As the pandemic continues to persist, restaurant sales are slowly rising. The National Restaurant Association reports that the industry experienced a 5% increase in July from the previous month.

While the numbers are headed in the right direction, it’s not ideal. The industry saw gains of 31.3% and 26.7% in May and June, respectively. Meaning we may be experiencing somewhat of a plateau. As it stands, we’ve still got a ways to go until sales are back to pre-pandemic levels. (About $13 billion to be specific.)

The good news is that sales are higher than they’ve been since the pandemic started. If you’re doing everything right, and you’ve managed to keep your doors open until now, that’s a promising sign for your restaurant.

But that doesn’t mean you can afford to let your guard down. We’re not out of the woods yet. Far from it. And if your restaurant is in a particularly hard hit area, you’ve got even more to worry about. An estimate from Aaron Allen & Associates (via Bloomberg News) found that more than a third of restaurants in the U.S. will likely close down by the end of 2020.

Another report from the New York State Restaurant Association (via Eater) found that 90% of restaurants in the state don’t believe they’ll be able to post a profit over the next six months without federal aid.

And it’s not just cities we’re talking about. According to a recent survey from the National Restaurant Association, 56% of suburban residents said that they’re aware of a restaurant that’s shut down in their community. Even nearly half of rural residents (44%) reported the same. It’s happening everywhere.

If you want to keep your restaurant running, you need to focus on the customer.

Your customers are the lifeblood of your restaurant. Whether we’re talking about the new normal or just plain old normal, your customers will always be what determines the success of your restaurant.

And here’s the thing. They know you’re going through a tough time. Your customers actively want to help you, especially your loyal customers.

Your loyal customers are your most consistent form of revenue. These are the ones that are plugged in. They’re a part of your loyalty program. They get your email newsletter. They know your staff. Now more than ever, you need to rely on them by creating more incentives for them to order consistently, whether in-store or for takeout. That means weekly specials, takeout packages, new loyalty rewards, and so on.

It’s not even just your customers that want to see your restaurant succeed. Your community wants to see it do well too. According to the same National Restaurant Association survey, nearly nine out of every ten adults in the U.S. consider restaurants to be important parts of their community and are concerned they won’t be able to stay open because of the pandemic.

If your restaurant doesn’t get involved with the community very often, now’s a great time. Look for local events to be a part of, whether they’re virtual or in-person (as long as proper safety precautions are being made). Partner with a local business. Get creative. Your community will take note. And it’ll benefit your restaurant during the new normal and beyond.

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.

Has your restaurant tried getting involved with the community during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments.