As we’ve been discussing for weeks, even when business is totally back to normal, and restaurants nationwide are free to open their doors to customers, the reality is that things will not instantly be back to normal.

Your restaurant isn’t going to be able to just pick up it’s old marketing plan for the year and resume where you left off. Things have changed. For better or for worse, customer preferences will be altered for the foreseeable future.

When it comes to your restaurant, this will be reflected in one very key area: your menu.

If your restaurant has successfully adapted to the takeout/delivery model so many have been forced into, then you’ve probably already made some modifications to your menu to start with. But even when restaurants are normally operating, menus are an ever-evolving construct, constantly shifting to surprise, entice, and delight customers.

The question remains, how will yours adapt when operations resume? We’ve got some ideas. Here’s a set of factors to consider for your restaurant’s menu moving forward.

Still takeout-fueled. In the immediate future, customers are going to be slow to flock back to in-store dining once it’s permitted everywhere. And even then, strict social distancing guidelines will almost certainly be in place, forcing restaurants to cut down their dining capacity.

This means that a takeout-oriented restaurant industry is still going to be normal moving forward. You’re still going to see family bundles focused on moving food in bulk to entire households. You’re going to see menus with choices that make sense to take home. Grab-and-go food, online orders, and contactless options will still be commonplace.

If your restaurant has already begun adapting to takeout, continue planning how your menu can react and appeal to customers on a consistent basis. Can you expand your takeout menu? Create new takeout-friendly daily specials? Give it some thought.

Supply chain impact. As the coronavirus pandemic threatens nearly every aspect of our lives, so too has it threatened the food supply chain. “The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson recently wrote in a full-page newspaper ad, CNBC reports. As meatpacking workers test positive for the virus across various facilities, these locations are forced to shut down.

With the supply chain in flux, restaurants need to plan for how these changes will ultimately impact menus. Different establishments will react in different ways. Some restaurants may not have supply chain issues at all. Either way, it’s important to come up with a plan and to keep your menu flexible.

Restaurant grocery. Above all else, restaurants are doing their best just to survive. If that means altering the business model, many are willing to do so. Axios reports that restaurant chains like Panera Bread, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Subway have begun to sell their ingredients to customers. This extends to bakeries as well, some of which are selling flour to customers who can’t find any at sold out grocery stores.

As your restaurant treads into a post-shutdown society, this may be a model worth considering. As mentioned, customers are going to be cautious to return even when in-store dining resumes. Selling ingredients could potentially be a method to supplement your services.

An important reminder. At the end of the day, we all need to remember that no one knows exactly what the new normal will look like. The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for restaurants and society as a whole.

What we do know is that restaurants everywhere are failing. According to the New York Times, restaurant analysts and operators believe 75% of independent restaurants currently closed will not survive. In order to ensure your restaurant’s survival, you need to start focusing on your recovery today. Here’s our running list of Coronavirus Resources we’ve prepared to help your restaurant stay in business.

Stay Open With CoGoBuzz

With CoGoBuzz, we want to do our best to help your restaurant. Our state-of-the-art digital marketing service can help your restaurant build and 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.

How is your restaurant changing the menu in the wake of coronavirus? Have any advice to share? Let us know in the comments.