A Post Covid-19 Survival Guide For Restaurateurs
By Claire Walker Founder & COO
We all know that the past few months of 2020 have been bewildering for all of us to say the least. Confusing headlines, shifting messages and strict – then loose and, in some cases, strict again – social distancing rules to deter another devastating onslaught of Covid-19, have left many a restauranteur confused and anxious about how not only to survive, but thrive.
So, we’ve used our experience as ex-restaurateurs and specialist restaurant marketers to write this blog to help you through the coming uncertainty and, to paraphrase Kipling: “If you can keep a Kuul head when all about you are losing theirs…”
Keep Kuul and Carry On…
Here are a few ways your restaurant can thrive – even in a pandemic.
Offer eat out (takeaway): It’s a no-brainer, as they say. Revenue in the UK online food segment is up 11.5% this year to date versus the comparable period of last year. According to Statista, the total number of users is also on the rise. In 2020, the market analyst firm reported 22.5m users, representing an increase of 9.8% on the same period in 2019. Many customers find it easier to order online instead of by phone because they can place orders instantly at a time convenient to them. You can expedite the entire process by also accepting online payment. Simples.
You’ll need to decide on collection, delivery or both. Don’t have delivery drivers? Offer collection only and incentivise customers to ‘click and collect’. There are many success stories about how restaurants have diversified during the pandemic, including KuulEats’ customer Monte Forte who are using our e-commerce platform to such a successful extent they are continuing with Takeaway only for now in preference to opening their doors again. If it ain’t broke…
Simplify your online menu: The more options your customers are given, the less likely they are to be satisfied with their eventual choice. You know how it is: give them too much choice and people are also more likely to defer their decision to a later time. In order to reduce cart-abandonment, keep the choices down to a few well-chosen options and order into primary and secondary lists, with previous favourites easy to access and clearly visible.
Make your eat In menu more compact: A balancing act for sure, but a simple but effective way of concentrating purchases on the best and most profitable dishes . Sometimes less is definitely more, even if the stomach doesn’t feel it! Limiting the amount of items on your menu simplifies everything from the amount of time customers spend deciding on their meal to the amount of time your chef will take to prepare each dish – not to mention the cost to the bottom line of ordering in more ingredients. This approach also speeds up table turnover time. BUT, it’s important to keep the menu (and ingredients) fresh and seasonal too, so the staples are always there, but the added wow factor keeps being added with a sprinkling of new dishes each season.
Introduce scarcity: It’s a powerful psychological fact that if something has limited supply, it motivates us into an action as we fear missing out. You can utilise scarcity by limiting availability of a particular dish and create a time bound offer around it. Remember urgency is most effective when follow-up instructions are given, so for a scarcity offer you might want to encourage customers to pre-order. Promotions are essential around scarcity too; so using language like ‘for a limited time only…’ or even better be date specific, so ‘available only from this Friday to next…’
Offers: Introduce offers for low margin / cost products only, so you don’t devalue your main offer. For example, offer a ‘Free bottle of House Wine’ for every new diner during December, KuulMarketing have been involved in promotions like this many times before and it’s a sure fire way to increase covers and still maintain a healthy margin.
Customisation of dishes. Have you thought about providing options to the main dish so that consumers can craft their meal? A nice bit of personalisation will make the diner feel like they’re Ramsey for a day! Today’s Consumer mood is curious and open-minded to new eating habits and products presented in new ways/formats and successful innovations will focus on experiences rather than just products (source. Leatherhead Food Research). Everyone’s a foodie blogger now, right? Watch your customers get snap happy when the food ‘they’ created arrives at the table!
Generate repeat business. Sounds straightforward, but the 80/20 rule is pretty much the best way to keep a restaurant business driving forward. Aside from offering a personalised and high quality service for both dine in and Takeaway, something as simple as offering a time-limited post-purchase offer, like a 30-day free delivery opportunity, creates an appointment for the next conversion/sale.
Reward loyalty: Stand by me. More important now than ever before after customers’ loyal support during the pandemic. Notice who is turning up time and again through repeat bookings and reward them, even if it’s a free glass of fizz on their arrival. It’ll make them feel ten feet tall and the little touches mean a lot.
Provide a straightforward and easy and enjoyable online user experience. Did we say no brainer before? Well, we’re saying it again! The less effort an activity feels, the more likely it is to be seen through to completion. A positive user experience online will keep the relationship with the customer alive. Make it difficult and wave goodbye. Remember to user test your online digital menu and user experience with close friends and family to make sure it meets expectations. Always give your restaurant some TLC: ‘Think Like your Customers.’
Turn your existing customers into advocates. Everyone understands the importance of treating existing customers with a bit of love so they spread the word about how good your restaurant is. Harness the power of data capture through CRM to understand and recognise them and to make personalized recommendations, bespoke offers and to make them feel Kuul and valued – and make sure you mark their birthday. A simple candle in a cake can go a long, long way.
Empower your customers: Offer your customers the opportunity to browse your digital menu, place their order and pay on their smartphone from the comfort of their table. There are multiple benefits for implementing tableside ordering and payment at restaurants. Not only does bringing the point of sale to the customer but it also helps to increase the number of table turns – not to mention enabling a feeling of confidence in the customer in this post-covid world. Moving from two to three table turns per shift can increase revenue by 20-25%.
So there you have it. I bet you’re thinking ‘it all sounds great, but how do I do all that as I’m stretched to the limit already and the budget isn’t there?
There’s no catch, only Kuul.
Take advantage of our FREE to use Cleverly Connected tech to boost operational efficiency.
KuulEats is a fully integrated restaurant management system with integrated bookings, EPOS, payments and cleverly connected waiter and diner apps with data capture at its core. Data that you can own and use for your own marketing. Custom built by restaurateurs for restaurateurs and the unique needs of the restaurant industry.
We have spent years developing KuulEats and what restaurateurs need and we continue to use the industry community to shape its future. We want you to come along for the journey and tell us what YOU need, too.
If you want to reduce costs, build loyalty and boost revenue, view our short animated powerpoint presentation about how Kuul works here sign up for a demo and begin your very own restaurant revolution.