Managing your business through every stage of lockdown
We’d hoped 2021 would start a bit brighter than the introduction of a national lockdown but it seems that was wishful thinking on our part! There is reason to be cheerful though as the country launches a mass-vaccination programme aiming to protect tens of millions of people in months.
Although the next 6 months or so could continue to be challenging as we ebb and flow in and out of restrictions, there are ways for you to keep your customers engaged whilst you generate an income. We’ve put together a bit of a plan as to what actions you can take throughout the various stages of lockdown:
When in a national lockdown
- Focus on your income generator…take-away!
Now is the time to develop your offer! Review your menu, the top sellers and slow movers and improve it where you can. If you want a change completely don’t be afraid to test the market with a theme night to see how your local customers react – try a pizza night for example! Alternatively, experiment with something different to wow your customers with meal kits for couples and families.
- Keep your customers engaged on social
75% of consumers said back in June that they would be more willing to purchase from brands that acted morally and ethically during the pandemic.1 So it is still very much worth keeping active on your social media profiles, talking to your customers and seeing how you can keep involved in the local community. All of these things help to promote your brand and drive loyalty amongst your customers.
Preparing to open
- Rationalise your menu
Simplifying your menu is the goal here! Utilising as fewer ingredients as possible in the most efficient way makes things easier in kitchen and is a huge help managing your stock levels. Operationally, your menu will need to work hard for you, being easy to create, streamlined, and meeting consumer needs – check out our Simple Solutions support for some advice here.
- Prepare your outdoor spaces
Us Brits will sit outside in any weather if it means we can socialise and have a drink with our friends, so get those outdoor spaces ready again! Covered booths, patio heaters, outdoor lights and table dividers can all be used to create safe and inviting spaces. Summer is actually not as far away as it may seem so start thinking about your summer menu and how you can use your outside space to its full effect once again.
- Ramp up your social content
Get those bookings rolling in! Advertise when you’re open, what measures you have in place and what you’ve got to give. Focus on giving your customers the confidence they need to, and showcase the menu you have on to entice them in!
Easing of restrictions
- Make the most of your space and your opening hours
Get those tables booked in back to back. Use timed windows to ensure your customers know they have the table for a set time slot. This will hopefully help keep your customers on time and help fit in as many bookings as possible!
- Appealing to the local mood
Judge the local mood and pitch your communications and offer to suit this. #LocalLove has been trending throughout lockdown and it’s important to make sure you make the most of the sentiment and convert that into sales. For more ideas on how to appeal to the local mood take a look at our Rally Your Customers campaign.
- Showcase your measures in place
CGA recently revealed the safety measures you have in place still rank as the top decision making factor for a consumer when dining out.2 Help your customers feel safe by reviewing and improving the measures you have in place to keep them safe. One way systems, sanitisation stations, table service and contactless payment are all high on their list of priorities so make sure these are ready to go!
- Additional promotions on the day
There is a balance between giving your customers value and making sure you generate a healthy profit from their visit. Promotions on the day help you do both; deals on sides, set menus and drinks deals are all low margin risks and high value to customers so they’re worth a bet. Why not also welcome back your customers with a little treat to say thanks for returning!
For further advice and information on the support we have available to you visit our back to business guides here.
We understand the challenges have been coming thick and fast, and that the climate shows no signs of lightening up. With that said, hopefully you know we are here to help you make the most of your opening periods and survive through those times you’re not!
2CGA, Dec 2020