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Cafes & Restaurants

5 Ways Hospitality Businesses Can Thrive During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Written by 
Michaela Ward
March 26, 2020

If you’re a restaurant, club, pub or cafe owner, there’s no doubt that you’re going through a challenging and uncertain time given the current circumstances.

However, whilst you have no control over the cards you’ve been dealt, you certainly have control over how you play them!

For many hospitality businesses, this is a great opportunity to do well by adapting to the changes, innovating, and taking advantage of opportunities that could potentially set you up for long-term success.

Here are five ways that your restaurant or hospitality business can not only survive, but thrive during the coronavirus outbreak:

1. Offer Takeaway & Home Delivery

delivery services coronavirus
Grocery online ordering app

If you haven’t already side-stepped into the obvious, it’s extremely important that you adapt to the change and offer a takeaway and home delivery service.

Many of the big-name delivery services are already facilitating this transition for small independent businesses, waiving or deferring marketing commissions and subscription payments to allow businesses in hospitality to still see cash flow.

GrubHub, DoorDash and Postmates were among the first to announce reduced rates, but the rest are expected to follow.

impact of COVID19 on cafe industry
Social distancing between a business and their customers

2. Create an At-Home Dining Experience

At Home Dining Experience
At home dining experience

The main reason people go out to dine is for the social experience. If your customers can’t physically dine at your restaurant or venue, how can you take your dining experience and package it into something that can be delivered directly into people’s homes?

Have a think about special occasions like anniversaries and birthday packages, which include cakes.

By the way, did you know that you can actually target people with an upcoming birthday or anniversary through Facebook advertising? This is a great way to reach them, and let them know about this special service that you’re now offering.

Get thinking about simple things too, like date nights. Perhaps you can put together a meal package that also includes a bottle of wine, a rose and a candle. This provides a great opportunity to partner up with local businesses, such as wineries, florists or candle-makers, to maximise these opportunities and also support each other’s local businesses.

3. Engage with Customers Online

Online Engagement for Restaurants
Online engagement with restaurants

Think about ways you can engage with your customers digitally. For instance, maybe you can offer live cooking classes online through Facebook or Instagram.

You could sell the pre-packaged ingredients the day before, delivered directly to people’s doorsteps so they’re ready to go when the class begins. Your customers will then be able to cook alongside the chef in real-time, and interact with your business’s team members.

By doing this, you’re not only continuing to provide a food service, but you’re also providing a lot of entertainment value and social interaction at a time when this is hard to achieve.

Ask them to take a photo of their finished masterpiece and tag your business on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win a prize.

4. Implement a Loyalty Program

customer acquisition
Loyalty programs help retain more customers

Take this opportunity to create strong relationships with your customers.

Most likely, you’ll be taking a lot of orders through channels such as UberEats or MenuLog. While this is great for getting new business, these channels are an intermediary between you and the customer, which makes it hard for you to encourage repeat purchases.

Digital loyalty programs are a great way to get around this roadblock.

You can learn more about how to operate a loyalty program for home delivery services here. If you already have one but feel that it’s not engaging customers as well as it should, we’ve put together some tips on how to promote your loyalty program better here.

5. Get Your Business Online!

Online Ordering
Online transactions

This is also a great time to get online, if you’re not already.With so many consumers staying home to self-isolate, online shopping and ecommerce is booming. A well-designed website or mobile app that clearly illustrates your menu items is essential.

If you need any assistance with creating a website or anything digital for matter, please feel free to reach out to us. We’re more than happy help.

Now is a time for innovation.

You see, if you get creative and brainstorm ideas for some fresh approaches, there are a lot of opportunities to be harnessed and you can potentially do very well out of this situation.

You can read some more tips and tricks for increasing engagement for your restaurant, cafe, pub or club here.

We wish you all the best, and good luck. And again, remember to think outside the box in order to not only survive, but thrive!

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