Thousands of bars and restaurants across the country have closed their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Those with food delivery services, drive-thrus, and takeout options are mitigating the loss in revenue that comes with closing down dining areas. Meanwhile, restaurants that don’t normally offer these services are scrambling to catch up.
Follow these 10 tips to keep the cash flow floodgates open while your dining room is closed.
1. Sign up with a food delivery service
Several food delivery service apps are doing their part to ease the financial burden on restaurant owners.
- Uber Eats has $5 million in funding for Australian independent restaurants to deploy promotions to attract customers. It’s also possible for restaurants to get payments daily rather than weekly as well as no service fees on pickup orders until June 30.
- Beyond those, there are also services like Menulog and Deliveroo, to choose from. It’s a good idea to make your food available on multiple delivery service platforms. You want your customers to find you on their food delivery app of choice.
However, keep in mind that all of these services come with fees—if not right away.
2. Avoid the fees to make to-go meals work for your team
You may want to avoid the delivery and service fees most food delivery apps charge. Convert your workers to delivery drivers, or start delivering food yourself. If delivery isn’t an option, curbside pickup is a great way to keep food moving out the door and cash coming in.
3. Adjust your menu to offer takeout-friendly food
If you have food that can’t easily be delivered or transported in a to-go box, consider adjusting your menu to offer takeout-friendly options. Avoid overcomplicating your online menu with too many dish customisations. Keep it simple. The fewer steps from food selection to checkout, the better for your customer experience.
4. Offer no-contact delivery
During a no-contact delivery, the driver places the food on the recipient’s entryway or in another agreed-upon spot. No-contact delivery protects your delivery drivers from interacting with customers who might be sick or carrying the coronavirus. Your customers want to know you’re doing what it takes to keep your employees and your customers safe.
5. Promote gift card purchases
Make sure you’re giving your customers the ability to buy gift cards online. Mail physical gift cards directly to buyers, offer virtual gift cards, or deliver the cards along with their food.
Feel-good stories of good samaritans purchasing gift cards to feed families in need or donating gift cards to health care workers have hit news headlines in USA. Make sure your restaurant is an option for people wanting to do good in their community.
6. Reduce your pricing to keep cash flow coming in
Money may be tight, but slightly reducing your menu prices could make your restaurant more appealing for pickup and delivery customers. If it keeps the cash flow coming in, it might be worth the dip in revenue.
7. Donate excess food for a tax write-off
At the end of the day, most bars and restaurants likely aren’t going through their food supplies as quickly as they used to. If you have excess food, don’t let it go to waste. Donate it to a local shelter and record it as a tax write-off. It will pay off later.
8. Communicate with your customers
Make sure your customers know you’re open for business and how they can order. As you adjust menus and services, you might not have had time to update your website or social pages. If customers don’t know you’re open, they won’t place an order. Keep your customers in the loop. Let them know how you plan to get them their food and how they can support your business.
9. Sell your merch
Don’t forget, food isn’t your only option. Many bars and restaurants offer branded merchandise as well. Encourage your customers to support you through hard times with a branded sweatshirt or pint glass. Take a look around your restaurant: What else could you auction off to keep money flowing in?
10. Seek support from your community
Turn to your loyal customers for support. Your customers are your first line of defense against financial hardship. Let them know that you’ll do whatever it takes to keep your doors (metaphorically) open and continue serving them in any way you can—but that you need their help. People have already shown a great willingness to help others during these uncertain times.
Keep it clean
Above all, the purpose of these mandated shutdowns is to enforce social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus. When offering delivery service or pickup, maintain a 1.5 metre distance between customers. Avoid physical contact, and ask your workers to wear gloves when transfering food. For pickup orders, avoid grouping customers together in a line.
If you or someone on your staff becomes sick or thinks they may have been exposed to the coronavirus, send them home right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your customers will appreciate your caution.
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