Even as many restaurants are now fully reopen, revenues on the whole are down compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Consumers are still cautious about returning to dining in as previously accustomed to, necessitating that curbside, drive-thru and delivery become mainstays in your restaurant’s sales quiver—at least for the time being. So how do you prioritize your marketing messaging to ensure you are driving consumer confidence to dine in while still promoting all the other ways customers can still enjoy your food? Consider the following tips.
Strike a Balance
While it’s great for restaurants to be able to once again welcome guests into their dining rooms, we know some customers are still hesitant to dine out and some may be more comfortable ordering delivery or picking up food curbside for the foreseeable future. Keep those customers in mind as you promote the return to dine-in service, and be careful to not brush off their concerns.
Promote What’s New
Instead of focusing exclusively on dine-in and neglecting delivery or pick-up messaging, spend time instead talking about any special offers or new menu items. That’s a sure way to draw customers in—and from there, you can share information about dining in, delivery or to-go options. Promoting loyalty or rewards programs is another worthwhile approach, as doing so can help drive dine-in visits in the future.
As you’re balancing these messages, make sure what you’re sharing is extremely timely and relevant to help eliminate any confusion over your current state of operations. Stay active on social media to answer questions or respond to reviews. And consider creating a COVID-19 FAQ document or section of your website so guests can have your most up-to-date information.
To further manage expectations during a time when customers crave trust, be as transparent as possible to let customers know what to expect. Have you implemented new protocols and processes? Is your dining room still getting up-to-speed as it reopens? Share all that with customers. Are you winding down delivery, but still offering curbside service? Be proactive in letting customers know and, if you can, give some insight into why you’ve made the decisions you have.
Ask for Feedback
We know that moods and minds are constantly changing as we navigate this new normal, so check in with customers and ask for feedback on what they want to hear more of, what they may be confused about or what they need more information on. Their answers can help you identify the marketing messages they would be the most receptive to at any given time.