Restaurants are among the many small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guests are staying home and meals are mostly takeout: 92% of restaurant traffic is now outside the dining room, with most states banning in-restaurant dining altogether. We’re facing a long road back “to business as usual,” but there are things your restaurant can do to support your community, care for your employees, and keep the lights on.
Before you try to rethink your restaurant workflow, you may need to redesign your mental model. We explored this topic in a recent blog article, but the basic idea is to examine your priorities and set clear intentions rather than functioning only in response to emerging problems or concerns. Running a small business is tough even in ordinary times. Find that conviction, resilience, and strength that brought you to this point. Small business owners are the bedrock of our communities: your family, your employees, and your neighbors will look to you for leadership.
The next step is to find creative ways to use what you have. How can you reimagine your offerings to sustain income while serving your community? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Official guidelines for staying at home can change by the day. As foot traffic dries up, here are some tactics to continue serving your guests at their homes.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced numerous restaurants and bars across the country to close or downsize. Below is a list of resources you can explore to help stem the cash-flow drain your business might be experiencing.
New resources for restaurants are coming online regularly, so bookmark this post as well as the Clover financial resources page.
Just as chefs try to make the most of every ingredient at their disposal, so you can see what other aspects of your business might help you weather this crisis. There are numerous ways to connect with your guests. With a little creativity, you can build or strengthen your connection with your community, and in some cases even lower your costs .
Make use of your restaurant’s social media channels and email to stay in touch with customers while your dining room is closed.
Restaurants thrive first and foremost because of their people. Your team is integral to your success: from your chef and kitchen staff to your hostess and servers, your people make your business. Don’t be afraid to touch on the very real and human side of the COVID-19 crisis when you talk to your staff, suppliers, customers, and the larger community.
Communicate the things you are doing to stay open to your customers and your employees. Transparency is key here: make sure everyone is aware of the steps you are taking to keep everyone safe, from hygiene and sanitation to relief and flexible approaches to work.
Finally, don’t forget that marketing—with an eye toward sensitivity—is still important. Hard sells won’t go over well: many people are struggling economically with the current waves of layoffs. Instead, let your customers know whether or not you’re open, how you’re physically providing meals (through curbside pickup or delivery) and how they can order or support you. This is a time to communicate more, not less.
This is a crisis, but it’s also a challenge, and small business owners are often the first to step up to the plate in times of need. Strategize how you can redesign your menu to make the most of your ingredients, cut down on waste, and support customers stuck at home. Revamp the dining experience. Use your social media channels to create a virtual experience, keep customers connected, and stay in touch as the situation evolves. And don’t forget there are financial relief options out there to support your employees and hold you over until the situation improves.
Check out these web pages on financial relief, business preparedness, and our general merchant resources.
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This information is being presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or tax advice. Readers should contact their attorneys, financial advisors, or tax professionals to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter. Clover assumes no responsibility for any information contained on any third-party website.
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