It has always been hard to succeed in the restaurant business, but these days when most people are locked down at home and the country is on hold, it's a matter of survival for your business.
Forget lower and shrinking margins, higher labor costs and rising rent. What can kill your restaurant this time around is the fact that customers are not coming at all, and revenue is almost at a full-stop.
The first step you should take is to cut your costs and switch to survival mode – push out your rent and taxes, and understand what weekly cash flow is needed to keep your business up and running, and alive.
This is why we have decided to write down the fundamental steps that every restaurant needs to take to overcome this period:
If you haven’t set up your online presence yet, you must set it up now! Among Appfront’s restaurant network, we have seen restaurants’ digital volume moving up from 20%-35% on regular days to 50-60% and counting since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Now that everybody is ordering their food online, you should make your business visible from every possible channel. You need a platform that works seamlessly both online (web) and mobile, allowing your customers to find you on social media and also on the Apple and Android (Google) stores. People these days are either willingly not going to dine outside or it has already been restricted through government orders. Enable it now.
As the virus could spread through close-encounter human contact, we have added a mechanism whereby the delivery is left outside your door and only after the driver has left, will you receive a message that the delivery has arrived. You can use this option with your own drivers, or our delivery’s partner network.
Cash can spread the virus like any other surface, this is why tipping and/or payment should be done only through your delivery app.
Let your customers order, park and pick up their food. With the curbside option, you can deliver your food directly to their car, minimizing human contact.
Allow your customers to know when their food is ready to pick up and drive through to get their food without entering the store - this will create a virtual line that will create a more streamlined pickup experience.
Offer your customers discounts when they buy prepaid cards. For example: give $10 cashback for every $200 pre-paid. This way, you will get the necessary funds for operation up front, while maintaining happy customers.
This is the time we need our loyal customers more than ever. Engage with your loyal customers, explain the situation to them, reward them for being loyal, and incentivize them more than ever. You need to be creative to segment and reward your best customers. Most importantly, let them know that you are going to get through this together.
Selling gift cards online is a great way to let your favorite customers buy for themselves or share with friends. Use these to increase your reach to more audiences and increase your revenue.
In our view, in these hard times, if the right measures are taken, restaurants could come out even stronger than ever from this crisis!
To help small businesses, we are now offering Curbside Pickup, No-Contact Delivery, and Virtual Drive Through add-ons for free!
Together we shall win!
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