Post-Covid Hospitality & Catering Marketing: How to Market a Restaurant, Cafe, Pub, Bar, Coffee Shop After Lockdown.
Catering & Hospitality Have Suffered Under Lockdown, Here’s How To Market Your Catering Establishment Post Covid.
Getting up to speed post-Covid isn’t going to be easy which means We need to relearn How to Market Catering Establishments. Staff will be rusty and many members of the public will have hesitations about mixing with people. It will have been more than a year since the pandemic struck and our first lockdown hit the High St.
Here are a few tips on How to Market Catering Establishments.
Promote Your Safety Precautions
A lot of people desperately want to eat out, but they also want to be safe. So tell them what precautions you are taking. Get the news out there on your website, on social media and in the media. And start in plenty of time so you can ensure your tables are full.
The Post-Covid Menu
Many catering businesses no longer offer a reusable menu. They either print single-use menus, use wall-mounted blackboards or use menu apps. And of course, they ensure their menus are on their websites, on social media and generally available to guests in as many places as possible.
Online menus and menu apps have an additional advantage. People can order online, direct from their table, or even before arrival.
Online & Virtual Billing
With an app comes the possibility of online billing and payment. Timing is of course important. You don’t want to bill before they have finished ordering that last dessert or drink.
An advantage of virtual billing is that turnaround times are often faster so table-turning becomes easier.
How to Market Catering Establishments: Post-Covid Service Levels
The advent of app ordering also signals other opportunities for a decrease in face to face contact with staff .. with the advantages and disadvantages that brings. From fetching their own food at a servery to pouring their own wine, service levels are fluid in the industry.
There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Some guests will decry the lack of personal attention, whilst others will feel safer with minimal contact. Surveying customers is perhaps the best way to discover what your guests prefer.
Wine Lists & Sommeliers
Decreased face to face contact can mean the demise of the sommelier, with their wine expertise and the opportunity to sell quality wines at profit. The future could, however, be that the sommelier sells via the app or video directly from the wine cellar or vineyard. It could be time to turn an apparent disadvantage into an advantage.
Service Charges & Tips
Often a controversial area now is the time some businesses are looking at service charges and tips. Some feel it’s hard to justify a service charge when the service levels are diminished. So rather than add a service charge they are increasing menu prices and making it clear there are no additional payments expected.
No Shows & Non-Refundable Deposits
No shows have been an increasing problem in recent years and have been exacerbated since the first post-Covid opening. To overcome the issue many places are now charging a deposit. Booking engines such as Book a Table have the securing of the deposit built into them and are easy to use. Costs associated with the software systems vary so it’s wise to check out a number of systems before deciding on one.
Track & Trace
At the time of writing customer details are required by law in many countries for Track and Trace reasons. This can be done manually but is also built into various booking engine software systems.
Promote Sustainability and Local Provenance
Words such as local, sustainable, provenance etc are real winners. People want to feel the food is fresh, wholesome and nutritious. Some places have really understood this and grow their own fruit and veg. Some buy kits and raise their own mushrooms from companies such as Grocycle.
How to Market Catering Establishments: Eat Out To Help Out Was An Important Consideration
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a scheme last year to help the catering and hospitality sector to get back on its feet. Called Eat Out to Help Out it offered a £10/person subsidy on all meals (excluding alcohol) on certain days in August 2020.
Though it was a time-limited offer it’s worth keeping an eye on as it could be extended, repeated or even offered in some areas after local lockdowns. Time will tell!
All the above are in response to the unprecedented times the sector finds itself in. But of course, it’s still necessary to market conventionally as well.
The rest of this How to Market Catering Establishments deals with the stuff we’ve been doing for years .. but gives a few tips on how to do it even better.
How To Market A Restaurant 2021 (How to Market Catering Establishments)