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Insights to Help Restaurants Get Through This

April 21, 2020

Insights to Help Restaurants Get Through This 

(From an article and survey data by Shane Skillen, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-research-insights-helprestaurants-get-through-shane-skillen/) 

Covid-19 has decimated parts of the economy. Restaurants and bars have taken this particularly hard losing in many cases 90 to 100% of their revenue.  

Here’s some help to small restaurants and bars in Lebanon. 

The ideas below are based on a survey of 1,000 US restaurant goers to understand how to get them eating at small restaurants again. 

Some learning from the survey: 1. People are now ultra-worried about food contamination (79%) from restaurants delivering. 2. The second reason (68%) why people are not ordering in is money. They are worried about their finances and are trying to be responsible. 3. They want you to give to your excess food to charity (45%). 4. They don’t care about putting on weight from ordered food (6%). 5. 98% of people WANT to support their local restaurants they just need you to show them how. (see below) 6. Almost half (42%) miss going to restaurants and that restaurant escape/experience. 

So what can you do? Move out of panic/fear mode into growth mode and adjust. Here are some ideas to inspire you. 

1)   People are in survival mode. They are trying to solve for the lowest of their base needs which in this time largely relates to their health and that of their families. Show them the safety steps you are taking…like in great detail. Be way over the top. And do them. Wear masks. Wash your hands 50 times a day. Take the temperatures of your staff 10 times a day. Wash down the kitchen with disinfectant. Ensure that all your cooking/delivery staff are not exposing themselves to many other people. Video the safety process of your kitchen and post it on your social media. Put it on your website. And because people are worried about all contact … offer to include frozen items that they can warm up later as part of their order. A quarter (26%) of people would add these to their orders, and this is extra margin for you. And put a link comforting them that you can’t get Covid-19 from eating food, e.g. see https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/can-youget-covid19-from-delivery-food/. 

2)   Target special occasions where people will spend money, such as “Date Night”, “Family Dinner” “Dinner and Movie”. Yes, people are worried about money but they have lots of savings from stuff they aren’t doing. They aren’t spending on gas, vacations, summer camps, clothing … well pants anyway, shirts are still selling well. People need to keep their sanity. Send them an iTunes gift cert for a movie rental when they order over $100. a.   “Just because you are locked up, doesn’t mean you can’t keep the romance alive.” b.   “Now more than ever, you need a break.” c.   “Even Bill Murray agrees that ordering in is a great way to stop groundhog day.” d.   You know what to say … look at what other restaurants are saying … then say it. 

3)   Put hand-written notes in every food order. Better yet have pictures of your staff, families or good times at the restaurant. Have all your staff sign it. This will help people develop an emotional connection and want to 

support you. Make this so good that they post it on their social media. That is your target. A note/photo/etc. that is so good that people post it on Instagram/Facebook so that thousands of others see what you are doing. 

4)   Any extra food you have … give it to charity. Show that YOU are being charitable and that you are deserving of their business. Put this on your social media. 

5)   Customers are hard to come by these days. Getting a few hundred loyal ones for the next few months could be make-or-break for you. Make sure their experience is perfect….that the food and experience exceeded their expectations. Give them 5% off for emailing you their rating out of 10. 

We want to make sure we exceeded your expectations. Please email us your feedback and in return we will give you 5% off your next order. In fact we will give you 10% off if you send us a link to your social media photos of you enjoying our food with a “#your restaurant” hashtag. 

6)   Paint a hopeful future. Let people earn credits to re-buy with you. To order again. For every order give them a discount on a future order. Help them envision their first meal back in your restaurant. If you serve wine … let them know the first bottle is on the house after all this is over. 

We are all in this together. This too will pass. People will eat out again. When that time comes make it easy and exciting for them. Good luck and if you have any questions you can email me at michael.cook@uc.edu.