Uppdaterad: 16 dec 2020
Coronavirus pandemic is transforming businesses. Restaurants have been among the hardest-hit sectors, and only the ones who have been fast to adapt to customer behavior changes are the ones thriving in these unprecedented times. While these changes might not be permanent, recognizing and accommodating customer needs will continue to be vital to any business.
As COVID-19 changed the rules of the game, more and more restaurants are leaning towards a strong digital transformation. If improving social media presence and adopting digital advances were considered “good-to-haves’ until a year ago, now these are “must-haves” for restaurants. In the COVID era, customers’ dining preferences revolve around the ease of booking and ordering digitally, and paying and picking up through contactless services.
Three key aspects that can determine the future success of your restaurant and how digital transformation allows them to happen, are presented in the following paragraphs.
1. Direct communication with customers
Amidst the novel pandemic, opening hours, restriction measures and guidelines are frequently changing and as a consequence, being able to keep customers informed is essential. Having your own website and being active on social media accounts is what is allowing restaurants to be overt in their communication with customers, resulting in greater engagement and satisfaction. The use of analytics and website optimization for search engines combined with an effective social media marketing strategy can further allow to reach a bigger crowd, converting internet users into regular diners. Therefore, direct communication with customers is essential and must be supported with digital implementation and strategies.
An example of how to be effective and create engagement with communication supported by social media is provided by the owner of Trattoria Da Luigi, who used the Facebook platform to promote the opening of his Italian restaurant in Royal Oak with a humorous message: “please join us for dining with the ghosts”. The ghosts were put at the tables to keep a six-foot distance between the diners in a fun way.
2. Online ordering for takeaway
Many customers are turning their attention to online ordering nowadays. Although takeout services have been a side hustle for most restaurants, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become an essential service to generate revenue. You may already have in place a third-party food ordering service, however with a high commission fee (20-30%). Besides the cost, these services may not be tailor-made to suit your management style. Therefore it might be worth thinking about building your own ordering system backed up by an effective social media presence.
3. Minimize the social contact
To protect the health of your employees and customers alike, new approaches in food services are of utmost importance. Thanks to technological advancements, restaurants can offer a wide range of hands-free services ranging from digital menus to contactless payment. A well-built mobile/website app or a QR code solution for table top ordering, can be useful for displaying digital menus, ordering, and paying online, ensuring that everyone stays safe. Major restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, Chipotle, and Dunkin’ have already adopted contactless payment systems. Such digital solutions help to limit interactions, speed up the customer experience, receive live feedback, and maximize customer satisfaction.
To sum up, if there is one thing we have to learn from the onset of the pandemic, is that digital transformation is inevitable. COVID-19 will hopefully finish soon, but the new customers preferences and behaviors are likely to not fade away: even in the post-corona era, the diners will persist in opting for restaurants with a digital presence.
If you want to learn how our team can help your restaurant business with digital solutions, Request a demo today!