With supermarkets across the globe running low on supplies and people opting for takeout, those financially able should continue to support their local restaurants and cafes for as long as they remain open. Many restaurants which have closed due to the current health crisis will never reopen, with even the most successful and profitable ones left exposed and vulnerable. We must #standunited and help the industry survive during this downturn.
We all know someone in the hospitality industry who is doing it tough; real tough. From family and friends – even your local cafe owner. Some businesses have opted to temporarily close. Some have unfortunately closed permanently due to the unbearable financial strain. Testing times for an industry on its knees.
If you’re a restaurant, café or any hospitality establishment, then following is a collection of initiatives which we hope will help improve your online offering, but above all, your business.
Our pledge to hospitality:
If you’re a cafe, restaurant or hospitality establishment anywhere in the world, then during this period of social isolation we’re offering FREE marketing, communications, digital and multimedia advice. No strings attached. Connect with us here and we’ll aim to ease the burden where we can and answer any questions you have. We are facing a crisis where we must all come together and #standunited.
Initiative 1: Manage expectations around delivery timeframes if you know there will be delays. If you use a food delivery service like UberEats, Deliveroo or Menulog, then you need to know what’s happening with their service. Their failures become yours by default.
Initiative 2: Reward customer loyalty by throwing in a free item as a thank you for their support. Under-promise and over-deliver. Include a hand-written note from the chef/cook/owner thanking the customer for their repeat order.
Initiative 3: Forward plan while people practice social distancing and opt to order-in a lot more. They will eventually realise that the cost of daily deliveries adds up. Anticipate this concern by offering meal packs and deliver them personally. If you decide offering a pack of 10 meals, for example, try one delivered hot and nine delivered chilled – all in packaging that can easily be put into the fridge or freezer (i.e.: foil trays). It’s added value for the customer and an easy up-sell.
Initiative 4: Offer an insight into your café or restaurant like kitchen ‘behind the scenes’. One of the big reasons your guests dine with you is because of how you make them feel, not only because your food is delicious. Take your audience behind the scenes into, for example, your kitchen. Short, sharp, succinct videos no longer than a few minutes will keep them engaged and you increase the likelihood of them ordering. And remember that frequency is key – make as many as you can but above all, make them entertaining. Include a link to the online ordering page of your website.
Initiative 5: Don’t forget about your website and Google My Business. Both will get a lot more hits than your social pages. Google My Business is free, easy to use and allows you to manage your online presence across Google Search and Maps. Add a homepage message or slider and make sure your menus are easy to find. Let people know that you offer take-away and delivery options as soon as they arrive onto your site; don’t force them to have to find the information themselves. Update your Google My Business page to reflect your new hours, link to take away menus, update primary category and add ‘Take Away’ to your business title. Populating keywords in the title is a great trick to winning visibility on Google Maps. Revisit and optimise your online presence. Repeat. People may not be searching for you online right now, but they eventually will. When the restrictions are eventually lifted – and they will be – and everyone starts searching for places to dine, where will you be in those search results? Also ensure your social media channels are consistent.
Initiative 6: As online is a powerful visual medium, and because your online business will rely on mouth-watering imagery, it’s critical to include an image with every dish. Make them aspirational; enough to compel people to make the leap from cooking at home to ordering from you. But remember, what you deliver must meet expectations. Be real.
Initiative 7: Lastly, and perhaps most critical, is optimise your website for search (Search Engine Optimisation or SEO). This may be an activity that was postponed in favour of all the other operational considerations when running your business. Now is the ideal time to make sure you’re optimising your website to be found for relevant search terms. It may appear complicated, but it’s not. Either challenge your web supplier to step up to the plate or ask us and we’ll send you our ’SEO Made Easy’ cheat sheet.
“Restaurants, cafes, B&Bs and other hospitality establishments currently investing in optimising their online presence are best placed to survive the current industry downturn. NOW more than ever is the time to strengthen your online presence.”