hopdoddy recently released a Quarantine Whole Meal Kit, and it looks amazing.
8. Doubles as a general store. Grocery store shelves are shrinking and customers are looking for basic items to cook at home. Sell essentials like olive oil, spices, sauces and even Impossible ™ Burger (see next idea!) To help your customers refuel. And as of last week, you can even sell your Impossible Burger inventory direct to consumers to cook at home. Here is a great example of Prairie in San Francisco.
9. Sell Impossible ™ Burger directly to consumers to cook at home. Fill your new general store with Impossible Burger. On March 26, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued temporary guidelines to make it easier for you to sell your food inventory directly to consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are temporarily lifting our restrictions on the sale of foodservice products to consumers so that you can take advantage of this change. This means you can sell 5lb Impossible Burger bricks, 1/4 lb patties, and 1/3 lb patties directly to your guests – just print and give them a copy of this PDF when you. sell the product. The price depends on you.
10. Organize a CSA with your suppliers. Work with your suppliers to assemble CSA boxes of commodities and other essentials so customers can sign up for weekly deliveries of perishable items.
11. Add beer and wine to your take out menu. Sometimes a burger just doesn’t taste the same without beer. Offer up some of your favorite drinks for an even better selection to go. Delicious example of Pi Co Pizza here.
12. Take the audience behind the scenes by going live on Instagram. You are the expert. Connect with your customers by showing them how the magic works behind the scenes and highlighting the hard-working BOH employees to make take out orders easy. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for our weekly live cooking shows! And check out East Village Pizza for more inspiration.
13. Introduce your customers on social networks. Are your customers posting articles about their take out and delivery orders from your restaurant? Build a community and increase your activity by reposting some of what they share on your own channels. Here is an example from Crossroads Kitchen. Then, ask your social media audience what they want to see via Instagram Story tweets and polls so you can proactively create the recipes they’re hungry for.
14. Host a social media contest. Build a community and encourage more orders by offering prizes or meals to customers who tag you in their posts or stories. Great example here from Fatburger.
15. Share recipes for favorite menu items. Even if you’ve decided to shut down your kitchen entirely, you can still build awareness, goodwill, and the community by sharing a favorite recipe on social media. This will make your customers think of you and rush them back when you reopen your doors. Check out this example of Saxon + Parole in New York.
- #SaveRestaurants: Take advantage of this hashtag in Instagram Stories to appear in their highlight reel.
- #OpenforDelivery: DoorDash’s campaign hashtag helps encourage support for local restaurants by promoting delivery.
- #DoYourPartChallenge: Celebrities nominate others to participate in a #DoYourPartChallenge and donate meals.
- #Small Business Support: Join other small businesses and help customers find you.
16. Throw out a thank you card. Show your customers how grateful you are for their support with a simple thank you card in their take out or delivery bag.
17. Include coloring book pages. If you have some in stock that you typically use for restaurant patrons, toss a few in delivery and take out orders. Many children are out of school and their parents are eager to find new activities to fill the day. And who knows, some of your adult customers might even try them out!
18. Provide meals for health workers. Consider supporting your community by soliciting donations and providing meals for healthcare workers and others on the front lines of the fight against this virus. Great example here of MIXT in San Francisco. Check out World Central Kitchen or your favorite local organization to get involved.
19. Deliver additional stocks to food banks. If you have excess inventory that is at risk of expiring or cannot be used with your evolving business model, donate it to local food banks, which are experiencing unprecedented demand as unemployment rates rise. Some cities have regional databases of local food banks, like this one for Los Angeles. And Feeding America has a nationwide network of food banks.
20. Consider co-branded partnerships. Are there other local restaurants that you can partner with to drive orders? Co-branded partnerships can help extend reach by delivering content across multiple channels simultaneously. And they create a sense of community around local favorites.
21. Create Zoom backgrounds of your restaurant. Do you have clients who work from home? Give them Zoom image backgrounds with your faceplate to download and use on their conference calls (and not just over lunch!). Check out these examples of Dennys .
We hope that these tips will be a useful source of inspiration for you and your team. We’ve also put together a collection of downloadable social media images that you can use across your channels to let customers know you’re available for delivery and take out. Access these on our website here.