As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, the fear of transmitting this virus has taken a toll on social gatherings. In an effort to stop such a sustainable spread within our community, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey have now limited restaurants, bars and cafes to takeout and delivery.
This disruptive effect leaves 1 million restaurants across the country to look for alternatives ways to fill the gap of declined sales and temporary closers. So how can restaurant owners adjust during this economic standstill? Our restaurant survival guide has you covered.
While there is no fail-safe way to prevent this virus, it is important to keep the safety of our communities as an utmost priority. To reduce transmission, the first step is staying informed with local and global health officials (CDC, WHO, OSHA).
At this time, a severe pattern of those affected can provide a sigh of relief, as workers in this field are relatively young and healthy. Moreover, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced no evidence for the coronavirus to be transmitted through food and its packaging.
By shifting the focus on providing a great service, it is your turn to remind employees and customers to avoid the establishment if they have symptoms, are feeling sick or have pre-existing underlying conditions. Regardless of age and health, social distancing of at least six feet is also encouraged and gatherings of more than 50 people are strongly prohibited.
Safety Measures and Common Courtesy
Coronavirus is in fact a horrible threat but it doesn’t get in the way of common dinner table courtesy and existing safety protocols, as explained by Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University.
“Wash your hands before eating, use clean silverware, don’t eat off of common serving pieces or use your silverware to take food from common bowls or plates, and keep your hands out of food that other people might be eating” – Nestle
When facing these health concerns, we here at 9Fold urge restaurants all over the world to make necessary changes to improve pre-existing food-safety and sanitary guidelines. A combination of these suggestions will keep you a step ahead of this virus.
- Promote hand-washing to employees and customers.
- Make sure hand-sanitizer dispensers are available at the entrance.
- Clean utensils, dishes, and flatware multiple times a day.
- Provide sanitary wipes and gloves for all employees.
- Encourage customers to pay with a card to prevent a possible contamination.
- Disinfect high traffic surfaces regularly, including credit-card pin pads and door handles.
Communication and Transparency
Let’s face it, customers have the final decision on where they dine out. That’s why we encourage restaurants to have direct and constant communication of the actions being taken to combat infection. In response, this transparency will help customers to gain your trust and encourage them to support local businesses.
With the help of our Restaurant Success team, restaurants are updating customers on the alternative ways they continue to serve the community. In these unpredictable times, the most effective ways are social media, newsletters, and directly on your restaurant’s website.
Unsure of where to start? Our partners Mocha Burger, Banh Mi Zon, 5 Napkin Burger and Pokebowl are great examples of connecting with customers. Corner Bakery Cafe has even added a popup to their website, outlining the transition and changes during this time.
Introduce Dining Alternatives
Along with the massive steps our communities are taking to help combat the spread of COVID-19, your restaurant is no exception. Introducing innovative ways for customers to receive an ambient Michelin experience (without the reservation) while staying at home, can easily be done by using these alternatives:
- Fulfill orders by phone
- Operate as a ghost kitchen
- Offer pickup and drive through options
- Provide merch and gift cards for sale
- Remind customers to leave a positive review
- Offer discounts and value deals to loyal customers
- Encourage customers to share suggestions with your employees
- Add new menu concepts and alcoholic beverages to your online menu
- Allow customers to order directly on your website to decrease delivery fees
- Provide contactless delivery and remind customers to specify delivery instructions
The key here is to be aware that this pandemic will not last. Restaurants will continue to be a social gathering place and a go-to for hearty meals worldwide. It is time to take the necessary steps to keep your restaurant, community and loved ones safe. By trying these proven alternatives, we are confident in saying restaurants will not only fill the gap of this temporary stand still, but will continue to increase sales after the pandemic is over.
A Message From out Team
Here at 9Fold, we stand for local restaurants today and everyday and are committed to helping them navigate these changes. As the industry faces a difficult March in terms of sales, we remind our readers that the average restaurant powered by 9Fold from March 2019-March 2020 had a 48% increase in sales with direct online orders alone!
We are offering free consultation, marketing and communication tools to any restaurant seeking to increase their direct online ordering presence. This way, local restaurants can continue to receive support without the use of congested destinations.