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  • Writer's pictureSusan - PrecisionOne Consulting Digital Marketing ID

5 Great Restaurants Tips To Help With New Options.

It's sad to say but the hospitality industry has been hit very hard by the pandemic. Many restaurants have been forced to close, reduced capacities, new, strict health code guidelines and a limited food supply which are just some of the daunting tasks that these businesses face. Some have faced this trying time head-on and have come out on top while others have decided to just close up or worse, try to limp along without a clear plan or with their “reserves” drying up fast.

The majority of the restaurants (the ones who are still around) immediately jumped on the “Take Out” bandwagon. This is a no-brainer. Afterall, 33% of consumers say they’re getting more takeout than before the pandemic (Restaurant Business) and 51% of consumers have downloaded at least one new app to purchase food and essentials since COVID-19 (Bluedot). People need to be able to order takeout from restaurants and they are doing that more now than ever before. So, let's focus on some great and better ways to make your customers takeout experience and have them feel special for a win-win scenario.

Try these on for size :)

Menu Revamp Try to revamp or streamline the menu for a couple of reasons… one is to address the food item availability issues. No need to getting a ton of inventory for dishes that don't sell or keep well. Focus on streamlining the menu to be able to cross-utilize more ingredients that you know are, and will be, available as well as use ingredients that have not experienced significant price increases. Also, make a call to your food vendors, a simple phone call to ask them what’s available and will continue to be available and price-stable, should do the trick.

Family Meals And let's not forget about the classic Family Meals. To us, this is a gold mine. Creating larger portions of the same items takes less labor, less packaging units and you can charge more! From the customer perspective, this creates the providing your family with a wholesome, delicious dinner, without the grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning. The family still gets excited because it still feels like “eating out”, it still has the restaurant quality food, and parents can still feel good about sitting at the table and connecting on how great remote schooling went that day. Another benefit is that you don’t have to get crazy with the menu choices. Remember, simpler is better! Bottom line, customers can buy all this at the grocery store and make it at home but who doesn't want a night off from making dinner? They would rather pay YOU to do that. They want to support a local business while also supporting their family by feeding them with minimal to zero effort and they will pay to do so. Another win-win!

Slow Down… Regardless of your family size and if you have someone who likes to cook or rather microwave dinner, these days, people just don’t want too. They are looking to support a local business whose business is to make the food that we want to eat. And so we order out, as much as possible! And more often than not, I am overwhelmingly disappointed by what we are getting. And it’s not always about the food. The packaging and presentation of the food also needs to be on point. If it's messy, disorganized, or just WRONG, why would anyone reorder? If the presentation is messy or even worse, wrong order, the message your delivering is that your restaurant is so slammed that they’re literally throwing the food in takeout containers, and legit running out the door just to keep up with demand. According to Restaurant Dive, 20% of diners are willing to wait beyond 40 minutes for food delivery anyway so take it easy. They will even drive to the restaurant to pick up their order, offer a "no contact" pickup as long as they payed with a credit card. They call the restaurant when they are outside and one of your employees puts the order in their trunk. But remember, spend the time to fulfill each order accurately, with love, the way you would want it if you were bringing it home to your family. If you do this, it will show with repeat and new customers.

Dining-In Experience at Home One example is to try to recreate the dining-in experience at home. That’s where the restaurant offers their full menu, including all condiments and utensils, to-go. Your customers will feel like they’re still getting part of that “restaurant experience” while being able to eat in the comfort of their home. No grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning. Plus, the whole family doesn’t have to eat the same thing, all the options are there, so no complaining from the kids or spouse when the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” However, this is our least favorite option. Some restaurant food is just not made to travel well. Whether the food gets cold and/or doesn’t reheat well, or the buns get soggy or the salad wilts, it pretty much can ruin the whole experience and not just tonight’s dinner, but it could also change the way you feel about that dish or even that restaurant. So, let's look for better options.

An Unexpected Gift

Lastly, add something fun and unexpected to the orders. “For free?” "Well, yeah!

Here’s what I mean by that…

  1. For family dinners, if you have any of those packaged crayons laying around you can throw those in or kids menu with the games and word searches on them. It tells your customer that you care about their kids and the kids are more likely to ask for the place that gave them the crayons :)

  2. Add some free dinner rolls or bread if you can. Of course, these need to be packaged separately, a nice, simple brown paper bag would work, perhaps stamped with your logo or sticker, and warm rolls even better, but given that no one is doing this right now, it’s a great way to stand out and get repeat customers.

  3. How about you throw in a small snack for the kids? Or kid-like adults? Pretzels, popcorn, chips, crackers, the options are endless, but the sentiment is priceless. If you have kids, you know what I mean, even if it's all adults, you know what I mean!…

  4. Need more love on social media? Add in a promotion where if they take a picture of their family enjoying the meal and tag the restaurant, give them something off their next order – and make it worth their while… nobody is busting out their phone for 10% off so make it a free desert of extra fries... something everyone loves!

  5. Promotions, promotions, promotions! “Loyalty” Promotions are HUGE for repeat business (and for loyalty) and yet not many places do this well. You don't have to invest in some crazy expensive CRM program where there are loyalty cards and software. How about this, For every $10 someone spends, you give them $1 in Reward Money. And this “Money” can be something as simple as fake Monopoly money that you print up in-house with your logo, or even real Monopoly Money that you’re able to stamp with your logo, and you provide that with the receipt or stapled to their take-out bag. Make it somewhat colorful so they have something to hold on to and it will also help them to remember you for the next time they order.

All the best,



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