This article is part of our "Road to Recovery: Restaurant Reopening Tips" series, sharing information on topics surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic and food service, from the future of the industry to operational advice and more. Business regulations may vary by state and locality, please consult local government resources before making business decisions.
Right now, restaurants are fighting for every customer they can get. Meanwhile, faced with new, pandemic-born obstacles, customers are looking for ease and convenience when it comes to dining out. Make your restaurant stand out by creating a seamless online ordering experience. Whether browsing online or in a delivery app, customers are overloaded with options and might even skip your menu if it's not easy to digest at a glance. Catch customer attention with “takeout/delivery specials,” "family meals" or “quarantine packages” that simplify the process.
Good Phone Work
As the state of the pandemic constantly evolves, effectively managing customer expectations can prevent frustration and disatisfaction with their experience. One way to do that is to make sure you don't neglect your telephone order policy. Along with online ordering, phone orders are on the rise as customers as customers are still hesitant to reenter brick and mortar establishments. With a suden influx of phone orders, your service workers don't have to be your ownly touchpoint--your voicemail can too! If you haven’t updated the voicemail greeting for your business in a while, take the time now to update it to include your rush hours, expected wait times, and any other pertinent information unique to the pandemic. You may want to explore virtual phone services, such as Grasshopper, CallHippo, eVoice, etc. that can forward calls to workers’ cell phones. Before investing in any of these, make sure there’s enough demand to make it worth it, and that your kitchen can handle that extra demand.
Pickup orders can become a logistical hurdle depending on the size of your operation. You may be dying to see your customers, but they are possibly still hesitant to resume life-as-normal. If you have a large parking lot, try numbering your parking spaces and having customers call in with their space number. Customers can open their trunk from inside the car, receive their food, and drive off happy. For smaller operations with less traffic volume, having customers crack their car windows and giving the name on the order can suffice.
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