If you are a restaurant owner then for sure these are challenging times for you. The lockdown caused by the pandemic has most likely affected your production and sales. You probably have not been able to operate normally and are forced to offer only take-out and delivery that too if the government allows. But in a situation like this, you can either surrender and shutdown or adapt and survive. If you choose the latter, then below are some tips on, how a restaurant delivery system can work in a possible lockdown.
Ensure Safety of the Staff
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that your staff is safe during the lockdown and even after the lockdown has been lifted. You need to keep in mind that your staff is the lifeblood of your business. Without your staff, your business will not be able to survive. To ensure the safety of your staff, you need to make sanitation and good hygiene as top priorities for your restaurant. If you can, try to secure at least 2 months’ worth of cleaning and sanitation
These should include disinfectant and alcohol, soap, masks, hand sanitizers, other protective equipment and cleaning materials for your restaurant and staff. You also need to enforce a strict rule as far as hygiene is concerned. This is not only for the protection of your staff but of your customers as well.
It may also be useful to share your sanitation and hygiene practices on your website and social media accounts to give more confidence to people who want to order from your restaurant. You must also check the health of each member of your staff every day before they start to work. If anyone appears to be sick, then you should immediately send that person home.
Create a Website
If your restaurant does not have a website yet, then this is a good time for you to set up one. A website is not only going to help boost your business during the lockdown but will affirm your restaurant’s validity and popularity post-COVID too. You just need to make sure that your website is secure. Hackers have a lot of free time as well while in lockdown, so you need to be careful. SEO or search engine optimization is another aspect of your website that you need to take care of. You can expect other restaurants to beef up their online presence so you can expect to have plenty of competition.
To be sure that your website is secure and optimized, you need to have good design and high- quality content. You can do these things yourself but for better execution, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional. It will require an investment on your part but it will be money well-spent, plus you will allow others to have work during this time.
Work on Your Social Media Accounts
Apart from creating a website, you should also make an effort to have a strong social media presence. If you don’t have a social media account yet, then you should immediately make one. If you already have, say, a Facebook account, then you should expand to other social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to link your website on your social mediaaccount so they can drive traffic to your site.
More traffic to your website means more orders for your restaurant. Of course, it is not enough to simply set up social media accounts. You need to attract followers and keep them engaged by regularly posting and sharing interesting and valuable content.
Integrate Ordering System on Your Site
Your website will not be of much use during a lockdown if it does not have an ordering system in place. This also includes offering different online payment options. You need to protect your business and your customers by using a reliable online payment processor.
You should be concerned about giving the best user experience to your customers when they order food through your website. They should feel secure when ordering on your site. They should also be able to order food in a simple, straightforward, and quick manner and the userinterface should be easy to understand. While you would have to increase your delivery staff, you must also have good and well-mannered staff in your store talking with customers,
compassion always goes a long way.
Adapt Your Menu for Online Ordering
You must redesign all aspects of your restaurant to adapt to online ordering starting from your menu. Some food items work well for delivery but some do not. What you can do is to reduce the size of your menu offering, retaining only those dishes that can withstand delivery.
You can also use this time as an opportunity for you to develop new food items for your restaurant. If you are not originally a family restaurant, then maybe you can consider adding more items in your menu that the whole family can enjoy. You can expect more people to be ordering for entire families since most of them are stuck at home all day. To entice customers to order more and to order again, maybe you can include deals or set up a loyalty system.
Promote the Changes in Your Restaurant
You may already have a loyal following but since they can’t come to your restaurant to know about the changes you have made then you really need to get the word out. This is where you can put your social media accounts to good use. If you have a budget to spare, then you should seriously consider advertising on one or several social media platforms. If you have an existing
database of your old customers, then call them or send them a text message to let them know that you are still operating and accepting orders. For sure, your old customers would love to hear from you. By spreading the word through different channels, you will also be able to get new customers.
Groom Your Business To be Adaptable
Like other businesses, your restaurant may have been unprepared for the current situation. If you want your restaurant to survive this pandemic and to thrive in the future, you need to make it more flexible and adaptable to change. To do this, you need to focus first on the things that you can control. The key is to minimize the unknown variables in your business. For a restaurant business, the things you can control include the quality of the food and your service.
You need to make sure that the quality of your food will remain intact as it travels from your restaurant to the customer.
You need to get good packaging and well-trained delivery personnel if you are planning to do your own delivery. If you are planning to outsource your delivery, then you need to make sure that you choose a reliable delivery service. You can also take this time as an opportunity to try out new things and to experiment whether with ingredients, promos, etc. Do not be afraid to make mistakes but you should turn your mistakes into lessons.
This might also require you to get some permission from the food authorities. In many countries, only restaurants that follow the SOPs are being allowed to carry out home deliveries. Take care of all this in the initial phase if you plan to keep operating, food is one industry that will never go out of business and that is why a few changes will go a long way. Before you know it, cash will start to flow in.