As more states continue to allow restaurants to resume in-store operations, albeit at reduced capacities, it’s time to start examining how your marketing strategy will ultimately change as a result.

Restaurants everywhere are hurting. And despite the reopenings, that doesn’t look to change soon. Research from the National Restaurant Association tells us that 74% of operators are expecting their sales in six months to be lower than the same period last year.

But rest assured, many people are still eager to give you their business. In last week’s article, What Your Restaurant Needs To Know As It Prepares To Reopen, we discussed a report from Datassential explaining that avoidance for dining out is starting to trend downward. People have been cooped up inside and they actively want to give you their business.

In order to succeed, you’ll need to make sure your marketing is running as effectively as possible. Here’s three ways marketing can help your restaurant move forward.

Continue to communicate with care. Even if your restaurant has the okay to reopen, it doesn’t mean you should just pick up where you left off prior to the start of this whole crisis. The world has changed and your marketing messages must continue to reflect that. Not only do you want to keep promoting your restaurant as much as possible, you’ll want to handle it with care.

Part of that means letting your customers know what you’re doing to keep them safe. The more comfortable they feel, the more likely they’ll be to dine with you. They may even choose your restaurant over a competitor. People want to know what your safety practices are. It shows that you care about your customers, which in turn, can help engender brand loyalty.

Leverage loyalty. Speaking of loyalty, in the face of heavy competition from restaurants scraping to get by in order to survive, loyalty has never been more important. (Click here to read more on why loyalty is more important than ever.)

Customers want to dine with the brands they feel loyal to, making now the opportune time to make use of your loyalty program. Your loyalty program is the ideal method for getting customers back into your restaurant. If you’ve got a digital loyalty program, you can use it to communicate, inform, and reward, helping your customers get back into the groove of restaurant dining, whether they prefer dining-in or ordering out.

Improve the takeout experience. Regardless of what happens, many customers will continue to feel more comfortable at home for the time being. On top of that, your dining room will likely be operating at limited capacity for an extended period due to social distancing requirements. That means that takeout should continue to be a core component of your restaurant moving forward.

If takeout wasn’t a major part of your restaurant prior to the pandemic, I’m sure you’ve adapted in response. At the same time, as you continue forward, it’s important to look for ways to improve the takeout experience on multiple levels. Here’s a few examples.

  • Better ordering. The more ways to order, the better. (e.g. order online, call ahead, curbside pickup, delivery, contactless, pay ahead, etc.)
  • Takeout-friendly food. Many restaurants have found success overhauling their menus with family packages and takeout-friendly food. Keep looking for ways to expand your takeout menu.
  • Loyalty integration. To help improve the takeout experience, look for ways to reward your customers even if they’re only dining with you via takeout.
  • Value. When it comes to takeout, people want to know they’re getting a good value. Fleshing out your takeout meal packages with drinks, sides, etc. can help reinforce the idea that your customers are getting a good value for their purchase.

Succeed 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 has your restaurant adjusted its marketing? Let us know in the comments.