The pandemic has been terrible. I don’t think anyone is going to argue that. As we’ve been discussing for months, and as you’re surely aware, it’s been particularly taxing on the restaurant industry. People have lost their jobs, restaurants have closed, and lives have been disrupted.

However, there will come a day when all of this is behind us. As the restaurant industry looks forward, learning from the struggles that presented themselves during the pandemic will help pave the way toward a better future. After all, adversity is what helps fuel growth.

Here are three ways that restaurants can learn and improve from the pandemic.

Off-Premise Dining. Because restaurants were forced to cease in-store dining services, nearly everyone was forced to pivot to takeout and delivery. As a result, restaurants that were not previously equipped for these services have new infrastructure in place to support those efforts.

Like it or not, this is probably for the best. Off-premise dining is growing more popular with each passing year. And while on-premise dining will always be preferred for many restaurants, figuring out how to make takeout and delivery profitable will be highly beneficial. A 2019 report from LEK Consulting found that the value of digital orders is set to rise from $25 billion in 2018 to $68 billion in 2023. And that was before the pandemic.

Menu Improvements. In our previous article, we discussed how building a more efficient menu can help your restaurant survive at a limited capacity. But when things go back to normal, these changes may actually help your restaurant in the long term.

A story from CNN Business found that major restaurant chains such as Denny’s, IHOP, and Dave & Buster’s were reducing their menus in efforts to streamline and cut costs. Brad Haley, IHOP’s chief marketing officer, and Brian Jenkins, Dave & Buster’s CEO, both indicated that they do not expect their full menus to return. The article cites that IHOP’s reductions provide a number of benefits, including easier employee training and waste reduction.

As your restaurant streamlines its menu during the pandemic, try to look forward and consider how some of these changes could actively improve your profits when normal business eventually resumes.

Loyalty Focus. And finally, I want to talk about loyalty. The pandemic has demonstrated that customer loyalty has never been more important. I’ve been talking about it since April because it bears repeating. Drawing from your base of loyal customers helps provide a consistent source of revenue for your restaurant. During a pandemic, you probably don’t have the marketing resources to focus on massive customer acquisition efforts.

As your restaurant moves forward following the pandemic, this understanding of loyalty can help it improve in the years to come. Loyal customers can help restaurants thrive through uncertain times. They’re your biggest brand advocates and one of your greatest resources for learning.

Move Forward With CoGoBuzz

As you move forward, we want to help make sure your restaurant stays open. With CoGoBuzz, we’re here to foster your success. 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 has your restaurant improved on since the pandemic started? Let us know in the comments.