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Marketing ideas to get you through the COVID-19 Lockdown

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This is as good a deal as you will find. It is all set out at the web address above but in essence it’s a two-for-one deal where you nominate a pub (the list is set out), take a $10 or $12 card and when redeemed it’s a pint for you and one for a friend. The cash from the cards purchased now is sent directly to the pub to keep some liquidity going.

A number of independent brewers in Australia have joined up by acknowledging the tireless and selfless work of frontline essential workers. At this web address, these workers, being healthcare, emergency workers, teachers, aged care, supermarket employees, etc. only need to register and a delightful pack of four will be forwarded.

The fine artisans at Stomping Ground in Collingwood – www.stompingground.beer – is Victoria’s provider. Thank you for your generosity

This web address (and its app in support) will provide you with current specials, activities that pubs across Australia are doing, as everyone awaits a return to normal. The app is excellent and probably is the most complete of its type, focusing on pubs, bars, local brewers.

Download the app to stay in touch.

  1. Recipe boxes.A step further on from the delivery and collection opportunity, you could look to offer recipe boxes with the items needed to cook guests’ favourite items on your menu.
  2. Encourage people to buy gift vouchers. Many restaurants have turned to encourage customers to buy gift vouchers for future visits or gifts, which is a great idea. This will bring cash in the short term, and ensure that you will have guests in the restaurant in the future.

1.Talk about your experience through COVID-19

Show honesty & gratitude

Being empathetic with your customers, being transparent around the COVID-19 situation, and showing your gratitude is crucial.

This video from Teddy’s Brewhouse in Brownwood, TX is a heartwarming example of how restaurant owners can talk to their customers during COVID-19. In this short video posted on their social media channels, the owner explains in detail their new operational procedures and how to order delivery with them directly. Be yourself and be as upfront as possible.

Thank your awesome customers for their support.

Use this as an example for how to communicate with your diners on your social media channels and website. Show your gratitude for their service and they’ll continue to support you!

Talk about sanitization

Being upfront about your restaurant’s coronavirus safety measures—from sanitization to social distancing—is important to encourage diners to order from you.

People are now taking extra precautions when grocery shopping and ordering food for delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are also heightened anxieties around whether food delivery is safe. From the line cooks to delivery drivers, many people are interacting with food before it’s delivered, and the customers need to feel safe ordering from you.

Whatever precautions you are taking to protect your staff and your customers, share it on social media to calm any nerves your diners have. The newest Tim Horton’s commercial is a great example of this.

Checkout this post by Farmer Jane which shows sanitization efforts they’re installing in-house with a new sneeze guard.

Mention employee safety and internal communication

Talk about how you update and communicate with your employees on self monitoring, hygiene, and social distancing during this difficult time. You can also talk about frequent sync-ups with your kitchen and delivery staff to make sure they don’t have symptoms or didn’t visit anyone before work.

If customers see that the management is tapping into effective communication tools and methods to constantly keep employees updated and safe they will feel safer while ordering from your restaurant.

If you haven’t prepared your communication strategy yet, don’t worry—nobody was prepared for this. You can read our tips on how to navigate the situation for staff and restaurant in presence of COVID-19 in the city.

If you need a communication tool for announcements and messaging, we have you covered.

2. Market your new services (delivery or otherwise)

Co-marketing efforts

Anyone who owns or operates a restaurant knows that it’s really a team sport. In addition to your immediate team, most restaurateurs are surrounded by a strong community of adjacent businesses they rely on to continue operating, from suppliers to vendors.

When it comes to extending the reach of your marketing efforts, consider looking to your friends and network to see how you can work together to comarketing your products and services. If both you and your network can promote your offerings you will be able to reach more consumers without having to spend more to reach them.

This can be as simple as providing customers of your network’s business with a small incentive when they patronize their business; think a free appetizer or dessert at your restaurant when they spend a certain amount at your partners’ businesses. Or, can be as elaborate as offering your own food for sale by your partners.

Toronto restaurant group Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality have implemented this to great effect with their supplier and friends Levoy Rowe butchers. During the COVID-19 shutdown they are selling frozen meals through their partner, which provides them more business and provides the restaurant with an alternative source of income.

Promoting delivery and pick-up

If you have your own delivery team and are accepting pick-up, tell your customers exactly what the process will look like. Explain how your delivery drivers are practicing social distancing during the delivery at the customer’s home and talk specifically about where to park and how to make a payment (we would recommend avoiding all cash and taking credit card payments over the phone). This will give your customers a sense of security when ordering from you.

Greg Gnys, owner of Counterpart Brewing, has been offering personalized delivery for quarantined customers and optional curbside pickup for those customers who do not feel comfortable getting out of the car.

“We’ve worked really hard to earn our customer’s trust and now we’re working harder than ever to keep it. We’ve taken a more personalized approach in regards to communication and have done the bulk of that one on one through social media and by phone to address any concerns or requests they may have. People are scared right now so communication is vital as is a willingness to be flexible and go the extra mile to make your customers feel comfortable and appreciated.”

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your delivery marketing, either. Checkout this post by Oak Steakhouse Alexandria—they’re offering a special Easter menu for delivery in April, calling it “Easter at home.” This is a great way to get involved in holidays and family traditions when dine-in isn’t an option.

Customer loyalty programs

Now more than ever, restaurants need the support of their communities and customers. Use your social media channels to ask the communities to order locally and, if they can, purchase a gift card for a later date. Consider marketing your loyalty program at this time and think about how customers can be incentivized to order from you more regularly.

You can turn loyalty into contests on social media like how White Orchids does with their gift card contest—where every delivery is automatically entered to win. Not only will it prompt people to order more food from them, but they’ll be rewarded for their loyalty!

Have other forms of loyalty programs, like an app or loyalty card? Now’s the time to market it! Checkout how Page One market’s their app—by offering $5 off when they download.

3. Stay active on social media

Without extra money for marketing budgets to promote via traditional paid channels, restaurants are relying on their loyal customer bases on social media to get the message out there that they are still open for delivery.

Go LIVE

Both Facebook and Instagram have live capabilities. Now is a great time to connect with your customers 1:1 and send a message to your loyal customers. Example?

If there is a strong or urgent message you want to deliver going live is the right format. It notifies the users who are online and can quickly have hundreds of users listening to what you have to say.

Try holding a cooking class to teach your customers new recipes or new cooking skills.

Facebook

Now more than ever, customers are spending their free time on social media connecting with friends and family and staying up-to-date on news about COVID-19.

Restaurants can turn to Facebook to build communities of their local restaurants and diners. According to an article by FSR Magazine, “Facebook groups have been a huge contributing factor to support local businesses and to increase communication. In these groups, members of the community can post which restaurants are staying open during this period, and how food orders can best be placed.”

Local consumers are wanting to show support to their local businesses now more than ever, and Facebook groups are a great way to bring people together digitally.

Instagram

Instagram is a great way to connect with your customers—publish videos, stay connected, and take some questions from customers. Whether it’s about COVID-19 survival, the business, or delivery, Q&A is a great way to keep in touch with diners when face-to-face isn’t an option.

This video by Bar 47 on how to make a dirty milkshake is a great example of posts you can make to engage your diners on social during COVID-19.

Post food photos made for delivery every day and show that you are active and ready to serve every day. Photos and videos add a reality check to your message and can keep your diners engaged—whether you’re open or not!

Stories

Add micro-messages through stories. Deliver a quick message about your daily challenges, gratitude and every day work. Stories are effective when done regularly. Followers like to consume short and relevant content from their favorite accounts.

Sharing

Encourage your customers to share their delivery experiences, post photos of the food, and generali support you to their own network. This is a totally free way for your loyal customers can support you during this time.

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