How to Increase Diners Amidst Pandemic

Comfortable leather sofas and wooden table placed near wall decorated with creative lamps in diner

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a health and economic crisis on a global scale. Various establishments, including diners and other food services, dealt with closures, bankruptcy, or a complete revamping of business strategies in these unprecedented times.

Now, despite the continuous surge of COVID cases, restaurants have slowly adapted and started opening their services to the public. With the complete change in how customers avail different services, other food establishments opt to reach their market in the virtual world. While others stuck to the traditional services adhering to safety protocols, some establishments focused on takeout and delivery, as some food enthusiasts are still afraid of venturing outside. 

Since this epidemic is unlikely to end any time soon, a lot of business owners may fret about how they can get back to their previous setup. Let’s be honest. Jampacked restaurants, long lines, unending orders, and even the adrenaline that comes with restaurant dining chaos are like stories from the past. But it doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be any other opportunities for your business to thrive. 

To help you survive and attract more diners, here are some tips you might want to consider as you plan your next steps.

Optimize your online presence

Good marketing is the fastest way to attract more customers, and what better way to get their attention than to create creative and unique content? 

Since traditional marketing strategies are out of the picture, you must shift to digital strategy. One of the exciting things you can do is post how your business is coping. Everyone loves a success story, but sharing your vulnerable side and how you continue to thrive may also do the trick. The past year under the pandemic was a tough one. You can share how you coped and prepared for reopening your establishments, such as setting up environmental modifications and safety protocols. Sharing this journey may hook your target market and soothe their anxieties about dining at your restaurant. 

With this, you must start putting effort into maintaining your social media channels and be consistent in posting new videos and other fun content. The more active you are, the easier it is for people to find you on the internet.  The wider your reach, the better!

Safety is the key

Some people may still be anxious about dining outside during the pandemic. Although the safest way is to stay inside and order out, others would still opt to savor the food in a scenic environment. 

To accommodate the safety of customers, you must take extra measures by operating with sanitation policies. Be strict with the protocols set by government agencies, like requiring customers to wear masks, monitoring who enters your establishment, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces often, and limiting sharing of food and supplies by diners and staff members.  These are just a few things that you must take note of when planning to reopen your restaurant. 

Having a clean environment with strong adherence to safety protocols is the best marketing you can do in this time of crisis. Everyone is anxious, so knowing that your diner strictly follows the government’s guidelines is a relief for your customers. So before you proceed to address other aspects, you must put your staff’s and customers’ safety as your number one priority. 

Focus on what your customers want

Your business isn’t just for you. To experience positive feedback, you must place your customers at the center of your operations. People associate brands with the experiences they have with them. So, to leave a lasting impression and create a positive experience for your customers, you must shape your services to fit what they want.

One thing you can do is offer deals like group meals to attract customers and their families or friends into dining at your restaurant. You can also use rewards programs and mobile applications that would cater to both dining and online food delivery services. It is also essential to note that with the digital technology era comes another way of purchasing. Consider incorporating mobile payment since most people opt to go cashless now.

Look at the bigger picture

Things aren’t exactly as they are before, but we have to make do with what we can as of the moment. Be practical, but also use your creative ideas to attract more customers toward dining on-site. 

Engaging customers doesn’t stop using digital strategies, knowing your customers, and adhering to safety protocols. If you wish to step up your game, you can go beyond just modifying your environment for safety. You can also invest in setting up your kitchen to be more worker-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. 

Remember that the future holds more possibilities, so you must also look at the bigger picture and not just at the present. To do this, you can invest in quality kitchen tools and a good working environment as having high-quality equipment makes a huge difference in food preparation and your crew’s motivation, as well. 

Remember that aside from looking at the present situation, you must also look ahead to ensure that your restaurant can thrive even after everything gets back to normal. Rework your branding strategies in consideration of the present context and what your customers want. Be more proactive! With these different factors in mind, you can start forming a plan to get you back on track.