09 Jul Restaurant marketing agency
Restaurant marketing mid pandemic.
With VAT cut to 5% for hospitality businesses and a discount for eating out; is there finally light at the end of the tunnel?
After a period which has certainly been disastrous for the industry, we are finally able to help our hospitality clients get back on their feet. Putting your best foot forward is certainly paramount in order to place your business in a better position and survive such a turbulent period.
We understand that many restaurants and bars don’t have a marketing or PR budget at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything you can yourself until your financial belt has loosened. When that time comes, our dedicated restaurant marketing team are here to help; until then, please see below for some ideas as to what you can do yourself.
Revisit your market.
Before you open, take the opportunity to start from scratch. As if you were a new company research your market and see what will be attracting people and how to market yourself accordingly. You can use this to diversify your customer base too and attract more people. Before you start any of the below you need to know what you are doing and why. As with any strategy, as cold as it sounds, look at your competition. What are they offering and how are they doing it? How can you stand out and what will make them choose you over the others?
Re-evaluate your menu and your suppliers.
Once you have looked at your demographic again you may find you need to make some changes to your menu. You can adapt it to maximise profit by analysing the consumer demand and your margins. Once this is done you may need some new suppliers, and you may be in the position to negotiate with your existing ones, whether this is on cost, volume, or delivery parameters.
Can you offer an ordering platform?
It may make people feel more secure if they can order at a distance. We look after an ordering app called Time2Dine which is just £25 a week and can make fulfilment easy. Apps like this, and other solutions, will make the world of difference to both compliance and ease of transitioning back into your restaurant, café, or bar. This could also cut your in-house costs so is a worthy consideration.
With people still wary of venturing out, you’ll have to tempt them. If you haven’t upped the ante with your social media presence, there’s no time like the present! People love food, but they love seeing the process too. Use your Instagram stories to show them behind the scenes footage. You can show the COVID related precautions you are taking of course, but in addition they won’t be able to resist the delicious food you’re plating.
You could also show them a more personal side of you on both your story and grid, such as:
- How you started in the industry
- A few of your favourite dishes
- Have you made any interior design changes during the closure? Show them off!
- Virtually interview your team with short snappy videos.
- Don’t be shy, tell people if lockdown has been tough. More people than you think will empathise!
Share your tips!
You can use either a social media or PR strategy to share tips, tricks, and recipes. We aren’t saying you should give away top secret content, but by showing people how great you are they will naturally want to dine with you. The people who aren’t quite comfortable leaving the house yet are likely to keep watching your content. They will build an affinity with your brand and when they are ready, will book. Those who are ready to get out and about are unlikely to stay at home following your posts and are likely to want to come and eat with you as a result. It’s a win win strategy, both short and long term.
Make sure your listings are up to date.
Make sure your listings show correct information, from opening times to pricing. It’s possible you won’t have looked at them mid pandemic so make sure the results they show are accurate. You also can add the status of your venue, such as open for take-out only. Update your hygiene and safety precautions and any government mandate protocol you are following.
Make the best use of your outside space.
Many people will be nervous about sitting inside and the ‘new normal’ will be especially obvious in a restaurant setting. If you have the ground, make more use of it. The weather can put a dampener on things so consider buying extra coverings to ensure you don’t lose custom as a result.
Le Talbooth in Dedham is an excellent example of this, they have doubled the size of their outside covered dining area to accommodate more people and meet the requisite social distancing measures.
Market your reopening.
It goes without saying that if people don’t know that you are opening your doors again, they won’t book! Make sure you let the world and his dog know you are back in business!
We hope this has gone some way to helping. We are always available for advice and should you need some more targeted campaigns once your restaurant recovers, we would love to hear from you.
A final word.
Things may seem negative at the moment, but it’s transient. The economy is in a permanent ebb and flow. We have seen recessions before and come through them. Nothing we do or say can guarantee survival but by implementing the above you can help your business increase it’s chances. By putting good business practices in place now you will benefit you in the years to come.