The restaurant industry took some of the biggest hits during the global shutdowns to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the health and safety of community members is the top priority, restaurant owners had to make dramatic adjustments to stay in business through the pandemic. Now, as the world starts to get a little more back to normal, restaurants are starting to open their doors back up for in-person dining rather than just takeout and delivery orders. This is great news for these businesses in so many states, but if you run a small restaurant, you may be wondering how you can rise above the competition as places start to reopen.
Competition is a healthy part of owning any business. It helps make you the best you can be to find success compared to the other places on the market. So, as other restaurants begin to reopen around you, it's time to rise to the challenge and find ways to help your eatery stand out. Keep up with your mobile ordering, offer safe, socially-distanced indoor options, or find ways to offer discounts or loyalty programs for people who have stuck with you during this unprecedented time. Let's take a look at a few more tips and tricks to help you manage the competition as the world returns to a sense of normality.
Continue with delivery and takeout options.
For months, gatherings of more than ten people have been completely out of the question. This meant many dining rooms at restaurants remained empty, but the kitchen was still hard at work. Chances are, you became familiar with online ordering, delivery, and curbside pickup. Just because restaurants are reopening for dine-in guests doesn't mean you have to completely abandon these other options. In fact, you can continue to get great business and beat the competition by keeping your online ordering and pickup options readily available.
Online ordering has never been easier for customers or for restaurant owners. Thanks to multiple third-party apps and your restaurant website, customers can place orders and make online payments to receive their food. Mobile apps like GrubHub, Postmates, Uber Eats, ChowNow, and more allow customers to order delivery from a number of different vendors. Your restaurant can participate in this delivery system to get more business than your own website may draw in. Thanks to Cuboh, you can monitor these orders easily. With one central POS system, all the takeaway orders are in one place. This integration allows you to manage the ordering process with ease and get food out to new customers efficiently and effectively. Cuboh offers key features that can help you become the best restaurant for curbside pickup or delivery. Once you get that reputation, you can blow the competition out of the water.
Increase outdoor seating opportunities.
As restaurants begin to reopen, chances are that there will still be some restrictions for your setup to keep everyone safe. You may have to limit your number of reservations to keep up with social distancing requirements. You may be able to take unlimited orders online but not in person. However, there are ways to get creative and increase your opportunities to welcome in-person diners. If you've never invested in outdoor seating before, this may be the time to do so. Consider setting up an outdoor awning in the parking lot or adding a few tables in front of the entrance. Even a few extra tables can help you increase your seating options and help customers feel comfortable dining outdoors.
Make it obvious that you are open.
Marketing has always been an important tool for restaurants of all sizes. In these unprecedented times, your marketing strategies are a great way to let customers know that you are indeed open and ready for business. Post on social media about your new hours and that you're ready to welcome in guests for table reservations and in-person dining. Even investing in signs that can hang in your windows telling people you're open can send a great message. These tips may seem like a no-brainer, but they can be helpful to get the word out that your small restaurant is open for business. A small additional cost for your marketing will go a long way toward getting people to your restaurant.
Offer promotions for loyal customers.
Another option to stay ahead of the curve is to offer promotions or discounts. This can go a long way for loyal customers who have stuck with you during the pandemic. Consider offering a coupon for $10 off in-person dining for every third online order someone places. Or get creative with other custom loyalty programs. Your customer base is who helps your small business thrive, and they are the best way to bring new customers through the door. By offering them some promotions as a way to say thank you, you're showing them you care and fostering further customer loyalty. This is great as the competition starts to reopen because you have customers you can count on, no matter what.
Keep doing your thing.
It's easy to get distracted by what the competition is doing. You may get easily intimidated by grand reopening events or crazy promotions that other restaurants start doing. However, the best way to rise above the competition is to simply keep doing your thing. Don't get spooked and start changing everything to try to keep up. Oftentimes, you'll get so focused on rolling out a new menu, drawing in new customers, or hosting big events that you'll lose the unique charm of your original restaurant. Plus, the new changes aren't always as good as the food and atmosphere you've spent months and years perfecting.
You need to keep the integrity of your restaurant and keep creating great food, experiences, and customer support. Get the word out, and utilize different ordering options, but don't forget your ultimate purpose. During the height of the pandemic, so many people felt alone and helpless. If you can continue offering them a good meal and some nice company, they will appreciate that and continue to support your restaurant.