How will chefs and restaurateurs adapt to new challenges in the catering sector? Learn what will be necessary to refine and adapt your catering business policies to survive and grow.
2020 was a difficult year for chefs and restaurateurs — 100,000 bars and restaurants have permanently closed because of the pandemic, CNBC reports. It’s estimated around $240 billion in restaurant sales were lost in total. For restaurant owners fighting to stay afloat in 2021, it will be necessary to refine and adapt your business policies so that you can return to stability and thrive in the future.
Whether they’re dining in or taking out, customers are now looking for quick and easy ways of placing an order and paying. Mobile ordering allows customers to place an order via their smartphones. It typically includes a payment gateway like (Google or Apple Pay) that lets customers enter their details and checkout. Mobile ordering also boosts customer spending, since customers have the ability to place an order at any time, can easily add sides and customizable options, and pay with minimal hassle.
To offer a takeaway option, sign up with a third-party delivery platform like Uber Eats, Glovo, or Deliveroo. Most delivery companies now have a contactless delivery policy. This allows customers to receive their order without human contact, as the courier can leave it on their doorstep.
Over the past few months, a number of your customers will have started preparing their own meals at home and ordering online. It’s likely these habits will continue even after the Covid pandemic. It’s therefore important to encourage your customers to return to on-premise dining with some type of promotions and incentives tailored to each customer segment. To win back your most loyal customers, send them personalized emails with important information like opening times and the reassuring safety standards you now have in place. Offer new customers loyalty programs with special offers.
It also helps to make sure you’re maintaining consistent branding across your social media platforms (for example, the menu featured on your own app should be the same as your menu on third-party food delivery platforms). And to win back the customers who may have gone to your competitors, focus on effective marketing, which includes offers on popular items and loyalty-driven price promotions.
Although your customers have changed their eating habits in recent months, they’ll be looking to return to some semblance of normalcy — as much as is permitted by their health and safety concerns. Updating your menu and pricing is a particularly effective way to attract customers. Reintroduce items on your regular menu (like breakfast and fresh produce) and then highlight unique foods and old favorites. You should also make sure your prices are still competitive in the current market. Focus on marketing your value items and then upselling. You can also pay attention to new food trends and incorporate them to your menu. Plant based and paleo options are two popular options.
For restaurant businesses looking to thrive in the new normal, adapting your business policies is essential. Offering mobile ordering, implementing customer incentives, and rethinking your menu are three key ways you can regain stability and continue to stay ahead of the competition.