Right now, it seems the entire world is in limbo. Many industries are put on hold while many states issue stay at home orders for residents. This has left restaurants to pivot or die, essentially, with the closure of dine-in options all over the world.
It’s scary. A restaurant that was not already doing robust takeout and delivery service now has to modify its business model to fit the times, or risk losing thousands of dollars of revenue.
Employees who work on tips are suffering, too. While takeout and delivery does attract some tippers, the reality is that the practice isn’t as common.
So what can you do? As a restaurant owner, it takes some creativity to keep your business running during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some considerations for you as you look for ways to keep customers happy and returning for more:
Offer delivery with your own drivers: For starters, look into the insurance and liability provisions for delivery services, as you don’t want to leave your employees at risk without protection on the road. Offering delivery is a simple way to keep demand and traffic high, and keeping the deliveries in-house rather than contracting out to a third party such as Uber Eats helps give your employees some income.
Have curbside delivery as an option: In an effort to help with social distancing, consider offering curbside pick-up for takeout orders. This reduces traffic inside the building and offers a convenient option for diners.
Create a membership or loyalty program: Encourage customers to return by starting a loyalty program. For some restaurants, a “membership” offering might be a possibility. This could include a certain number of meals per week (perfect for those working at home who need a lunch option!) for a flat rate. Recurring revenue will be key to navigating this pandemic.
Always be exceptional with customer service: Customer service is a highly underrated way to gain and keep customers. Be efficient and organized when handling orders. Always deliver with necessary utensils. Ensure food is hot upon pick-up or delivery. These small details will go a long way in setting your restaurant apart from others.
In these uncertain times, circumstances seem to change quickly. Above all, do your best to keep your staff healthy, adhere to the social distancing restrictions, and don’t be afraid to get a little creative. In survival mode, anything goes.
Support our local restaurants! You can find an up-to-date database of restaurants offering takeout and delivery in the Kansas City area here.