Marketing Tips for Restaurant Owners during COVID-19

by Max Lapthorne

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is widespread, with local restaurants being some of the hardest hit. Many of our Partners are locally owned restaurants, and we are dedicated to doing whatever we can to help them through this difficult time.

That being said, we have compiled a few marketing tips that we think will be helpful during COVID-19.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses, and its importance has been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders throughout the country. It offers businesses an opportunity to reach out directly to their customer base.

Many businesses have been forced to trim down their marketing and advertising budgets, but social media offers a chance to deliver your message to a widespread audience at no cost. Restaurants can utilize social media to give updates on the status of their business (now offering delivery, instructions for curbside pickup etc.), and with most people stuck at home with little to do other than check their social media accounts, these messages are especially effective at present.

SELL GIFT CARDS

This one is very simple, but important nonetheless. People may want to support your restaurant but may be apprehensive about ordering takeout/delivery. So, offering gift cards to these customers, as well as customers who put extra value on your dine-in experience, can provide immediate revenue to your business.

For businesses that already sell gift cards, it is a good idea to remind customers on social media, and even provide a link to where they can purchase them online.

OFFER SOMETHING NEW

Widespread quarantine has changed the way people live their lives, so it would behoove your business to adjust accordingly. Selling “kits” that contain some of your most popular dishes along with some sanitary/household items can attract customers. You may also want to offer larger quantities or frozen/parbaked versions of your items for people who would like to stock up.

Bar/restaurants may also want to explore offering drink “kits” that allow customers to purchase all the ingredients to their favorite cocktails to make at home.

TELL CUSTOMERS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH PRECAUTIONS

There is obviously an uneasiness among some people right now when it comes to eating food that is prepared by someone else. To put them at ease, make sure you detail all the precautions you are taking on your website/social media accounts/email campaigns. People will be more likely to order takeout/delivery from you if, for example, they know you offer a no-contact delivery service or that your entire kitchen was sterilized top to bottom last week.

One of the biggest challenges COVID-19 has presented restaurants is overcoming uncertainty. And the best way to do that is to be open with your customers about all your updated health policies relating to the current public health situation.

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