Restaurant Recovery: How To Get Out of the Pandemic’s Hold

Marketing 18 minute read 24th August 2023

The entire world saw the economic and social crisis following the pandemic. However, its impact was mostly on businesses involving outdoor activities, such as restaurants. Following this event, restaurant recovery from the economic crisis became crucial for survival.

However, there was a complete shift in conventional working methods due to the safety rules. Therefore, restaurant owners were worrying about ways to make it through the worst scenario.

While some restaurants were able to get through it, others are still trying to get rid of the pandemic’s hold. If you need your restaurant to recover from the hold, you will get suggestions to shine again here.

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How Did the Pandemic Affect the Restaurant Industry?

Before COVID, the food industry was one of the largest private sector employers in the US alone. Nevertheless, with the pandemic, it was one of the most impacted sectors.

Coronavirus was contagious, so the health guidelines suggested no contact during the period. People working and eating in restaurants were mostly vulnerable to communicable diseases. Therefore, no one was willing to eat in a possibly contaminated place.

Consequently, a significant decrease in sales initiated a restaurant worker shortage. Restaurants had to either let go of employees or cut down their wages which made them shift towards safe jobs.

Moreover, people were not only avoiding dining but were also hesitant to order food from restaurants.

There was a significant decrease in GDP by 4.8%, and it also bound up the hospitality industry. People were in their houses under restrictions, and the mere idea of travel was a nightmare.

Indeed, the COVID wave turned the pattern 360, but one must ponder whether there is any hope for restaurant recovery.

The Green Shoots of Hope: What Are the Signs of Restaurant Recovery?

It says, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Even when COVID almost broke the backbone of restaurants, people were resistant.

After the introduction of the first COVID vaccine, things started to unfold. The reopening of the restaurants brought hope to the entire sector.

The only thing that added to the possibility of nurturing small businesses was the sense of global togetherness. People came out to support and help each other. This phenomenon was visible in many fields. One such example was army volunteers. According to the New York Times, when the government appealed for 250000 people to help the NHS, 750000 signed up.

One other relatable example is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The Small Business Association announced these priority group applications.

The eligibility requirements vary according to the type of business, such as economically disadvantaged and businesses controlled by women. These small opportunities bring good news about restaurant recovery.

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The Challenges That Await on the Road to Restaurant Recovery

While there was plenty of support, restaurant reopening was challenging. Some of the hurdles of restaurant recovery are as follows.

  1. Sticking to the health guidelines: The fear of new outbreaks is always present. Therefore, restaurant reopening came with a list of precautions from WHO. However, not every country has strict requirements, so check with your jurisdiction.
  2. Lack of investment capacity: Another challenge is the lack of investment to restart a fully functional business. This is because of reduced financial stability.
  3. Staffing shortage: This challenge has been present since the beginning of COVID as expert staff resigned. The rehiring and training of new staff will be bothersome and require a budget. Ensure to follow the right tips to attract staff in the hospitality sector.
  4. Broken supply chain: The coronavirus affected the entire food industry. So, there will be hurdles to regaining the ingredients from previous suppliers.
  5. Customer mistrust: Customers will have high expectations when it comes to adhering to safety procedures. Hence, it will require effort to get them to trust your services. Ensure to get good reviews to transmit the trust of people toward your business.

What Is a Restaurant Recovery Fee: Should You Add It to Your Customers’ Bills?

If you’re looking to recover your restaurant after the pandemic, chances are, you’ve heard of the restaurant recovery fee. It may be bothering consumers, but it’s a chance for you to take a step in the right direction. But what is this fee, and how can it encourage restaurant recovery?

As there is a huge increase in goods prices than pre-pandemic levels, restaurants need a way to cope. Adding surcharges to customer bills is one of the strategies to tackle the increase in rates due to inflation.

This fee is crucial to provide staff payments and maintain an exclusive service. Most restaurants charge 5% as a recovery fee. But many consumers are wondering where this money is going.

You must have a transparent approach to adding a service fee by maintaining consumer trust. Tell your customer the importance and use of the recovery fee. Consequently, you will get economic and moral support from your consumers.

Also, try to decrease the charges as your business boosts again. In this way, you can maintain a good reputation. If you don’t like this approach, consider reviewing your menu pricing strategy. It will allow you to distribute the costs in a more sensible manner without being overtly annoying to your customers.

Don’t Stay Behind: 5 Tips To Recover Your Restaurant With Glory

After discovering the general challenges and finance strategies, you need to learn some tricks for a speedy restaurant recovery. Nonetheless, you need to set the right base on the ground level before making daring decisions. If you follow the regime correctly, you can gain confidence for a step ahead.

The following tips will help you get the best out of the circumstances.

Restaurant Recovery Tip #1: Take the Game Outside

One thing that attracts the most consumers is dining under the sky. Therefore, outdoor and rooftop restaurants are always the center of attention.

However, that’s not the only advantage of such settings. You can fall into the habit of maintaining health guidelines and give customers a revived experience. So you must arrange an aesthetic exterior sitting plan for dining. As usual, this setting should be coherent with your restaurant’s theme.

Moreover, dining under the starry sky will help people recover from the isolation of COVID.

Remember, fresh air goes a long way, and people need it now more than ever. Therefore, shifting your place outside is the first step to getting back into the game of restaurant recovery.

Restaurant Recovery Tip #2: Become the Talk Of The Town Through Marketing

If you are doing everything right and still not getting enough customers, your restaurant marketing strategy is the fault. To become the biggest restaurant news and get a catchy restaurant recovery, utilize every marketing scheme.

There are multiple ways to present your restaurant reopening to the world, but let’s start with QR code marketing. These pixelated squares have recently replaced restaurant menus because they introduce convenience and streamline operations.

However, you can use them in other powerful ways. For example, embedding them in your receipts to get more reviews. It’s common knowledge that reviews are the holy grail of promotion. Linking your review page to a local review site through a QR code is the most efficient way to grow your rating. This will help you spread the voice about your restaurant and how well it is doing.

Another form of digital marketing is Google Ads. If you pay Google for ads, your restaurant will show up at the top of the search results. But here’s the catch. Your restaurant should be relevant to what the person is searching for.

Similarly, you can hold a reopening event or use Guerilla marketing. Organizing a small event to let people know you’re back and giving small incentives to early birds will create a buzz. Meanwhile, Guerilla marketing presents your place icreatively, such as food trucks.

Lastly, you can display ads on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

You can advertise through influencers by inviting them to your place. Influencer marketing can cause a chain reaction as they have many followers to direct toward your establishment.

Restaurant Recovery Tip #3: Take “Better Safe Than Sorry” Seriously

After outdoor dining and marketing, let’s discuss safety. The biggest challenge during the pandemic was keeping up with safety guidelines. While many countries have softened them, you must check with your jurisdiction. If they still have strict rules, here’s how to start.

You must consider adding a specific safety unit in your restaurant. MEnsureyour chefs, waiters, managers, and even the guards sadhere to your jurisdictions’ guidelines. Be compassionate and set a separate budget for safety equipment such as head caps and sensitizers.

However, if your country has taken down these measures, you should still keep your kitchen safe. Pandemic or not, hygiene will always matter. Therefore, your chefs should always be wearing gloves and hats to avoid contaminating the food. Keep in mind that the health sector sealed multiple restaurants after COVID for not fulfilling the precautionary measures. Therefore, do not put restaurant recovery at stake by making the same mistake.

Restaurant Recovery Tip #4: Try Cutting Down the Food Costs

Controlling food costs can be beneficial for restaurant recovery after COVID. As mentioned earlier, you can add a service fee to the bill.

But this recovery fee can annoy customers and send them away. So you must think about a permanent solution.

Start by using commonly found ingredients in the food. For instance, if potatoes and chicken are easily available from the nearest food companies, add more dishes that use these ingredients.

This will keep the menu options wide without having to pay for additional ingredients that you import from distant markets.

Secondly, use the previous material first before expiry and then buy new raw materials. However, to prevent ingredients from spoilage, store them correctly.

Another idea might be to cut the size of the platters. This decision will help you cut the cost of your food. Thus, if you apply the recovery fee, you can decrease it. Consequently, your customers will not go to a cheaper option as they will not have to pay extra at your restaurant.

Restaurant Recovery Tip #5: Give Incentives on Take Out and Delivery

The last solution for restaurant recovery is planning incentives for takeouts and delivery. To cater to the reduction of onsite sales of your restaurant after the pandemic, consider takeouts as an alternative.

Encourage people toward home delivery and takeouts. You can apply schemes such as order one and get one free.

Or, give a certain discount on home delivery, especially to resident areas near the location of restaurants. You can even start a “safety campaign” by initiating it on social media. Moreover, promote your motto of enjoying good food while staying home until the world is recovering from COVID.

Alternatively, you can start a gift campaign to “deliver food to your friends and family and get 10% off the next order”. See your budget and plan your home delivery campaign accordingly.

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The Shift Is Challenging, but This One Change Can Help!

Business reports after covid suggested a devastating decrease in revenues. Therefore, it was a huge battle to get out and restart the process of restaurant recovery.

However, resilience is in human nature. Therefore, by getting on the sinking ship together and planning precisely, we can recover from the symptoms of coronavirus.

By using the right tools and strategy, your restaurant will come back stronger than ever. If you want to gather a better understanding of your customer to improve your marketing results, try out Beambox. With Beambox, you can build your contact list for email marketing and automate your marketing campaigns. Moreover, you will be able to get more 5-star reviews and reduce the chance of negative reviews getting online.

Beambox has no hidden fees; it’s affordable and requires no additional hardware. Start your trial today!

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