Info Bites - Moving Forward After COVID-19
Boost your revenue # 1 - The "fast food" approach
At the time of writing this post, social restrictions and lockdown measures are slowly being lifted across the globe. One side-effect of this pandemic has been an increase in autonomy between regions in many countries. Essentially, the head of a country outlines a broader easing of lockdown measures and then individual states/counties and regions formulate and deploy plans to speed up or slow down the lifting of lockdown restrictions. Given that every locality has its own social restrictions / lockdown guidelines, how can a restaurant/café or bar continue to operate?
One potential method of earning money would be to consider a fast food approach, fast food chains in most locations continue to sell and make money. For years, the fast food model has already been adopted to support drive-in, takeaway and delivery strategies. Now it’s certainly not possible to implement these strategies overnight, but in these uncertain times, it’s worthwhile looking at how you can make the fast-food model fit your business.
Some recommendations that we have for you are;
consider the region you are in, the current situation in your region and the spending capacity of people, and have an altogether separate menu for takeaway and delivery.
consider hosting $1.99 or $2 items on your menu and
finally, think about combos. Combos could be a way for you to get the most out of your raw materials and at the same time market a variety of options to tempt customers to order in or takeaway.
Have you attempted the fast food model? If yes, we would love to hear your experience so drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Boost your revenue # 2 - "Customise your menu”
Let’s begin with a story. A few months back, well before this Coronavirus crisis forced us into self-isolation and social distancing, I visited a restaurant with some friends. To set the scene in more detail, imagine a busy shopping mall with at least 25 other eateries in close proximity. What made our restaurant stand out was its unique food but more importantly it’s customer service which began from the warm greetings by the hostess at the reception, to the dining area in-charge, who offered to customize our menu and make our dining pleasure bespoke and one of a kind! With social restrictions and certain lockdown measures still in place in most states/counties or regions of every country, dining-in still would not be a preferred option for customers.
So why not offer to customize your menu for customers ordering delivery and takeaway and make their meal; a special one! We are all experiencing the impacts of COVID-19, one way or another. So, your efforts to create a one of a kind experience for a customer will definitely stand out, making them a fan of your restaurant and at the same time, helping boost your word-of-mouth publicity!
Boost your revenue # 3 - Online delivery platforms
Mention online delivery platforms and we are certain you can quickly rattle off names such as Deliveroo, GrabFood, Foodpanda, UberEats, Menulog, DoorDash etc. With social restrictions and certain lockdown measures still in place in most states/counties or regions of every country, dining-in still would not be a preferred option for customers. If your restaurant operated on purely a dine-in option, the recent times would have been absolutely devastating for your business and it may not be easy to turnaround and start a self-delivery or even a takeaway option overnight.
This is where the online delivery platforms could lend a helping hand. Since most of them have been around for a few years, they have built a significant customer base which will be readily available for you to promote to. Furthermore, their online set-up will give you a leg-up as you begin to pivot towards new technology and commence taking online and takeaway orders. So, do consider these few things when deciding whether or not to sign-on to an online delivery platform:
Ease of set-up
Commissions charged by the platform – Increasingly, commissions have become a sore point for many restaurants so you should consider whether this cost creates a big dent in your earnings or can you manage them?
Duration – How long would you want to stay on this platform or how long must you remain on it before you can leave
Driver availability – You should also ascertain how many drivers does each platform employ in your region. Speaking from personal experience, if a customer places an order with you using the platform but their aren’t’ any drivers available to deliver your food, your reputation could take a hit!
Boost your revenue # 4 - Self delivery
In these unprecedented times, with self-delivery and takeaway the only 2 options available for restaurants to make money, a pivot away from dine-in is a must. Especially, if your outlet only offered a dine-in option in the past, then a changeover to takeaway and more specifically, delivery may not be a solution that you could implement overnight. So, do consider these few things when deciding whether or not to start your own delivery service:
If you were aiming to start delivery within a week, what type of vehicles would you have at your disposal? Cycles, bikes, cars, vans etc?
If you do not have enough vehicles available, can you rent one? Can you absorb the rental costs or could you include them in the orders?
Alternatively, can you partner up with other restaurants and cafes in your street/area and share deliveries? Perhaps it could be more economical to share a rental van with your neighbours and split the costs?
How quickly can you convert and assign staff roles to the delivery option?
And would a self-delivery be better compared to using platforms such as Deliveroo, UberEats, Menulog, DoorDash etc
If you recently set up your own delivery service, we would love to hear your experience so drop me a message at email@example.com
Boost your revenue # 5 – Offer non-food items
Recently, we read a heart-warming article about an Italian restaurant in California offering toilet paper, hand towels, disinfectants etc. to those in need. These certainly are unprecedented times so it might be worthwhile for a food preparation and delivery business to consider selling non-food items. You may start with your own local area. Look out for items that people need the most and if you have them or are able to purchase them, you may very well sell them at cost-price or if you can afford to, give them out to those in need for FREE!
The intangible benefits out of this action could be immense for your restaurant or café. Think about the publicity this could generate and help convert people in your local area as well as the wider region into life-long fans of your outlet.
Boost your revenue # 6 – Minitiarize
In our previous infoBITES posts, we have spoken about the unprecedented situation COVID-19 has created and the need for restaurants and cafes to adopt a takeaway or delivery model. One thing we have not discussed yet is how ‘packaging your orders’ could help you sell better and faster. Be it your own delivery service or an online platform, packaging would make a big difference in the layout of the food the customer receives at their doorstep. So you will have to consider the quality of boxes or packets you buy and how they can help keep your food fresh and appetizing.
You could even consider shrinking the portion of the items you are offering and reducing your sales price on it. With people’s spending capacity at a very low in these times, customers would highly appreciate food that they can not only afford but one that gets delivered at their door properly packed without any spill-over and with a short message of thanks!
And irrespective of whether you operate a bar, a café or a restaurant, there are always items you can package and sell, a bar-owning friend of ours minitiarized his cocktails and packed them into tiny, attractive and affordable bottles, allowing him to continue selling even with lockdown and social distancing in effect. Having said this, do consider the health and cleanliness code of your country before embarking on this option.
Boost your revenue # 7 – TALK to your customers
When COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, the entire city of approximately 50 million residents was placed in lockdown overnight. Imagine the shock for a restaurant or cafe owner in that city to have to wake up and find out that they can no longer venture out of their home, let alone operate their businesses. An online food and beverage magazine interviewed 2 bartenders to get their reactions and the story that came out of that interview was an inspiring one. Both bartenders explained that how they overcame their shock from the lockdown and used their time at home to connect personally with their customers via social media.
Now, please do consider the privacy laws in your country before you start messaging your customers but if you can, contact your customers directly via social media or email and talk to them. Start with your regulars and slowly reach out to customers who have liked or posted on your outlets Facebook / Instagram pages. You’ll not only create a strong and large fan base but you could also acquire ideas on food and drinks you might offer once the lockdown and social restrictions are lifted.
Boost your revenue # 8 – The Ball Drop
Consider the Times Square ball drop that ushers in a new year. The anticipation and excitement of what lies ahead is overpowering at the moment. 2020 has been a life altering year for everybody. COVID-19 continues to stalk and attack humanity and yet, we all are roaring to persevere forward. Restrictions in many major countries have started to loosen and as such the general public would be eagerly waiting for the days when they can socialize with friends and family in restaurants, cafes and bars.
The first few days after the complete end of lockdown and social restrictions would definitely feel like a giant party. So, it could be worthwhile to consider planning a street party with other restaurants and bars in your area. Or you could consider collaboration with another like-minded business and even a supplementary business such as a DJ service and have in-house parties. The sky will be the limit once we are through these challenging times. Until then, planning out how best would you celebrate will provide you with hope and creativity that can help push your business to new heights. But be mindful of the medical advice for your area when planning any celebration.
A wee-little disclaimer
While we strive to provide the most accurate and relevant information on all of our posts, the ideas discussed may not specifically apply to your situation. So here are few disclaimers to protect us all:
The ideas that we discuss on this and all our posts are suggestions and recommendations only. Your business situation may be different and so not all suggestions/recommendations may work for you. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific situation
The ideas that we discuss on this and all our posts are aimed at food & beverage business across Australia, Singapore and the UK. Please write to us on email@example.com if you’d like us to analyse your region and prepare suggestions. We will be more than happy to it!
You should always seek professional advice from us or from your own accountants and advisors before implementing any ideas that have discussed in this and all our other posts and consider the economic situation of your region