Restaurants are reopening and creating new initiatives to serve their customers, but there is a chance that their actions will go unnoticed and the restaurant won’t come to mind as a dining option after a long time closed or limited in its operations. Restaurant marketers need to communicate their actions widely to the local community. In order to do that, it’s essential to make a marketing plan that lays out how you intend to announce your reopening and highlight your delicious menu as well as your health and safety policies.
Publicize any changes you’ve made
When announcing that you’re reopening through social media, email marketing, outdoor signage, and other locations, take the opportunity to show off the changes that your business has made. If you’ve expanded your off-premises and curbside pickup services, discuss them and talk about how convenient and accessible they are.
If you’ve rearranged your dining room and kitchen set up to make it safer, display your work in progress. Take pictures and videos of your staff working to adapt the storefront to show the effort that you’ve made, rather than just letting them see the final result. When they see how hard you worked, they will appreciate your reopening more.
Describe what you expect from your customers and what they should expect from you. If masks are required, make this clear to customers through signage. If seating in the dining room or outdoors is limited, announce what your capacity is and whether customers can expect delays in being seated. Encourage reservations so you don’t have to turn away parties at the door. Show your employees wearing personal protective equipment in the kitchen and dining rooms.
Focus on your food
Remind customers how much they like your food and promote new, experimental menu items. Post recipes and cooking videos on your website and social media that show off your talented staff and their abilities. Publish a regular stream of updates to keep customers coming back for more if they enjoyed the last one, rather than leaving them disappointed. If you’re worried about giving away secrets, emphasize the quality of your kitchen and the skills of your staff rather than the unique ingredients.
Put your dishes in your marketing images as well, highlighting the best of what you have to offer so customers will want to come back or try for the first time.
Offer New Promotions and Rewards
Prepare a set of coupons, special offers, and rewards to incentivize customers to support your recovery. It may be a good opportunity to introduce a special loyalty rewards program for the customers who patronize you the most, especially if it’s integrated with your restaurant delivery app. Customers who gain points and discounts each time they visit will be encouraged to choose your restaurant instead of others. Give rewards for referrals as well, so customers will spread the word to their friends and family.
In addition, try to convert customers who have been using your mobile ordering app into in-person customers. Send notifications and special offers to them in particular, as well as reminding them that they can get your food even fresher and prepared ideally in-person.
List your current status everywhere you can
There are many sources people may go to learn if a restaurant is open. Check that your website is up to date with your hours of operation and other details, and do the same for social media. Update your Google My Business account with current information to display on Google searches and maps. Update your restaurant delivery app so it includes this information so customers can see that your on-premises service is now open.
Having a strategy like this laid out in advance will ease the bumpy process of bringing a greater volume of traffic back into your restaurant. Effective marketing in-person and online can reach potential customers and give you a boost in attention to help in your recovery efforts. In addition to taking these steps, connect with your customers on a personal level—respond to their comments online, answer their questions, and assure them of your high-quality service and your commitment to their safety. Proceed toward a successful recovery in 2021