Technology & Digital Marketing Guide For Restaurants During COVID-19

We know … these are crazy and unprecedented times for all of us. In particular, the restaurant industry has taken a huge hit due to COVID-19. Having customers in the restaurant industry, we’ve seen the struggles and worries that they’re currently dealing with.

Instead of sitting around and waiting for this pandemic to end,  our Creative Technology team came together to create a guide for our restaurant friends on what they can be doing now during downtime and how they can plan for the future using technology & digital marketing!

Put strategies in place to help you now and in the future

What can I do NOW?

What can your restaurant be doing NOW during downtime? 

-Stay active with customers by creating new content
-Update your website
-Check website & menu mobility 
-Enhance your local SEO
-Add new offerings to your menu

How can I plan for the FUTURE?

Start putting strategies in motion to help prepare you for a new norm!

-Online Ordering Technology
-Online Reservations Technology
-Collect new email addresses for future marketing
-Create coupons and loyalty programs 

Remember: These Hard Times Won’t Last Forever!

Before we know it, stay-at-home orders will be lifted and when that time comes, you want to be ready and come back stronger than ever! It’s important to remember that this will end and to not get discouraged while we are in these downtimes.

Keep a positive outlook and use this downtime to your advantage! Keep scrolling for some fast action tips that you can start putting in place today to come out of this pandemic on top!

What can I do NOW?

Get ahead of the game by acting now! What can you be doing during this downtime to maintain business and build awareness for your restaurant? 

Stay Active With Your Customers by Creating New Content

What is content anyway? Content can be any form of video, blog post, infographic etc.. With many restaurants either closed or working on limited hours, it’s important to keep a familiar face with your clientele. Start creating shareable content on social media and your website to let them know you are here!

We listed out some examples of video content ideas that you can easily create using your camera on your phone or through your computers camera. If you’re not a video person, take pictures, write a blog post, or even record  a quick podcast using your phone or computers microphone! Whatever direction you take, the main point is to get creative and start pushing out content! 

Video Content Ideas:

  • Live Cooking – Show your customers how you make a meal by taking a video of your process! People are stuck at home, give them something entertaining to watch! If you are on Facebook or Instagram, do a live cooking show! 
  • Kitchen Tour – Give your customers a sneak behind the scenes of your restaurant. You can give them a tour of your kitchen and show give them a behind the scenes look at how you operate!
  • Background Story – How did you start your restaurant? Explain to your viewers how you came to open your restaurant and what it means to you. By doing this, you are humanizing your business and telling your story that may have not  been told before.
  • COVID-19 Updates – Let your customers know how you’re doing and what you’ve been doing to stay ahead of this pandemic. Customers probably also want to know what precautions you are taking to keep your staff safe as well as how you plan to keep them safe once they return. 
  • Interviews – Ask your employees or loyal customers to film a short video of them explaining what makes your restaurant special to them, what they miss the most and what they look forward to when you open back up! 

Update Your Website

When was the last time you updated your website? If it’s been a while, now might be the perfect time to update and clean up your site. As time goes on, content, menu items, delivery options and prices may have changed and you may have forgotten to update this. Pop open your website now and make sure that your website is a current reflection of your business today. 

Check Website Mobile Friendliness

In 2020, most users will be using their mobile device or tablet when they are out to view your content. Check and see if your website easily responds to mobile devices and tablets by checking yourself on your phone or tablet. If it doesn’t, use this downtime to explore your mobile options for your website. Most CMS platforms come loaded with mobile styling options, make sure to check out your specific CMS mobile options. 

Enhance Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization allows business owners and developers to enhance their ranking visibility on search engines. Use this downtime to boost your rankings online by adding targeted keywords such as ‘Curbside’, ‘Take-Out’, and ‘Delivery’ to your website as well as including the cities and locations that you service.

Add New Items to Your Menu

It’s time to get creative! With everyone being home right now, you should look into adjusting your offerings. One example we have seen are DIY Kits, where restaurants give you everything you need to cook a meal at home. Another example we have seen is offering bottles of wine with your full meals. Start thinking of different and unique offerings that you can bring to the table!

How can I plan for the FUTURE?

Start putting strategies in place that will help foster new business for the future!

If you don't have Online Ordering - start looking into it!

COVID-19 will go away, but what will be the repercussions? Industry experts are suggesting that both online ordering and take-out are going to be the new norm. Look into what your online ordering options are if you haven’t already. There are many platforms such as Gloriafood  and Lavu to help implement online ordering for your restaurant.  Find the right platform that makes the most sense for you. If you need any assistance on selecting a platform, we are here to help assist! 

Online Reservations

We don’t know what the end result of this pandemic may be. As restaurants begin to open back up, health officials may suggest limiting crowds as we ease back into normal life. If this does happen, your restaurant is gonna fill up quick and before you know it you’re gonna have the hottest seats in town! Start looking into possible online reservation systems to offer your customers. A popular online reservation website is Open Table which can take online reservation from over 600 integration points including Google, Zagat, Amazon, Eater, Apple and more!

Collect Email Addresses & Plan Email Marketing Campaigns

Whether you already have an email list or you’re starting from scratch, now is a good time to start collecting new email addresses! By collecting email addresses now, you are establishing contacts to send future communications to. When this is all over, you may want to send your customers a coupon welcoming them back! Along with collecting email addresses, you can begin to plan out email marketing campaigns, for example, if you offer seasonal specials, start planning fall campaigns now so when the time comes you are ready!

Coupons, Loyalty & Referral Programs

Start thinking of exciting new offers for your customers to take advantage of! Once restrictions are lifted and businesses start to open up, people will be eager to go out. Give them an incentive to come dine with you! Loyalty programs are a great way to reward your most valuable customers and let them know you appreciate them. Referral programs are a great way to help both customers and restaurants. By bringing in new business for the restaurant, the customer gets rewarded in the form of a coupon, free item or other reward.

Start Planning Your Comeback!

Once restrictions loosen up, restaurants will start to open back up and it’s important to start thinking about your comeback! Give your customers and your employees something to look forward to by planning tastings, re-launch events, and introducing your new referral or loyalty programs!

Remember: We are all in this together!

No one would have predicated that in 2020 every aspect of our daily lives would have changed. Even in these hard times, it’s important to remember that we are all in this together! The restaurant industry has been there for each and every one of us during our good times and bad and we want to reassure you that we are here for you during these hard times. Stay positive, use this time to your advantage, and we will see you once this comes to an end!

We’re here if you need any technology advice!

If you need any help or suggestions during these times please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! 

GraVoc

GraVoc is a technology-consulting firm located in Peabody, Massachusetts just north of Boston. GraVoc is committed to solving business problems for customers through the development, implementation, and support of technology-based solutions.

"One Company, Many Solutions"

10 Centennial Drive, Suite 105, Peabody MA 01960

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