The pandemic isn’t slowing down. Which means if your restaurant wants to keep its doors open, adjustments need to put in place. (Hopefully kept in place.)

With economic turmoil continuing to affect Americans everywhere, the amount of customers seeking to dine out is continuing to decrease. According to a survey from AlixPartners, reported by FoodService Director, 26% of customers want to cut back on dining out.

That number has actually risen 6% from April. The base of potential customers is shrinking, which means restaurants need to be smart, careful, and creative moving forward.

And it’s not just money that’s keeping people away from restaurants. If your solution to getting people into your restaurant has just been focused around creating better deals, you may need to rethink your strategy. Better deals and better value will certainly help. But here’s the thing.

AlixPartners found that fear of coronavirus infection is the top concern for dining out. If a restaurant isn’t making safety a priority, then many customers simply won’t be willing to eat there.

According to the survey, 80% of customers are now ordering meals for takeout and delivery. That’s up from 69% in April. On top of that, more than half of customers (57%) are ordering takeout/delivery at least once a week. Off-premise dining is dominating the restaurant scene because customers just aren’t comfortable eating inside restaurants.

If you want to keep your customers around, safety needs to take priority. Otherwise, you risk losing their business entirely. Customer loyalty will go a long way for restaurants, but at the end of the day, safety will always be more important.

Implementing contactless solutions is a good place to start for restaurants. Since the pandemic began, I’ve seen restaurants go contactless in a variety of creative ways. From offering contactless payment to introducing digital menus, the entire ordering experience is being streamlined for safety. (If you’re interested in setting up your own digital menu, be sure to check out our recent article: Why + How Your Restaurant Should Offer A Digital Menu During COVID-19.)

Your seating chart is also worth looking over. If you’re open for in-store dining, your seating chart needs to be carefully planned to make sure customers are socially distanced and feeling safe. Many restaurants are expanding their outdoor seating to accommodate these safety measures. For additional advice on doing so, check out the following article: 4 Ways Restaurants Can Improve Outdoor Seating In Light Of Coronavirus.

Any additional safety measures you can take will help your restaurant for the long haul. For example, according to the survey, 36% of customers said that they would dine out more frequently at restaurants with mandated mask-wearing. In my own experience, I can already tell that restaurants are beginning to take notice. Employees are wearing masks, plexiglass shields are being put in place, and safety practices are being more clearly emphasized.

To learn more about different ways you can keep your restaurant safe, please consult the CDC’s Considerations for Restaurants and Bars page.

Succeed 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.

What safety measures has your restaurant introduced? Let us know in the comments.