The COVID-19 pandemic cost millions of restaurant workers their jobs, thousands of restaurant owners their businesses, and an estimated six years of growth for the entire industry. But now that things are slowly returning to normal, restaurant owners are eager to have customers back in their dining rooms.
There’s only one question: how can we draw customers back in after a year of eating at home? Here are five tips to help you get back your diners.
Upgrade Your Website
A beautiful website was important for restaurants before the pandemic. But in the post-COVID world, a great website is absolutely a necessity! Statistics show that 90% of customers check out a restaurant online before eating there. After a year of ordering GrubHub and DoorDash, diners have come to expect restaurant websites to offer similar technology and ease of use.
So take the time to upgrade your website with beautiful photos, an easy-to-read menu, and even a few reviews from diners. Refreshing your website won’t take long, and it’s relatively easy, thanks to free website builders. It will make a world of difference for your business.
Sponsor a Local Sports Team
Another casualty to COVID-19 was the typical summer activities kids love: summer camps, theme parks, sports teams, etc. As the lockdown restrictions wane, families will be itching to get back to soccer, baseball, and other activities.
And where do they go after an afternoon of playing sports? To your restaurant!
Sponsoring a sports team boosts your reputation with the public – leading to more customers coming through your door. This is an excellent opportunity for local community involvement and shows your support for the kids in your area.
Host a Special Event
After a year of quarantine, most people are looking forward to having a night out with their friends again. However, they aren’t just looking for any night out; this first gathering should be a special occasion.
Host an open mic night so musicians can show off what they worked on during quarantine. Host a cooking class so everyone who started learning to cook this past year can have a new recipe in their arsenal. These special events are sure to attract diners looking for fun ways to celebrate the end of lockdowns.
Get Active Online
Social media platforms grew 13.2% in the past year – a gain of 490 million users. This points to an significant new development for business owners: your customers are likely accessing social media daily.
An active social media account is a great way to promote your business FOR FREE. Show photos of your gorgeous food on Instagram. Engage with customers over Twitter. Use your company Facebook page to alert people about new specials. Make a viral video for TikTok with your kitchen staff! Your online presence can help drive traffic to your website AND your front door.
Provide a Safe Dining Experience
After the year we’ve had, there will always be a small group of people who are hesitant to return to restaurants. So how can you reassure these customers that your establishment is safe? Most importantly, demonstrate that you take proper safety precautions.
Studies show that 85% of customers want six feet of space between tables in restaurants. In addition, 61.9% of customers want servers to wear masks and gloves. Taking the time and effort to show you care about diners’ health and safety can help them feel better about dining with you – and that confidence can lead to excellent word of mouth. Provide adequate training for your staff so they know top-to-bottom the sanitation and safety procedures.
No doubt, 2020 was a year like no other for restaurants. So tap into these ideas to help you build up your business and have a bustling restaurant again!