COVID 19 Pandemic Survival Guide For Restaurants
COVID 19 has been the toughest struggle of the decade for restaurants. The overall dining experience has to change and adapt to the requirements coming from diners in the COVID era. This has forced restaurants to opt for digital and no-touch menu options as well as improving the productivity of their offers, working hours and staff.
Digital Menus are a MUST!
Digital menus have become a must-have for businesses that value customer experience. This has several reasons.
- Paper and Plastic Menus are extremely dirty and dangerous
Touch screens such as tablets and kiosks can be disinfected with alcohol regularly and very easily. The staff can clean the device between serving each customer or the guests can be handed sanitizers to ensure safety. Digital menu options such as tablets and QR menus offer a safer dining experience. According to Mashed, “Studies show menus could end up with as much as 185,000 microbes per square centimeter. Just to give you an idea of how horrible that is, a public toilet can have between 500 to 1,000 germs per square centimeter.” which makes the traditional menus horribly dirty to find in a restaurant.
- Safety practices and protocols are very important and should be presented to guests at all times. The easiest way to do this is to include the actions and precautions the restaurant has taken into the menu, which is the only item inside the restaurant every single customer interacts with. Due to the limited space on traditional menus and the difficulty of keeping the menus safe, this presents a challenge. Digital menus offer exclusive spaces to list the protocols the business follows to educate all guests on what they can expect from the restaurant.
Time for menu optimization and productivity improvements!
Even though the pandemic has been very damaging to the restaurant business, it also provides a window of opportunity to optimize the menu and work on the productivity of the business.
Low margin and less demanded items create a burden on the kitchen and operations. Many restaurants use the pandemic period to cut items and streamline their menu. It is a great time to work on what the restaurant wants to serve and signature items. Restaurants can look for new vendors, optimize recipes, and improve productivity by focusing on costs and margins.
The pandemic changed customers’ expectations and preferences on the menu as well. 8/10 diners prioritize brands that they know as it gives a sense of trust in terms of food hygiene. Including well-known and trusted vendors’ names on the menu can be a game-changer for the sales of certain items.
Value-based promotions have become more important as the purchasing power of diners declined due to the pandemic. Studies show that 46% of diners prefer value-based promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free or bundles. It is also noted that shareables have lost popularity and will remain less-demanded for a period of time. Restaurants can use this time to create promotions, bundles, and brand-supported items to ensure sales when they go back in business.
A WOW Factor In The Dine-In Experience!
Since people have been cooking more at home during the pandemic, dine-in will have to compete against at-home dining when restaurants reopen. This calls for a WOW factor to impress guests when they come back to dine at their favorite place again OR to attract new customers by offering greater value than the competitors. Some ways this can be done are;
- Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, reassure, reassure, reassure
Guests value businesses that take the pandemic seriously and take action towards sanitizing and social distancing. It is very important to display efforts in a way guests can see such as putting a list of their precautions on the menu, on the walls, cleaning tables, and all other shared items regularly. If a customer loses trust in the practices a restaurant carries, they are not likely to come back anytime soon.
- Transform your menu to stand out from the crowd. Improve the content by offering value-based promotions and new and improved specials. Change the presentation by switching to a digital menu solution to offer a safer and more exciting experience. This will allow you to share more information about every dish and the safety protocols you follow to impress guests.
- Emphasize food safety on the menu by sharing photos and preparation videos from your kitchen. List the vendors you work with on the menu to show guests that you trust your partners and that you are doing all that’s necessary to keep everyone safe. A clean kitchen and transparent policies will keep guests coming back to dine at your place!