What a season we are in. I am 50 and I have not seen a time when seating capacity was cut in half to ensure that guests are a “safe” distance from the next table. Hand sanitizer on every counter. Servers with masks and gloves. Drive thru only...oh wait! Now your guests can dine in but only in limited numbers. Phase 2 has been a ray of sunshine for sure. Phase 3 is not certain. What should restaurateurs do? How do you survive, let alone thrive, in this unpredictable season? I have been fielding this question since February. Here is what I am observing will make the difference and may give you the leading edge in the coming weeks.
Social distancing, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves, all of it. Talk about it. On your website, on your social media, everywhere. To ignore that this is where we are may send a signal that you are unprepared and even unstable. Show your core customers what you are doing to ensure they are safe to dine with you.
Make sure your website is ready to process online ordering, checkout, and reservations. Online ordering for those who aren’t comfortable to dine in. Checkout for those who prefer to pay now and pick up later or have it delivered. Reservations for those who want to dine in but don’t want to wait outside if you end up at social distancing capacity.
Very few are talking about growth and expansion. Even fewer are planning for it. You must be thinking this way and planning this way. You must! Here’s why. When Phase 3 reopening comes, AND IT WILL, you must have a gameplan to capitalize on newly estranged guests looking for their new favorite place and the one restaurant who is overcoming the obstacles to win. That has to be you. When everyone else is downsizing everything, you be the one restaurateur who is standing in the gate, saying “blow the whistle….blow the whistle….I’m ready to run!”
You wouldn’t be in this business if you weren’t. I believe in you. Your guests believe in you. Redesign your dining room for social distancing. Put hand sanitizer and masks at checkout. Put gloves at your restroom entrances. Set up your website to take online orders, checkout, and reservations. We will get through this together. We will grow on the other side of this together. Head down, take your mark, eyes on the finish line….wait for it….GO!
If you are needing help with these strategies, contact us at garygale@norrisventures. We will lock arms with you to get through this season well; and grow on the other side.
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