To say that restaurants are facing a challenging time would be an understatement. The coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption for the food service industry at the global level.

In our most recent article for restaurants, we highlighted some of the reasons to be prepared for when coronavirus is over. In this article, we’ll be going more in depth, covering five specific challenges restaurants will have to face on the road to recovery.

These challenges will be faced on a widespread level, affecting restaurants everywhere. In order to ensure your restaurant’s survival, it’s essential to stay informed.

Let’s dive in.

Difficult year ahead. The biggest, most apparent challenge restaurants face is time itself. At the bare minimum, the industry is looking at a very difficult year (perhaps longer) after the coronavirus pandemic has passed. Restaurants need to be prepared for the long haul. They need to think beyond just making it to when normal operations resume.

Last week, I cited research from the New York Times stating that restaurant analysts and operators believe 75% of independent restaurants currently closed will not survive. This means that it is entirely within the realm of possibility that only one out of every four independent restaurants will survive following coronavirus.

Slow return period. If your restaurant can manage to survive until opening, it will then be faced with a drastically-altered customer base. When you open your doors once again, many of your customers will be slow to return. The majority of the general public won’t exactly be packing themselves into restaurants. Until a vaccine is developed, many will be hesitant to go out at all.

There’s also the fact that, depending on where you’re located, you may be dealing with new regulations.

“You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask, dinner where the menu is disposable, where half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom, reported by CBSN Bay Area. Whether your restaurant is in California, New York, or anywhere else, you need to consider every possibility.

Less income, more competition. As much as we’d like it to, the economy isn’t going to bounce back overnight. When business resumes, you’re going to see a tremendous change in disposable income for the general population, with unemployment levels reaching staggering levels. Less money to go around means restaurants are going to face aggressive competition as they struggle to attract as many customers as they can.

High startup costs. Restaurants that make it back to resuming normal operations are going to be dealing with high startup costs. Amid massive layoffs, disruptions to the supply chain, among other issues, fully stocking and staffing a restaurant isn’t going to be an inexpensive task for anyone. Even if your restaurant can manage to keep itself staffed, you may have to reexamine your menu as the restaurant supply chain becomes threatened.

Brand rebuilding and loyalty. Finally, the last challenge we’re going to talk about relates to your restaurant’s brand. In order to survive the recovery phase, restaurants will need to rebuild their brand in order to claim their share of the available customer base that, as previously discussed, will have shrunk so dramatically.

To succeed and survive, restaurants need to tap into guest loyalty. Customers are going to be dining with the restaurants that have successfully leveraged loyalty to their brand. Loyalty can keep customers dining with your restaurant on a consistent basis, providing you with the revenue you need to keep your doors open.

Succeed With CoGoBuzz

Here’s where we can help. As your restaurant faces these challenges, it’s going to need all the assistance that it can to survive. Achieving previous customer levels is going to take some effort. And it all starts now.

With CoGoBuzz, we want to help. Our state-of-the-art digital marketing service can help your restaurant maintain a strong base of loyal customers, which will ultimately help your restaurant survive.

Our service directly promotes your services to customer mobile devices. Leveraging advanced WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions, CoGoBuzz promotes your restaurant both in-store and out. It comes packed with a fully digital, text-based loyalty program, allowing you to let your customers know what services you’re offering – all with just a simple text. Click here to learn more about CoGoBuzz.

Whether you’re one of our current customers, or you’re interested in joining the CoGoBuzz family, we’re committed to helping businesses affected by COVID-19.

For current customers, we’re providing free text message service, allowing you to send a link to order online, purchase gift cards, and/or notify customers of new hours.

For new customers, we’re offering our hardware at cost, donating our services, time, and covering shipping costs. Prepare for the future with CoGoWiFi Free to collect your customers’ phone numbers. There are no contracts or monthly fees, and we offer unlimited customer data storage.

Message from our CEO

“From pricing to packaging, our mission has always been to provide customers with unbeatable value. That’s why, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeking to provide the most aggressive offers to help suffering restaurants survive. We believe that half of small restaurants will fail in the year after operations return to normal. The restaurants that survive and thrive will be the ones that win loyalty and focus on bringing customers back over the following year.”

– Steve Gould, CEO

Click here for more details on how we’re handling the crisis.

What is your restaurant doing to prepare for when operations resume? Let us know in the comments.