The COVID pandemic has certainly created an unpredictable restaurant industry this year. It seems poised to continue at least for part of 2021.
With restaurants across the United States pivoting on an almost weekly basis, many owners are wondering how to be successful in the coming year.
To help you, we look at six tips for restaurant success in 2021.
Restaurant customers in 2021 are going to be looking for contactless options when they frequent your restaurant. This includes ordering and payment options.
One tip for restaurant success is to harness the power of your website ordering or even online ordering on your mobile app. Make sure your online website is set up for online ordering and payments.
This keeps your customers and your employees safer.
In addition, for customers calling in or ordering on your website, considering offering options for your customers to pay in a no contact manner. They can often do this by waving their phone or credit card over your payment device. Make sure you have this option available.
Keeping as much human contact out of the equation when it comes to ordering and payment is a great tip for 2021.
You’ll find that even when the pandemic is over, your customers will still like and use contactless ordering and payments. It’s easy, and it will continue to feel safer for a good while to come. (tweet this)
The days of customers popping into restaurants are waning as the pandemic continues.
With many restaurants restricted in occupancy, reservations have never been more important.
Your tip for success involves online reservation systems. Make sure that your customers can reserve their table online.
This helps you keep people safe and lets your customers know you are keeping crowds to a minimum.
Online table reservation systems let your customers find the best time and day for their meal without having to talk to anyone by phone. This also lest you adhere to strict social distancing guidelines for safety.
Using online table reservations help you seat everyone at a safe distance while staggering your diners’ arrival times. You won’t be overcrowded, and it makes it easier for you to take care of your customers.
One good thing has come out of the pandemic, and that’s people spending more time outside. This is also true for restaurant customers.
Another tip for restaurant success includes refining your al fresco dining options. People who aren’t comfortable eating inside your restaurant are often completely fine eating outside.
Since many restaurants have reduced indoor capacities, and in some cases, they are or will be closed for indoor dining, restaurants can move it outside.
You’ll find that in 2021 many local city councils and counties are loosening restrictions so restaurant owners can move seating outside. This has the potential to help your restaurant succeed in the coming area.
Even after the pandemic, outdoor dining is sure to stay popular. People like being outside. Even after your indoor dining opens, you’ll also be able to seat more people with an enhanced outdoor dining area.
Many restaurant diners are ordering from home for take out or delivery. The pandemic has left many of your customers wanting to support your restaurant, but they aren’t comfortable dining in.
To be successful in 2021, it’s time to offer these options to your customers. If you aren’t currently offering take out and delivery, it’s time to consider it.
According to Market Watch, the pandemic has more than doubled the business of food-delivery apps. More people are dining at home and ordering their food online.
For those restaurants who are able to offer this option to their customers to eat off-premises, they will expand their ability to succeed. You’ll also be able to reach more customers including those who want the convenience of take out/delivery and those who don’t feel safe eating in your restaurant.
Whether you’re fast casual, fine dining, or something in between, pivoting to takeaway meal options as well as in person options will serve you well.
Another tip for restaurant success in 2021 includes reviewing and revising your menu as necessary.
For example, with more people eating at home, consider offering packaged meal options. These could include meals for different size households: two people, four people, six people, eight people, and more.
Take your most popular menu items and offer them family style. This might include an appetizer, main menu item, salad, and dessert.
Restaurants who can meet their customers where they are will experience more success in 2021.
Rethinking your menu offers makes your restaurant more accessible to customers next year. Dining needs are different in the pandemic, and you want to do what you can to meet those needs.
In addition, as the pandemic starts to end, you may even find people want to continue ordering these family style meals.
Whether your restaurant stays closed for awhile in 2021 due to citywide restrictions, or you are open for business as usual, you want to really enhance your marketing in 2021.
You want to harness the power of your website, social media accounts, and email marketing to get your message out to current and potential customers. (tweet this)
Take this time to really work on your digital efforts. Make a social media plan, create a video strategy to work on your videos, and create an email marketing strategy.
Consider adding some teachable moments into your marketing. For example, offer your customers a recipe or two in the form of either a written blog or video.
You can also use video to show your customers what’s going on inside your restaurant even when they can’t be there. For example, showcase your chef coming up with some menu items in a video.
The new “normal” facing restaurants owners really isn’t normal at all. It’s developing and changing at a rapid pace.
What your restaurant looked like a month or even a week ago may not be what it looks like today. And that may not be what it looks like in 2021.
To be successful and weather the storm created by the pandemic requires patience and creativity. Changes are coming quickly, but you can make changes that work for your restaurant and your customers.
Adaptation is key, and you can excite your guests and keep your restaurant moving positively into 2021 with these restaurant tips.
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to your restaurant and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog, and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!