As a result of the pandemic, restaurants around the world have been forced to examine their marketing strategies, dig deep into their creative depths, and in many cases go beyond their usual comfort zones.
Restaurants that closed completely during emergency shutdowns faced the challenge of staying at the top of the list when their customers couldn’t dine with them and ways to alert them to business changes, among other things. Plus, they needed a solid communications roadmap to follow when they reopened.
Other restaurants never closed completely but were faced with the immense task of sharing new protocols and offerings at an sometimes dizzying pace, including curbside pick-up offers, delivery options, and hours. opening revised, as well as the implementation of preventive precautions for the safety of customers.
Restaurant owners have turned massively to social networks to disseminate their messages and capture their audience share. They sent out creative eblasts to keep customers informed at all times, partnered with related companies to promote to all audiences, and became experts in video production.
Now, after months of restrictions, doors across the country are reopening and restaurants are once again welcoming customers to their dining rooms, albeit often at a truncated capacity. The initial tendency is to divert resources from communication efforts, but restaurants should not abandon the innovative marketing strategies they developed and executed during the shutdown in order to survive. These have become an essential part of their brand and their marketing mix.
Here are four notable restaurant marketing trends that have increased during the pandemic and are expected to continue:
Detroit pastry chef Selden Standard launched her own YouTube channel during the shutdown. Lena Sareini engaged new and old customers by producing instructional videos to teach cooking and baking techniques.
These videos give customers and potential guests a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant and nurture a one-on-one relationship with the star chef. Many chefs have filmed these videos in their homes, inviting viewers inside their personal space, which added an additional intimate dimension for the viewer and strengthened the relationship between the customer and the chef and the restaurant.
As the expression goes, to share is to care. Brennan’s from New Orleans shared many of her legendary recipes with visitors to her website and social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, including inviting kids to ‘surprise mom with a Brennan breakfast in bed »On Mother’s Day. The restaurant provided their ricotta pancake recipe along with a recommendation to “maybe let her sleep too”.
Sharing recipes demonstrates transparency of ingredients and processes, while building brand loyalty. Of course, customers can try it out at home, but that won’t stop them craving the original, plus now they have a recipe they can pass along to their friends to spread the brand more. restaurant.
Family meal packages
Companies like Smashburger put ease and convenience at the forefront for customers when the company rolled out quarantine meal kits. The “Take & Make” kits – available in Classic Smash, Smoked Bacon Brisket, and Crispy Chicken – provided families with the instructions and ingredients to cook a dinner for four at home. These prepackaged offers not only simplified the ordering process for the business, saving time and money, but also made ordering easier for families.
Update of loyalty and customer loyalty programs
Restaurants have been using and evolving these programs for years to entice loyal customers. During the shutdown, restaurateurs have relaunched programs and increased registrations to entice longtime and loyal customers to take out take-out ordering and dip their toes in curbside pickup with a flurry of additional rewards and bonus points.
Chipotle Mexican Grill has reported a 50% increase in registrations during the pandemic by leveraging its digital channels to generate orders, including advertising and securing the naming rights for a virtual esports tournament and partnership with Uber Eats. Loyalty club members earn points for dollars spent and receive free food when they reach a significant number of points.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for restaurants across the country. But determined restaurateurs have stayed afloat with a lot of hard work and a bit of innovation. These practices that they developed to survive will continue to help restaurants thrive as the industry progresses.
When reopening your restaurant doors, here are a few other things to keep in mind: The key to a successful reopening is the relationship established with customers. People will do more of a favor than being told what to do. Remember this and you will be doing great things in the weeks and months to come.