Reopening Your Restaurant: Tips to Ensure a Successful Brand Revival
Closure of your restaurant for any reason can cause headaches and anxiety about the future. Parallel with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic is the stress that comes with eventually having to reopen your business. How will customers know you’re open? What will future demand be? How can you assure your business is ready to serve again?
Keep reading to learn the answers to some of your most pertinent questions and what you can do to reopen your restaurant successfully!
Why We Need Restaurants
Restaurants are mainstream social gathering establishments that support both the local and global economies while satisfying the stomachs of millions per day. Representing almost 4% of the United States’ GDP and employing roughly 10% of the entire workforce, the restaurant industry plays a vital role in our day-to-day lives on many levels. Without restaurants, the economic and social ramifications would be nauseating.
Supporting Local Economies
When it comes to business and economics, the restaurant industry has a unique advantage when compared to others. Globalization, or the shift of business outside of its primary location, is much more difficult (if not impossible) for many restaurants. Because consumption must occur relative to where food is prepped, local economies are not at risk of outsourcing employment and supply chains, something extremely common in many other business models. In other words, because staff prepares food on-site, it’s not feasible to outsource labor to other countries. Each time a guest visits their favorite restaurant, they support their local economy, helping hundreds of thousands taking part in the industry.
Restaurants bring people together better than just about anything else. Food can fulfill multiple components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs both physiological and a sense of belonging, making for an obvious marriage of these ideas in the form of restaurants. Social dining promotes interaction with friends and family, providing a release of dopamine – increasing your happiness and satisfaction levels. Without restaurants, our opportunities to interact with others would be limited.
Keeping Your Restaurant Finances Afloat
While your restaurant is closed, there are a few things you can do to keep your financial woes at bay. Assuming a temporary closure, you’ll want to speak with your staff regarding their employment status to keep them informed.
You should try to take advantage of any government stimulus available. Regarding current situations, the government has set aside many options for small businesses suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shifting Restaurant Operations
If your restaurant is capable of remaining open throughout this time, you should aim to shift your operations to serve guests curbside, through a drive-thru, or off-premise through delivery services. While you may not recoup all of your lost profits, this can be a great option to cover overhead costs like your building rent and utilities.
For some states, restaurants are now allowed to deliver alcohol, providing your business with another potential revenue stream. Because the profit margins on alcohol can be considerable, this is a great opportunity to boost your revenue throughout this time. The demand for alcohol delivery has drastically increased as people stay home. The graph below verifies this showing search results from Google for the term “alcohol delivery” over the past year. This is your chance to capitalize on the relaxation of laws and restrictions regarding alcohol and delivery.
How to Reopen Your Restaurant
When the time comes to reopen your restaurant (yes, it’s coming!), you’ll need to be fully prepared to satisfy your customers’ needs. Ensuring customers know you’re open and what seating arrangements are available should be at the forefront of your restaurant reopening.
Let People Know!
In any time of uncertainty, nothing is more important than letting customers know that your restaurant is back open for business. You should also note your hours of operation, whether they have changed or not.
There are many ways to let people know that you are open from social media to physical postings. Here are a few ways you can promote your restaurant to let others know you’re open:
- Promote your reopening on social media
- Promote your reopening on your website
- Use word of mouth marketing
- Display outdoor signage for others to see
- Note what types of accommodations are available
- Utilize forms of advertising like radio or television
Prepare Staff & Inventory
If your restaurant has been closed for a few weeks or months now, you’ll need to communicate with your staff about your continued operations. You should ensure you have the staff ready to reopen your restaurant as some of them might have picked up a new job. You might need to allocate some of your time to searching for new employees before reopening your restaurant.
Having your employees in check is not the only thing you’ll need to resume your operations. You’ll need to do an inventory check and ensure you have fresh ingredients to prep food. It will be difficult to predict demand once your restaurant reopens but there’s nothing worse than turning away customers, so be sure to order enough inventory for a normal day.
Safety is Essential
Due to the recent developments with COVID-19, anxiety is elevated regarding restaurant food safety and store cleanliness. You need to have a plan in place to ensure your restaurant is well-maintained and cleaned properly and thoroughly. You should follow all CDC and local health department guidelines to keep your restaurant free of bacteria. Consider setting up an hourly routine to cleanse your restaurant.
With social distancing orders in place, some restaurants might rearrange their dining area to keep customers further apart easing any lingering fears of COVID-19. Having a proper guest management system can make this transition a breeze.
Conclusion: Getting Ready to Reopen Your Restaurant
It’s only a matter of time before your restaurant will be back open and readily serving guests again. To successfully reopen your restaurant you’ll need to do a few key things including letting customers know you’re open, preparing staff and inventory, and ensuring your restaurant is properly cleaned.
For those who are capable, taking advantage of off-premise or curbside ordering in addition to alcohol delivery are great options to recoup some of your lost profits. You can also utilize government stimulus to keep your business afloat throughout this uncertain time.
What are your plans for reopening your restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!
How has the pandemic altered your course? Click the link below for our short survey on the COVID-19 outbreak and let us know your story.
About the Author
Forrest is the Digital Marketing Manager at QSR Automations, where he oversees all things in the digital realm. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s in Marketing. Forrest enjoys the challenges of the evolving digital landscape. In his free time, he has strong passions for both fitness and finance. You can find him running in the park or keeping up with the latest financial trends.