COVID-19 is impacting every aspect of society. Unfortunately, the food and beverage industry has been hit hard by stay-at-home orders and state-mandated restrictions on dine-in service. But, there is good news. According to Technomic, 57% of diners have confidence that restaurants will take appropriate measures to ensure that food is served in a way that limits the spread of the disease.
With over half of consumers maintaining confidence in restaurant safety precautions during these very uncertain times, there’s no doubt that number can increase. Read on for a roundup of three strategies for setting diner minds at ease during the coronavirus crisis.
The good news? There are some steps restaurant owners and managers can take to minimize consumer concerns and maximize confidence in these trying times. Read on for a roundup of three strategies for setting diner minds at ease during the coronavirus crisis.
1. Embrace alternate delivery methods.
The coronavirus is extremely contagious. Factor in that many people are asymptomatic carriers of the disease, and the benefits of social distancing are clear. While this may mean that customers won’t be dining in your establishment for the foreseeable future, restaurants can still serve up the foods their diners love through other methods, including curbside pickup, self-delivery by restaurants, and the use of third-party delivery apps. While getting these initiatives up and running may take some time and effort, they're essential to ensuring continuing cash flow. Check out this resource on third-party delivery services.
2. Take visible safety precautions.
Knowledge is constantly changing regarding which safety measures are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. Utilizing visible safety precautions, such as face masks and single-use disposable gloves, can help protect your employees while simultaneously demonstrating your commitment to safety to your customers. If guests are still entering your establishment, installing counter shields adds another level of assurance. Again, while there's some debate regarding just how effective gloves and safety masks are, most people would agree with a "better safe than sorry" approach -- both as it pertains to safeguarding your community and your bottom line.
3. Amp up on communication.
With so much uncertainty in the world right now, adequate communication goes a long way. Keeping your website and social media sites updated with the latest information pertaining to everything from new hours and operating practices to Personal Protective Equipment Policies (PPE) and enhanced cleaning precautions can help you keep diners informed while building critical trust. In the constantly evolving coronavirus landscape, the last thing your diners want from you is outdated or missing information. Commit to keeping them apprised in real time of what they can expect from your restaurant, then make sure to deliver on those promises.
With no way of knowing how or when the COVID-19 situation will resolve, we can think of no better advice than the old adage, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” These three strategies can help your restaurant stay connected with consumers in order to weather the current coronavirus storm in order to emerge safely on the other side.