There’s no denying COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on consumer spending and foot traffic. This has left many businesses emerging from the coronavirus crisis with an uncertain future ahead of them.
As your shopfront reopens and business reopens, we recommend taking the following steps to get customers back through your door:
Follow Health & Safety Guidelines
The number one reason customers refrain from stepping inside your restaurant is the risk of transmission that close contact imposes. The best thing you can do in this scenario is to make your customers feel protected. This includes:
- Practising social distancing
- Offering contactless payment methods
- Providing online menu viewing options
- Implementing good hygiene practices
- Frequently cleaning and disinfecting your premises
By assuring customers you’re doing everything in your power to enforce health and safety measures, you’ll instil confidence in your customers.
Capitalise On Exclusive Menu Items
Does your cafe or restaurant serve special menu items that customers continue to ask for? Perhaps it’s a limited edition dessert, your famous cold brew coffee or continental roll that tends to sell out every morning.
By taking advantage of its high demand, you can draw customers into your restaurant at designated times – which may encourage them to browse other food specials on display that day. If you’re lucky, they may even be tempted to sit in for a quick coffee – because why not?
Set The Scene
While your restaurant setup may look different with spaced-out tables and chairs, you’ll want to take the initiative to make things look more inviting. For example, you could:
- Decorate tables with flowers and candles
- Add plants, artwork and screens in empty spaces
- Get servers to wear masks designed to match your restaurant’s theme
- Sprucing up your shopfront and window displays
While these all seem like small measures, they can go a long way in drawing customers in and making them feel at ease while dining in.
Keep Up Online Communications
In a recent study by travel market research firm Destination Analysts, 41% of participants stated that dining out with friends was the activity they missed most.
With that said, it seems we know what customers already yearn for. Of course, their transition to dining out again should be at their own pace. What you can do, though, is build anticipation. Whether it’s through social media or email marketing, you should be staying in touch with customers and keeping morale high.
Trust us – loyal customers will want to keep posted on your reopening dates, health and safety protocols, food specials, new operating hours and other updates. Even with all the adjustments, you’ll just have to show them the magical dining experience they’re missing out on.
If you’ve been posting consistently during lockdown – just make sure you don’t drop the ball now! With dine-in business returning, you’re bound to be rewarded for your efforts.
Evolve With Customer Needs
A business that is attentive to its customer needs is one that will go far.
In saying that, you may still have a large portion of customers who may not feel comfortable enough to dine in. To accommodate them, you may decide to ramp up your restaurant’s takeaway and delivery options, or establish a contact-free pickup zone.
To take things further, you may want to get direct feedback through online surveys or polls. This will allow you to better understand your customers’ concerns and pain points and what they might want to see more of from your restaurant.
From there, you can meet your customers where they are – by altering your business model and ensuring your customers are being heard. As restrictions ease and some normalcy begins to return, we can guarantee those same customers will be paying you a visit.