As I’ve continued to write resources for restaurants during the ongoing pandemic, one of the throughlines I’m constantly trying to get across is the importance of communication. Your customers want to know what’s going on. I really can’t stress this enough.

While plenty of people are venturing out into the world of dining once again, there’s still just as many that might not be so willing. Restaurant operators across the board are aware of this. According to a survey from the National Restaurant Association, 73% expect sales volume over the next six months to be lower than the same period last year.

Even quick service and fast casual operators, who remain more optimistic, aren’t hedging their bets on a short recovery. Respectively, 50% and 42% of these operators don’t believe their sales will recover by late-2020.

Whether you’ve had a successful reopening or not, it’s essential to stay vigilant and keep communicating with your customers. Here’s six things customers want to know about your reopened restaurant.

If your dining room is open. Just because restaurants have been allowed to reopen for some time now (in most states) doesn’t mean your customers are guaranteed to know that your dine-in services are back to normal. One of my favorite local restaurants has only been available exclusively for takeout even though dining rooms are allowed to reopen here. Make sure to let your loyal customers know that you’re open for business.

If you have outdoor dining. If you have outdoor seating, you’re going to want to take advantage of it. As restaurants begin to open up again, many customers simply feel more comfortable sitting outside than in. On top of that, it’s what the CDC is recommending.

“Prioritize outdoor seating as much as possible,” the CDC says on their restaurant and bar considerations page. Click here to check out the whole thing.

Additionally, if you’d like to learn more about improving outdoor seating, click here.

Your sanitation protocols. As you continue to promote your restaurant, remind your customers what your sanitation protocols are. Are you cleaning every table as new parties come and go? What about frequently touched surfaces and shared objects? The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting things like door handles, cash registers, payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, and receipt trays, just to name a few examples.

Letting your guests know that your restaurant is as sanitary as can be will help them feel far more comfortable dining in.

Your social distancing rules. With various social distancing recommendations in place, customers want to know how your restaurant is keeping groups safely separated. Different restaurants are taking different approaches. Some are marking certain tables as unavailable while others are switching up their seating arrangements completely. You’ll also want to highlight if you’re operating at a reduced capacity or not. Some restaurants are offering reservations to help manage capacity and ease the process of dining in.

Any additional health precautions. Make sure your customers are aware of any additional steps that you’re taking to create a safe environment. Talk about what you’re doing to keep employees healthy as they continue to work (e.g. daily temperature checks)? Are your staff members wearing masks? Do you have plexiglass set up at the payment counter?

Your deals and specials. Even as you continue to communicate safety precautions that your restaurant is taking, this is not the time to stop promoting your deals, specials, and promotions. With less customers willing to dine out comes a greater depth of competition. Be aware of what your competitors are doing to help ensure your offers stand out from the pack.

Engage With CoGoBuzz

With CoGoBuzz, we’re here to help your restaurant succeed as it moves forward from the pandemic. 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.

Have you been keeping your customers informed? Let us know in the comments.