From pantry staple boxes to initiatives feeding healthcare workers, we’ve seen many great ideas that are helping restaurants around the world navigate the coronavirus period. Today, we look at some of these initiatives and highlight key learnings that any hospitality business can apply.
Some of our favourite adaptions
Once fine dining, Canilis in Seattle has downgraded their menu to a daily rotation of family meals and a drive through bottle shop – both of which can be enjoyed while watching their live-stream pianist every night.
South Melbourne Markets, Melbourne
One of Melbourne’s best markets is now providing an order and collect service, where customers order and pay through the individual retailers before driving through to collect.
This three star Michelin restaurant now offers what can be described as comfort food, selling full meals including sides and dessert for a reasonable price.
Creator Burgers, San Francisco
When you collect your robot-made burger, it travels along a sanitising conveyer in a hermetically heat-sealed double bag, protecting staff, delivery people and customers alike.
Winery Olivigna has converted their award winning grappa distillery and are now producing 500ml bottles of 65% alcohol-based hand sanitiser, available by delivery only.
Twisted Soul, Atlanta
This restaurant has pivoted to offer freezable and microwavable meals for delivery. In order to further support their community, they have introduced specials including “pay what you can” meals and “free meals for hospitality workers.”
Pizza vs Pandemic, USA
Pizza delivery app, Slice, has collaborated with Slice Out Hunger and Pizza to the Polls to create this campaign. When people donate online, Slice enlists its network of NY pizzerias to deliver pies to healthcare workers while helping small businesses stay afloat.
Top 11 takeaways for all hospitality businesses
1. Offer a rotating set menu
A rotating set menu not only provides a degree of interest and surprise to the consumer, it can also be engineered around seasonal ingredients and reduce waste in the kitchen. Set menus are efficient to produce and will encourage repeat orders from regulars.
2. Stay connected with your whole community
As many people have extra time on their hands, ensure you’re keeping the community informed of your actions and activities. Encourage two way communications and feedback to take your connections to a new level. Most importantly, be sure to keep your employees informed and regularly updated.
3. Harness online communication channels
While face-to-face contact is all but banned, your digital presence is more important than ever. Make it easy for customers to understand your current offering by updating your website and publishing regular social media updates. It’s also a great time to interact with your community over common interest stories, good news and education, refocusing their attention away from the constant barrage of coronavirus news.
4. Implement strict procedures
Ensure your processes for delivery or pick up is solid, detailed and aligned with the governments evolving restrictions. Ensure your staff keep their distance and have high standards of sanitisation. It might be a good time to utilise a take away window or implement contactless delivery.
5. Review your hours
Review your productive working hours on a daily basis and align working hours with orders to ensure efficient operations. Consider taking orders the day before so you can have meals prepped and delivered within a short time frame to better resource.
6. Remember, the future is not far away
Things will return to normal! Ensure that you continue to create reasons for customers to visit you when the dust settles. Consider each order and interaction as a chance to provide an incentive for a return visit. Gift cards and loyalty programs are great tools to create incentives, as is excellent service and personal touches like free delivery or a thank you note.
7. Think family first
Targeting the family dollar is logical at this time. Create offers that will interest children and parents. Whilst parents may be attracted by a pricing incentive, children will be attracted by themed menu items and speciality menu offerings. This could be as simple as offering a family dinner pack with a child-friendly component for the little ones.
8. Offer pickup incentives
Delivery services are a considerable cost to any restaurant. Now representing 30% of the order value, this leaves the operator with very little profit. Ideally Uber Eats and Menu Log will support the industry with reduced fees, but until that happens give customers a good reason to get out of the house to collect if allowed.
9. Extend product offering
In a time where money is tight and people are leaving their homes as little as possible, consider giving customers additional purchase options. This could including offering bulk items, ready-to-cook items (think fresh pasta) or full meals that can be frozen and reheated.
10. Consider price sensitivity
Understanding the sentiment of customers in these uncertain times is important. Rather than trying to preserve margins by offering overpriced menus to a small (and shrinking!) target market, consider offering value based menus that will excite and attract customers, targeting higher volume sales with less margin. This approach will give you a greater chance of success.
11. Comfort Food
Smart operators have abandoned risk and reverted back to best selling menu items, comfort food and foods that are eaten daily. In uncertain times customers look for familiar foods and faces, so start thinking about those nostalgic dishes and save the sophisticated menus for later.
If you need any further advice or assistance on navigating this challenging period, please get in touch.