Times are tough right now and local businesses are struggling with the constantly changing restrictions put in place in their communities to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
As this unprecedented situation unfolds and continues to reach new levels, we have put together a list of tips and resources to protect your restaurant and help you not just survive but continue to thrive.
Reassure your customers
Reassure your customers that you are taking all of the necessary COVID-19 safety precautions. It’s important to comply with local laws and recommendations that have been put in place to protect your community. Please look up the restrictions in your community.
- Constantly disinfect all areas of your restaurant
- Monitor employee health and offer extra sick days
- Wash and sanitize all food contact surfaces and equipment more often
- Disinfect high contact areas such as washrooms, tables, chairs, door knobs, railings, light switches etc.
- Ensure all staff are consistently washing their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and wear gloves when possible
- Remove seating areas if possible or space out chairs and tables to avoid close contact for customers
Let your customers know that you are taking this seriously and reassure them that you are taking all necessary precautions. It will make them feel more comfortable and more likely to order from your restaurant.
Offer online ordering and delivery
Due to current restrictions most restaurant can now only offer take-out and delivery. Having online ordering options is absolutely necessary for your restaurant to survive.
We also highly recommend being listed on all online delivery apps as customers are looking to those apps exclusively to get their delivery.
Offer minimum exposure take-out
Offer to deliver take-out food to customers who are parked outside your restaurant so that they do not need to come inside. Just have them call your restaurant when they arrive. Many people, especially seniors, may avoid your restaurant entirely if they need to pickup their order inside your restaurant.
If you offer delivery, give your customers the option of minimum exposure by leaving the order at their door and ringing the doorbell when you arrive. This will help avoid contact between your driver and the customer.
Be sure to seal take-out and delivery bags so that customers know they have not been tampered with. Seal food containers with a sticker, or staple the bag closed, to keep food safe.
Switch to cashless payments
Cash is dirty, plain and simple. By switching to cashless payment methods you are helping both your customers and staff stay safe by avoiding the exchange of money and change.
Ask for support
Your customers want to help your restaurant survive. There is a growing movement to buy local right now. Ask your customers on social media and by email to support your local business in this time of need. Let them know the precautions that you’re taking and give them the option to order delivery or take-out to make it easier for them to help you. You can also ask your customers to support your restaurant by purchasing gift cards for themselves and as gifts for friends. A quick boost in sales with gift cards can help you survive these initial changes. Upserve, Tapmango and other companies all offer gift card solutions. We’re all in this together and your most loyal customers want to help you in any way they can.
Get creative with your menu
Look at new ways to cater to your customers current needs. For example, a fresh soup restaurant started packaging their soups in freezable bags so that customers can purchase several to take home and freeze during their self isolation or quarantine. This not only keeps sales going for them but also increases the average order size as people will buy in bulk. Think of creative ways you can change up your menu to continue selling to those who need to stay home.
Look for government help
Most governments have announced financial assistance plans to help businesses. It’s important to look into what your government is doing and how it can help your restaurant. From business line of credits to tax deferrals, employee salary assistance, and mortgage deferrals, there are several options that you should explore to help your restaurant and employees in this crisis.
People are looking to support their local businesses more and more. Staying open and taking the necessary precautions will allow those people to help you. Stay safe and stay positive.