Restaurants are not easy to profit from even outside of a pandemic. In the current climate, it’s like playing a video game on the hardest difficulty available. So many restaurants haven’t been able to open at all since everything closed down in Spring. Although the government gave out small business loans, most restaurants did not qualify for it. The restrictions for the loan to be forgiven were that the business had to be open and had to spend 60-70% of the loan on their payroll. This was at a time when the restaurants mostly in forced closures still. For those who can afford to open and potentially stay that way, what do they need to do right now to continue onwards?
Enforce Health Safety Guidelines
This is the most important thing that restaurants have to do currently. In order to reopen/stay open, CDC Guidelines need to be enforced. Not following the rules can end in the establishment being closed by the city or state as well as continuing the spread of the virus. The more the virus spreads, the longer regulations to limit it will continue. As we’ve seen recently, many restaurants are struggling with a cycle of opening, rehiring, and then close once more because of a COVID-19 case being linked to them. A certain amount of that will unfortunately be unavoidable, but not doing any preventive measures will only make it all worse.
Focus on Take out
For many establishments, dine-in experiences are simply too expensive. The cost causes it to be not profitable enough to warrant attempting. Especially for places that have small dining areas and can’t expand into outside seating. To-go orders can be a better option. It limits one-one-one contact and thus safer for both parties. This allows the business to have some sort of continued revenue stream. People want to be able to support and eat from their favorite restaurants, even if they have to pick it up curbside.
a Website or App
One of the main reasons that people have been reluctant to pivot their restaurants to take out is the large service fees that systems like UberEats charge. Really, using a third-party app is only good if your restaurant needs the exposure. If you’re a popular enough establishment, then people will be willing to look outside of those apps for you. By channeling to-go orders through your own website or app as opposed to a third party, you have more control over pricing and customer data. You also won’t have to worry about other similar restaurants being advertised, unlike in a third party system. The cost for a website or app is front-loaded, meaning you have to pay more at first, but in the long run, it’s much cheaper than the other option.
Just focusing on profits can harm your connection to customers. In a crisis like the one we’re living through, showing that you care about your community can earn a great deal of respect and interest. Find ways to engage with the community, either through temporarily turning your establishment into a soup kitchen or helping a nonprofit in some other way. This can also give you the opportunity to keep employees that otherwise, you’d have to let go. It can lead to great partnerships if you network correctly. Strengthening your local economic ecosystem by helping those who need it can come back around to benefit you in ways that only sales aren’t capable of.
Adapt Menu and Services
Another argument that has been brought up against turning to take-out is that many restaurants don’t have items on their menu that are travel-friendly. However, that’s only an obstacle if you make it one. There’s the option of changing the menu (temporarily at least) in order to make a more deliverable product. Adapting may be one of the biggest challenges for restaurants that want to preserve the authenticity of their establishment, but more likely than not it’s necessary. Certain states are allowing to-go orders of alcoholic beverages so that businesses can make as much of a profit as possible. These are strange times, and everyone has to change how they normally do business.
The restaurant industry has been through every recession, outbreak, depression, and world changing event that has been thrown at it. People want to be able to enjoy good food, but everyone involved needs to be safe while doing so. Evolving with the times will be critical in the survival of restaurants moving forward. In order to transition smoothly, a website or app could be a great tool for restaurants to both manage orders and also keep connected to their customers.
If you need help with either a website or an app, ScannedMedia would be happy to assist. Get in touch with us if you’re ready to take the next step needed to further your business during this chaotic time.