It’s been over 100 days since Governments across the world implemented lockdowns to fight the spread of Covid-19, putting the hospitality industry on pause. While proving successful in slowing down the virus, this strategy has also now raised questions about how the future of the hospitality industry will look. It is clear that we cannot immediately return to how things were before this crisis began, but it is equally clear we cannot stay in complete lockdown indefinitely. The time has come to find new ways to operate as an industry, while also continuing to suppress the spread of the virus. We believe that technology can play a key role in helping venues get ready to adapt to the “New Normal” as we all prepare for recovery. Read on to see just a few ways that embracing new (and existing) tech could help your business prepare for the “new normal” way of operating after COVID-19.
Sanitise your data lists
Don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting injecting bleach or anything similar, but we are recommending that now is the time to be going through your data lists, ensuring they are up to date, all addresses on it are opted in to receive your comms, and any bounces are stripped out.
Once lockdown has relaxed, using digital communications platforms like social media and email will be the most effective and direct way to reach your diners with news about your venue and what’s on offer. Use each one in turn to build your numbers up e.g Promote opt-ins to marketing emails via social, and encourage those on your email list to follow you on social media for instant updates on your venue. With ResDiary you can build up to date, GDPR compliant marketing lists, and use them for targeted email marketing campaigns. Learn how by following our simple guide here.
Plan for social distancing options
When restaurants do re-open after lockdown, it’s almost certain that all will need to implement social distancing requirements. The immediate effect of these measures will be that venues will be operating at a lower capacity than before ( possibly as much as 50% less). One of the solutions to tackle that drop will be to find ways to increase your table turns, by shortening service times. Another would be setting up pre-paid promotions and set menus. These changes mean that diners have the option to visit the venue and enjoy the experience – without needing to wait to order or pay. This speeds up the time they spend at the table and allows it to be turned around faster for the next diner. To discover how to set up pre-paid promotions watch this guide.
By planning adaptations to your operations now, and making the required changes in your diary ahead of time will allow you to be set up and ready to go when lockdown is relaxed.
- When your venue reopens, you may need to make changes to your business operating hours, close off days,or make whole areas unavailable for booking, With ResDiary you have the flexibility to make these changes when you need to. See a guide here
- When implementing social distancing measures to your floor plan, consider how you will rearrange your tables, or seat diners differently so they are more than one metre apart. We call changes like these “segments”, you can learn how to set up new ones, or edit existing ones in your diary by following this guide.
Increase your revenue with delivery and collection
With your venue working at a lower capacity than normal, adding in delivery or collection options are another way to generate additional revenue. Working out the type of service your operation can manage, and which elements of this can be easily scaled up or down depending on demand, is a good starting point. For example, will you operate a standard takeaway or delivery service? Will it use a reduced menu? Or will you create an order, collect, and cook at home service – letting diners recreate the experience of your venue’s food at home? Other variables to consider might be adding delivery charges, setting a minimum spend, or adding an incentive like free dessert for the first 20 orders to create demand.
Once you have planned which option(s) work for your venue, you will need to create an online menu and have it available in your diary ahead of time. ResDiary’s Pre-Order functionality is perfect for this. Menus can be built quickly, attached to a promotion, and be booked on your website via our widget. You can even take contactless payment during the booking process by setting up payments. Watch a short video that runs through the process here.
If delivery and collection aren’t a viable option for you, get creative and think of other ways to bring the experience of your venue to people at home. For example try creating a series of paid cooking master classes with your chef, over Zoom, and encourage people book time slots and pay in advance.
Keep it local, gain support,and increase your reach.
Diners around the globe are supporting their favourite local restaurants by buying vouchers and ordering takeaway from them. Keep the support going by including local suppliers where possible in your ingredients and produce. You could try partnering with a local pop up favourite to create a guest menu or dish, offer the ability to add in bread, pastry or cakes from a local baker, or sell coffees featuring beans from a local small roaster. You could even donate a portion of each order placed to a local charity.
Working this way not only wins local support, but allows your messages to be featured across both your own, and your local partners, social channels, and email comms. Resulting in your good work and offerings being seen by even more potential diners. Working with suppliers and supporting local causes can go a long way in getting your key messages shared even further.
Using technology to communicate, adapt, and plan your operations/business strategy now will be a huge help to your business when adapting to the post COVID-19 landscape, and ResDiary wants to help make sure the words “new normal” are really just a paraphrase for “thriving recovery”.
Learn more on our Covid-19 Hub
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