District Restaurant News | Fall 2020

Page 27

Creatively reinvent yourself. Photo by Sincerely Media.

These are tough times indeed; there’s no end in sight, and thus far, no silver lining. With the pandemic ongoing, restaurant and bar owners cannot project whether or when dining will open. In this environment, restaurant operators need customer support; but that is not enough: they need to generate support from within. Recovering sales may seem insurmountable, when many customers may not want to dine out, and those who do may not be protecting themselves and others adequately.

Slow down; make a plan Attacking this tough sales environment from all sides may be a restaurant owner’s first impulse. But pausing to formulate a plan could be more helpful. I’ve seen restaurants close for a few weeks just to get their bearings, and then emerge on more solid footing. Of course, many restaurants cannot afford the lost revenue of closing for even one day right now, but shutting down is not required in order to formulate a plan with input from key staff.

Avoid the adrenaline rush from running around and trying 100 different things. You, the restaurant owner, need to take a deep breath, and create a plan that includes your defined goals. Only then can you develop ways to attack your sales plan. You’ll save energy and resources by focusing on key strategies, such as invigorating your email marketing game, or investing in your social media portfolio. Focus on what’s important and what will get you incremental sales.

Don’t insist customers come inside your space; meet them where they are In talking with a colleague recently, we discussed how some dining rooms are reopening, but in other areas, customers are not ready to come back inside. How can you move forward without your dining room? Look no further than some of the largest restaurant chains: Chipotle, Del Taco and even Outback have been able to regain lost sales almost exclusively by offering enhanced takeout.

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