The magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. If you’re a small business owner, you may be lost with where to even begin to address the impact of the virus. It’s a tough balancing act between keeping customers and employees safe while continuing to stay in business. Here’s a guideline for what to do during these unusual times.
Keep customers in the know
Keeping customers informed and updated with changes to your restaurant should be first priority. Make sure your website, social media accounts, and e-mail lists have all the updated details of your restaurant, whether that’s a change of hours, how to order delivery or take-out, or menu changes. Also, inform them of everything you’re doing to keep them safe. This could include extra sanitization measures, deep cleaning schedules, or temperature checks on employees. Assure customers that their healthy and safety comes before anything else.
Help where you can
Lots of restaurants and dining establishments are giving away meals to people in need. For example, restaurants like Tso in Austin, Texas are given away thousands of dollars worth of food. Many are focusing on people who have recently got laid off because of the virus, while others are simply giving away food to anyone in need. Food banks and non-profits like Food Rescue are some other places restaurants can donate extra food to.
The pandemic is bringing a lot of stress to the world right now, so it’s more important than ever to remember to put people’s peace of mind at the forefront of responsibilities. Helping your community in any way you can will be a welcome sign of humanity and kindness, something so needed right now.
Don’t skimp on marketing
Lots of business sectors are facing tough setbacks. But there’s one thing that’s always guaranteed no matter the situation: people will always have a need to eat. Something else you can assume: people will get tired of cooking for themselves pretty quickly. It’s the perfect opportunity for restaurants to reach customers by expanding on delivery and take-out services. Provide no-contact payment and delivery when possible. Customers will be thankful to avoid crowded grocery stores while still getting needed food and minimizing contact.
Something valuable to keep in mind about this period is that many businesses are cutting back on marketing. What does that mean for online ads? With a higher supply and lower demand, the cost for ads on Facebook are lower than ever. This opens an opportunity to cheaply improve your brand’s awareness while helping people get tasty food. And, better awareness of your restaurant now will pay off for months and years to come.
Connection is key
Whether they’re seeking connection, distraction or reassurance, consumers’ use of social media is seriously growing. It’s more important than ever for your restaurant to preserve your presence on social media. Maintain brand awareness by posting on all platforms daily. This includes Facebook, Google My Business, and Instagram, but it also includes newer platforms like TikTok.
TikTok is a newer platform that lots of businesses still haven’t caught on to yet. Whether your restaurant jumps on a dance trend, shares delicious recipes, or simply gives your customers a peek into your day, TikTok is the perfect place to get people familiar with the humans that make up your company. After all, consumers want to see real people— research has shown that connection is what keeps them loyal to brands.
Offer gift cards and merchandise
People want to support small businesses and companies they’re loyal to. If your customers can’t order food from you, they can support you by purchasing gift cards, T-shirts, or other merchandise. If there’s anything to be learned from this crisis, it’s that people will always find a way to come together to help others in whatever small way they can.