With the majority of states across the country allowing restaurants to resume some level of dine-in operations, the industry is ready to get itself back on track. Needless to say, it’s not going to be easy. Not only will restaurants have to adjust to a “new normal,” they’ll need to deal with heavy competition, an altered customer base, and less money to go around.

You’re on a budget. But you have to stay competitive. That means you need to get a little creative. To help get you started, we’ve put together a shortlist of four affordable ways your restaurant can stay competitive.

Loyalty Promotions. Loyalty has never been more important for restaurants than it is right now. And that’s why leveraging your loyalty program is one of the best steps you can take to save money and stay competitive. If you’ve built a loyalty program, now is the time to start extracting value out of it.

You can increase loyalty engagement with promotions designed to spur customer spending. Examples could include promotions like additional Streak Rewards (rewards earned by dining in a number of times in a row) and Double Points days. Repeat customers spend more than new ones. Use your loyalty program to create more consistent revenue in uncertain times.

Daily Specials. One of your top priorities during the post-COVID shutdown should be to incentivize repeat customers. Just like before, daily specials are one of the best ways to encourage customers to return for a second helping. Instead of focusing on cutting costs down, try offering options that are new and interesting. The more your kitchen works to entice and surprise your customers with inventive specials, the more likely it is that they’ll keep coming in.

Creative Value. It’s not always the cheapest deal that beats out the competition. It’s often the deal that presents the most compelling value proposition. If you can’t compromise on price, you need to offer value so as to justify your customers’ hard earned dollars. This is where you’ll want to start paying attention to what your competitors are offering as they start to reopen as well. Consider how your restaurant can not only match their value, but also exceed it.

As we’ve been discussing for weeks, this is a critical component of improving your restaurant’s takeout offerings. Improving the value of your menu won’t just bolster your in-store efforts, but have a key impact on takeout, which will continue to be an important part of business for the foreseeable future.

Unbeatable Experience. At the end of the day, people want to dine out again because they want to get away from their worries and enjoy themselves. According to a report from Datassential, half of people consider dining out to be a form of escape during the pandemic

But consider this. Chances are, if you’re opening up again, you’re probably taking a number of safety precautions, whether they’re required or not. With masked staff, empty tables, and even plexiglass serving as constant reminders of our current situation, escapism isn’t as easy as it might seem. These precautions are undoubtedly a good thing; they’ll help your customers feel safe and comfortable. Yet you want them to thoroughly enjoy the experience. And you want them to come back to your restaurant.

How do you compensate then? Focus on the experience. Actively go out of your way to make sure your restaurant feels like an awesome place to be in. Implement those important safety measures, but try to avoid making your restaurant feel sterile. Decor, music, and other aesthetic elements can go a long way here.

Compete With CoGoBuzz

With CoGoBuzz, we’re here to help your restaurant compete and thrive. 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.

What is your restaurant doing to stay competitive? Let us know in the comments.