COVID-19 has caught many of us off guard to say the least and there are challenging times ahead. With the whole country in lock down indefinitely, takeaway and delivery are now the only options for restaurants and cafes to service their customers. The purpose of this article is to highlight things restaurants and cafes can be doing online to get through these difficult times and set themselves up to hit the ground running when things get back to normal.
1. Get Online
With For those of you that don’t have a website we suggest you get online so you have a visible presence for search engines and a resource to reassure your customers that you’re still open for business. It also now represents a way of informing your customers of what food safety measures in light of Coronavirus COVID-19 you’re now undertaking.
If you’re wondering whether you can just use Facebook instead, it’s definitely better than nothing. One key reason for a website is search engine visibility. If you can’t be found on Google, you might as well not exist and you can’t apply search engine optimization techniques to a Facebook page. You also have more control of the users experience, Facebook is very limited in what you can and can’t do. Some of things we’ll be covering below such as mailing lists, taking orders online and gift certificates aren’t possible on facebook so you’re missing out on some great opportunities. Ideally your facebook page should be driving traffic to your website.
2. Get Your Takeaway Menu online
With takeaway being the only viable option for customers its vital that your current takeaway menu is online, and it’s in a good presentable manner. An image or series of images is not ideal but much better than nothing. Better still, dedicated pages for your menu, optimised to look good on all devices – smart phones, tablets and desktop, and with text that is able to be indexed by google is ideal.
3. Use a Mailing List to Capture Your Customers Email Addresses
Now more than ever it’s vital to be collecting your customers email addresses. With things changing so rapidly its important to keep your customers in the loop with developments, promotions and changes to opening hours and menu items etc.
4. Set Up Online Ordering
Customers are looking to avoid contact as much as possible so moving your menu to an ecommerce online ordering platform where they can order food, make payment and simply turn up to your premises and collect the food goes a long way toward minimising contact. This will give your customers peace of mind and might be the difference when it comes to selecting where to order from. Orders can be sent through to a smart phone, tablet or computer of your choice and payment is taken up front for added security.
5. Gift Cards
Gift cards are a great way for loyal customers to support you through these times and can be managed easily online.
6. Online Marketing
Another option is online marketing. Both Google Ads and Facebook ads are great options for quickly letting people know you’re geared up and ready to serve, and you can cap your spending to suit any budget.
In Conclusion, as Coronavirus restricts face to face contact, it’s vital for restaurants to improve their website and engage with their customer base online to keep them in the loop and retain their patronage.