COVID-19 sure has stuck around longer than what we all initially planned for.
The pandemic forced us all to realize how important it is to have a plan in place for emergencies, and enough capital to hold us over in the meantime.
Most of us restaurant owners however, maybe had one plan in place – one plan to help us out of one huge emergency, or pandemic in this case. We weren’t prepared to be hit multiple times with multiple waves of evolving variants.
So, what are restaurant owners doing about the Omicron variant? How can restaurants prepare for what is already taking place in the industry?
Sending requests up the food chain
Out of pure, desperate need, the CEO of GrubHub and food industry mogul, Adam DeWitt, wrote a letter to Congressional leaders in support of urgent funding for restaurants on January 12, 2022.
Along with mentioning some of the challenges that restaurants are facing due to COVID-19 such as soaring operating costs, widespread labor shortages, winter business slowdowns, and customer uncertainty, he states “The Restaurant Revitalization Fund must be replenished to fund the unaddressed applications and help America’s restaurants keep their doors open.”
The success of his company, GrubHub, is solely dependent on its supporting restaurant's ability to stay profitable and in business. Of course, this is not the only major player being affected; that being said, DeWitt letter may spark a fire in a few others such as UberEats or DoorDash too.
Preparing for a lull
Although these major players are fighting for local restaurants, it is up to the restaurants themselves to not let the lull happen.
Avoid temporary closure or lull by performing one or all of the following:
1) Create a kick-butt referral or loyalty program.
This program will not only show your customers how valuable they are to your business, but it will also encourage them to continue providing that value to you even when the going gets tough. Having these programs in place is also a great idea to save on advertising costs during a time of need.
2) Incentivize new and repeat customers through deals and discounts.
The key point here is to design deals that align with your customers' pain points during this pandemic. For example the deal could say, “Chicken noodle soup at ½ price this week for to-go food! Surprise your friend in bed.”
3) Take advantage of to-go orders.
If you are not already providing food via to-go, whether through a to-go stand at your restaurant, catering deals, delivery services, a partnership with a food delivery company like GrubHub, or other, then you are missing out on the majority of your sales.
The new Omicron variant is causing more people to stay home, order in, and avoid dining in. The more you can cater to these changes in your customers, the more your customers will be willing to stick with you.
We’re all in this together. If you need help developing a strategy to avoid closure due to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Remember, failing to plan means you are planning to fail. Let’s make your plan together.