Our Recommendations for Restaurant Communications during COVID-19 Pandemic

As marketers, restaurant operators, and communities navigate the novel waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most important thing to remember is that all of us are going through the same situation. We are all searching for information and updates, and many of us are getting at least some of our news via social media and online outlets. That makes these channels prime opportunities to communicate with your customers and your community, whether your restaurant remains open or if you’ve chosen to cease operations temporarily. Keep reading for our recommendations for keeping your audience up to date with your restaurant.

If You’re Open: Streamline Takeout and Delivery Services

restaurant delivery services fill the gaps left by COVID 19
Restaurant delivery service has jumped to the forefront of services offered by both local and national brands Delivering food ingredients and drinks is becoming the new norm

Throughout the country, restaurants ranging from fast-casual to fine dining have been advised or required to close in-store dining areas. Needless to say, a decrease in traffic means a drop in sales, which can prove dangerous for small businesses. Fortunately, most counties with a shelter-in-place mandate have allowed restaurants to continue providing takeout and delivery services. As a silver lining, this may be an opportunity for your operation to shore up these services.

Many eateries have flexed their creativity when it comes to keeping their communities fed. Restaurants still able to fulfill orders through takeout and delivery can serve those communities further by streamlining operations to make off-premise dining as seamless as possible. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Institute no-contact ordering: publish your full menu on your social channels and allow guests to call or message to place an order for pickup. Bonus tip: use Instagram or Facebook Stories, which expire after 24 hours, to feature what’s in stock, daily specials, and more.
  • Offer curbside pickup: allow guests to call ahead and have their order brought to their vehicle. This limits the number of guests coming in and out of your restaurant, thereby limiting your employees’ exposure.
  • Expand delivery options: if your restaurant already offers delivery to select zip codes, consider enlisting the help of third-party services like GrubHub or Uber Eats to extend your delivery area.

If You’re Closed: Keep Communication Open

social media can help keep communication open during COVID 19
Open communication with your consumers during these difficult times can instill brand loyalty and help provide a launching pad for community outreach

Unfortunately, not every restaurant will be able to remain open during this time. Whether it’s to safeguard the health of your employees or if your operations do not allow for effective takeout and delivery, having to close your doors is a difficult but perhaps a necessary decision. However, just because your kitchen is not open for business doesn’t mean your communication lines must also shut.

Keeping your restaurants’ social channels active while your locations are closed lets your customers know you’re still here, you’re still thinking of them, and you’ll be back soon and better than ever. And that goes beyond announcing when your locations will close and reopen, as many of us don’t have clear ideas of those dates yet. Take the extra step and create content that not only engages customers but keeps them entertained and connected to your brand during challenging times. Here’s where to start:

  • Test potential new menu items in your home kitchen and share the experience on social media. Cooking videos earn millions of views for a reason—it’s time for your restaurant to get in on the action.
  • Host employee takeovers on Instagram Stories and showcase how your staff is staying home and staying safe. Sharing personal stories helps humanize your brand and put faces behind your messaging.
  • Have your chefs or cooks show off their skills by hosting a cooking class on Instagram or Facebook Live. Put out the word on social to give followers a chance to stock up on what they’ll need and teach those that tune in how to recreate one of your signature dishes.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be covering some of the most talked-about topics surrounding coronavirus and its impact on the restaurant industry, including the measures operators can take to mitigate losses and keep their brands strong. Stay tuned for our team’s coverage, recommendations, and more.