Restaurants have faced an extraordinary burden due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From having to close their doors and switch to takeout catering, to slowly reopening with reduced capacity, restaurateurs have faced unprecedented challenges. Although Illinois is now in Phase 4 of the COVID-19 recovery plan, which allows for restaurants to operate at 25 percent capacity, foot traffic is nonexistent and many diners are wary of returning to public places. Restaurant marketing has never been more important than it is now. Here’s what you can do to help your restaurant to attract new business and thrive despite the pandemic.
Keep customers informed. With so many states at different stages of social distancing, it’s hard for diners to know what businesses are open and when. Make sure all your social media profiles and website contain the latest information on your opening hours, services, and menus, and include the date you added that information so customers know it’s recent.
Inspire confidence. Many people are nervous about going out in public, so demonstrate what you’re doing to keep your staff and customers safe. Share your cleaning and social distancing protocols, take photos or videos of your outdoor seating areas, and broadcast the fact that you take safety seriously.
Share your ambitions. One of the positive outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic is the support the general public has shown to small local businesses. Capitalize on this by telling your story, and sharing your dreams and goals for your restaurant. Remind diners that when they choose your restaurant, they’re directly helping their local economy to survive.
Publish a recipe. Does your restaurant have one particular recipe that outsells the others? Or one dish that screams “signature?” If so, make it available on your website or social media for people to cook at home. It’ll give diners who miss your food a chance to remember how good it is—and how much better it tastes when you make it for them!
Plan to go viral. The first restaurant that used teddy bears to fill empty seats and enforce social distancing made national news, as did the string quartet that performed to an audience of 2300 potted plants. What fun way can you separate seating in your restaurant?
Ask employees for help. Chances are some of your staff are more active on social media than you’ll ever be, and between them they could have thousands of followers across all the major platforms. A behind-the-scenes TikTok video from a staff member might have more social impact than a dozen posts on your business Facebook page.
Speak to local influencers. Search for food bloggers in your area who are willing to post about your business. For the cost of a free lunch, you can reach local foodies who are craving what’s on your menu.
Diversify your business. Make your own bread, pasta, or sauces? Consider selling the elements of your menu, not just whole dishes. Rethink how to utilize your supplies and kitchen to keep your business afloat.
A report by OpenTable suggests a quarter of restaurants won’t reopen after COVID-19. Yours doesn’t have to be one of them. Be a success story with Allevi8 Marketing’s restaurant marketing ideas.