Restaurant marketing

Restaurant Marketing in the Age of Coronavirus | modern restaurant management

Proactive marketing can be an effective tool for restaurants that can stay in business during the COVID-19 crisis. In order to help restaurants through this uncertain time, our team has created a short e-Book with marketing tips for restaurants.

Download the full guide, “Coronavirus Era: 13 Restaurant Marketing Ideas” here.

Among the highlights:

Pickup incentives

You can capitalize on people’s cabin fever during this time of self-quarantine by promoting your order pickup services. Try offering free curbside pickup for all orders placed directly at your location, saving you the cost of third-party services. To sweeten the pot, consider adding a free item such as an appetizer or dessert that has high perceived value — but low real cost to you — to encourage pickup business.

Quick future visits

With every delivery and/or pickup order, it’s a good idea to include a coupon or gift card that can only be used in the future when visiting the restaurant. This will keep your establishment top of mind for customers who may be avoiding eating out at a restaurant right now but will (no pun intended) want to in the future.

Kids eat free

Offering a free children’s menu with the purchase of an adult meal is a great tactic to win business and increase check amounts, especially with most schools closed during this time. This idea can be applied to catering, pickup, and delivery orders. A parent may be more inclined to choose your restaurant over a competitor if they know their child’s meal will not incur any additional cost.

Bulk is best

If possible, you can offer customers the option of placing bulk pickup and/or drop-off orders. Communicate that meals can be placed in the fridge/freezer upon receipt and include reheating instructions to ensure they experience your food in the best possible way. This will incentivize large orders, which can help offset any lost restaurant business.

Gift cards

Customers may not be in the mood to dine out right now, but many people are still looking for ways to support their favorite local businesses. Allow easy purchase of gift cards online or via email, so customers can support your restaurant now and enjoy their dining experience at your place later.

Rotating prefixed menu

Another possible marketing technique is to create a special pre-made menu that will appeal to adults and children. Offering an economical option, perfect for singles, couples and the whole family, during uncertain times can help customers feel more comfortable. Offering unique menus that change every few days is a great way to create more frequent returning customers.

To show creativity

While not all of your regular customers will come through your doors for dinner, you can still add value and stay in touch with your clientele in other creative ways. For example, if you’re a pizza place, offer a remote pizza-making course online or on social media where people can connect with you and your kitchen from the comfort of their homes. This will give you the helpful human touchpoint that influences brand loyalty for many consumers.

Be social

As more and more people choose to practice social distancing, the desire to connect with others and their local businesses only intensifies. Keep your customers up to date on the actions you are taking, the promotions you are running, and how you and your staff are coping with the constantly changing industry at this time. Don’t be afraid to have fun or show off the inner workings of your restaurant in a time when many people are looking for unique outlets.

no contact

For pickup and delivery orders, you can assure customers that they can request a “contactless” experience by leaving instructions on how they would like their food delivered. Maybe they feel more comfortable with your employee placing it on the hood of their car for curbside pickup or maybe ringing the doorbell and leaving it outside for delivery is their preference.

Define a theme

Energize your guests with a little fun by hosting a virtual game night, quiz night or themed party on Instagram or Facebook Live. Take advantage of trending shows and movies that have a large fanbase, like The Office or Star Wars, and create themed food and drink recipes that viewers can make at home. Not only can this initiative boost brand awareness and increase your social following, but it can also foster a much-needed sense of community.

Keep employees informed

To ease your staff’s concerns, send daily email communications to ensure everyone is on the same page. This may include updates on workplace hygiene, party social distancing tips, new promotions and any other relevant information.

Create new roles

It’s a good idea to monitor the trajectory of each branch of your business and modify employee roles accordingly. For example, if delivery orders are skyrocketing and on-site dining has slowed, invite employees who have cars to take on delivery driver shifts instead of their usual server, bartender, or back-of- the-house.

Restrict hours

Information about the virus changes daily, so your staff may need to adjust their schedules to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. Decide if it makes sense to implement restricted or modified hours for your restaurant. If the answer is yes, it’s a good idea to update your website and social platforms with this new information for customers.

Download the full guide, “Coronavirus Era: 13 Restaurant Marketing Ideas” here.