Many schools, restaurants, universities, businesses, sporting & cultural institutions have been shut down for months. These measures were taken by global governments to enforce social distancing and flatten the curve. Even medical experts have been urging people to practice social distancing voluntarily.
It was emphasized that everybody practices social distancing – be it persons who have not been affected by the virus, those considered to be at high-risk, and those who are seriously ill. As this is not a drill, it is important to practice social distancing with video conferencing solutions.
But, what is social distancing?
Explained simply, the idea of social distancing is maintaining a distance of at least six feet between you and other people. Minimizing contact with people, avoid public transportation, work from home, limiting non-essential travel, and skipping social gatherings are a means to inhibit the spread.
Talking about how restaurants can take several measures to operate restaurants in a safe environment, and making customers feel comfortable & secure. Along with masked customers and servers, restaurant tables have been moved into open areas like parking lots and streets. Indoor seating is limited to a fraction of the space capacity, and other restaurant owners are coming up with novel ideas to do whatever they can to keep their restaurant business running, and even grow.
In this article, we share some advice on how restaurant owners can operate food-services in this crisis.
Some ideas to protect your restaurant business and grow sales.
Right now, we’re treading in turbulent times with forced closures of services. Public health advice has been given to practice social distancing, and consider consumer health concerns. Various restaurant owners and businesses are seeking financial aid to reopen restaurants, cafes with a trifling customer count.
Restaurants in the US were supposed to operate at half capacity to maintain social distancing, but smaller restaurants need to stay closed as small spaces mean you’re close to other diners.
So, what can be done to keep the business running and the cash flow coming in?
Reassure your restaurant clientele – Restore confidence that you are taking the necessary steps through procedures and processes viz. keeping restaurant surfaces hygienic, and practice good social distancing. These actions have to be communicated to customers that are online and in-store with video conferencing solutions that help create a “no contact” strategy with virtual orders and deliveries. Creating an efficient pace of work with online conferencing software helps build confidence in the eyes of your customer and build trust.
Try to get the most out of each restaurant customer – In these trying times, people are likely to eat or drink more at one time. This creates a situation wherein people would like to spend more on diners, cafes, or restaurants. Persuading your customers to order an additional drink or food items like wine bottles, starters, delicacies, desserts, etc. with engaging menu presentations on video conferencing solutions can help build a good cash in-flow.
Focus on quick takeaways or deliveries with virtual meeting software – If people don’t come to eat at your restaurant, you can take the restaurant to them – taking your menu to customers can maximize the delivery turnover. The safest way to maximize restaurant deliveries would be a no-contact delivery process or a promotional shout-out on social media that says “safe at home deliveries”.
Favorite recipe boxes – Apart from takeaways or deliveries, restaurants can put up recipe boxes that help customers in reducing time to plan meals or shop. With accurate shop ingredients, recipe boxes help customers with exact quantities of ingredients required to cook food.
This saves on food waste and time as well. Customers coming to restaurants can scan a QR code and begin a video conference with the restaurant manager or owner to select various recipe boxes that give the customer a plethora of opportunities to plan their meals.
Promote your food business with gift vouchers or codes – Many restaurants promote their business with gift vouchers to promote repeat customers, generate short term cash, and have customers in the future. These vouchers can be a part of the virtual conference platform that can be stored on a cloud platform, and it can be shared with various customers. Creating a meeting room, hosting contests, and sending customers to secure links to enter the contest can promote your restaurant business in some form.
Use technology to keep customers safe and relaxed – Video conferencing tools are the new norm. Giving customers the ability to attend meetings from your restaurant using a virtual meeting QR code, or using various tools to view the menu, record the order, organize games for winning customers to win free food, etc. can be leveraged to boost restaurant sales. Upload presentations or menus, and use whiteboards for customers to annotate them.
If your restaurant isn’t getting any guests or orders, you can use this time to –
Train the restaurant staff – make most of this time to perform ad-hoc training programs for chefs, managers, staff, etc. to take new lessons or programs related to the restaurant industry. LMS based video conferencing and webinars can be leveraged to train the restaurant staff as it facilitates employee engagement, ideation, operation, and growth. It helps build an audience, transform it into an online community where learning and sharing ideas, strategies, etc. can be a part of the business grooming process.
iFLearn enables restaurant owners, managers, and employees to leverage a better understanding of the restaurant business with online webinars that create a platform to transform ideas into operations, and perpetual growth. Experts from the restaurant business can be invited to join virtual meetings to provide modern insights on new recipes, cooking tips, restaurant management skills, etc.
Plan marketing strategies – As communication technology has become more affordable & easy to use, restaurants are finding video conferencing tools to be efficient business drivers to communicate with employees and customers. Many restaurants need to showcase their menu or food products, and customers need to get answers in real-time via personalized & live showcasing.
Besides, video conferences allow customers to get complete information about the restaurant and its food offerings. To avoid wasting time and money, owners or managers can consider on-demand video tutorials on how to order food, record restaurant FAQ’s, and chat instantly for quick responses.
Build engaging content with graphics or videos for marketing initiatives can maximize your cash inflow. Adding value for your customers like offering new food items, vouchers through video conferencing can promote, build, and protect your brand.
iFMeets helps fuel the full power of virtual meetings with cloud-based platforms like iFCloud, wherein data with various formats can be stored. iFMeets uses a functional QR code for customers to scan, get into a real-time video conference with the owner or manager, and order their favorite food. With a no-contact strategy in place, it becomes extremely easy for customers to use a “no contact” approach to take the food parcel.
In these crises, we would encourage restaurant owners to promote their website for customers to order and pay online. To ensure customers feel secure and content while eating in restaurants, owners have taken several measures to keep them comfortable. Maintaining health & hygiene at restaurants is a top priority, and maintaining social distancing to reduce capacity are some of the measures owners can take to operate and grow their restaurant business.
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