Creative Ways to Keep Your Restaurant Busy Throughout Lockdown
Offer collection and delivery services
This may not be the most creative idea on the list, but it’s certainly the most important. Currently, offering collection and delivery services is the only way to operate - so it’s time to modify your business structure if you haven’t already.
Luckily, offering food deliveries has been made much easier with the rise of third-party delivery services, such as Deliveroo. Using services like this means you don’t need to hire or train delivery personnel, which can save you lots of time.
Offering food collection services also allows diners to stop by and pick up their own food. Some customers prefer this as it tends to be quicker and cheaper to collect your food rather than wait for a delivery to arrive.
Once you put the infrastructure in place to offer collection and delivery services, you open up even more opportunities to make a profit throughout lockdown.
Create DIY cooking packages for customers at home
For diners who are missing your restaurant specialities, the ability to whip up the same meal at home could be a dream come true! Why not make this a reality for your loyal customers with do-it-yourself hampers and packages?
A DIY hamper could include all of the ingredients (in their correct quantities) and step-by-step instructions needed to make a delicious meal, whether it’s your best-selling pizza or customer-favourite tacos.
Your diners are sure to love this idea for two reasons. Firstly, they won’t have to spend a day longer dreaming about your menu and the dishes they miss. Secondly, DIY food hampers give people something to do during evenings at home. With so many people using the lockdown to learn new skills and hobbies, now is the perfect time to get involved.
Build food bundles for special events
People are spending more time at home than ever before, which means there is greater demand to plan fun activities that can be enjoyed without leaving the house. This is a great opportunity for your restaurant to offer a solution!
Take your food delivery service up a notch by creating themed food bundles. For example, you could build a date night package for couples in lockdown together. The bundle could include a meal for two, including two starters, two main dishes and two desserts at a set price. Diners will love the novelty of having a freshly-prepared three-course meal delivered straight to their door.
There are lots of other creative food bundle ideas to consider. For example, you could offer two for Tuesday deals, Friday night tapas and cocktail pairings or weekend brunch menus. It all depends on the type of cuisine you specialise in and your target demographic.
Offer virtual cooking lessons
In addition to cooking and delivering delicious food, why not show your diners how to make it themselves? Virtual cooking lessons can help you establish an online presence and promote your menu in a way that is fun and engaging. Offering virtual cooking lessons is also a great way to attract new customers and stimulate brand loyalty amongst your diners!
There are lots of different ways to offer virtual lessons. Two great ideas include:
- - You could stream live videos on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Doing this will allow people from all over the country to get a taste for your restaurant and the cuisine you specialise in, increasing your visibility and boosting your social media marketing efforts.
- - Another creative idea is to sell the ingredients needed for one of your restaurant specialities, but instead of including a printed instructions list, invite your customers to join a one-to-one video call with your top chef. He or she can guide your customers through the process while they cook along at home!
Throughout lockdown, thinking outside the box will help your restaurant stay competitive! These are just two fun ideas to consider while we navigate this period of uncertainty.
Don’t forget to keep your chefs cool and comfortable during virtual cooking demonstrations with high-quality kitchen linens from Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services.
Create work from home lunch specials
With thousands of people currently working from home, now is the ideal time to create a tasty work from home lunch special. This will encourage people to order from your restaurant to satisfy their lunchtime cravings!
If your restaurant already specialises in light bites and easy-to-eat dishes such as pizza, paninis and salads, great! However, even fine dining restaurants can modify their menu slightly to cater to people working from home.
In addition to lunchtime specials, consider offering a cake and coffee deal for people working from home. Being able to order a sweet treat will brighten your diners’ day!
Take this time to engage with people on social media
Your restaurant may not be open, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t build relationships with your customers. There are still plenty of ways to interact with diners virtually.
Take this time to build a positive social media presence; this will keep your followers up-to-date with new deals and competitions, but it will also make sure that your restaurant is the first they think of when the lockdown restrictions ease.
There are lots of meaningful ways to interact with your social media followers during this time. For example:
- - Encourage people to tag your restaurant when uploading photographs of their food delivery. Ask for their permission to share the photographs on your social media accounts and reward them with a small discount to say thank you.
- - Live stream your kitchen to allow your customers to see what goes on behind the scenes! This will remind your customers how delicious your food is and give them a reason to order a takeaway.
- - Use the Instagram Stories feature to run polls and questionnaires. Give your followers the chance to vote on decisions such as ‘Which meal should we offer on a 2-4-1 deal next week?’ This is a fun way to engage your followers and alert them to promotions and discounts.
If you aren’t sure how to use your social media accounts effectively, start by posting lots of high-quality images of your restaurant’s menu.
Run competitions to reward loyal customers
Running competitions is a fun yet effective way to encourage customers to engage with your brand. It will give your loyal customers the chance to win a treat, but it will also attract potential new diners. By sharing your competition on social media, you will motivate more followers to interact with your page, stay updated with company news and order their next food delivery from you.
There are many simple ways to run competitions online. First, you need to select the prize you’re offering, such as a free meal for two. Next:
- - Ask your followers to tag who they would love to share the free meal for two with in the comments of your post.
- - Encourage your followers to share the competition post on their own social media feeds. This is a clever way to market your brand quickly and easily!
- - Ask your followers to submit their personal details via an online form with the lucky winner selected at random.
The key to getting lots of people involved is to make sure the competition isn’t too difficult to understand or enter. The easier it is for people to enter a giveaway, the more likely they are to do so.
Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services: Luxury restaurant linen and chefs’ wear to impress your diners
Managing a restaurant can be challenging at times. That’s why we have developed linen hire and commercial laundry services to help restaurants stay organised no matter what.
Whether you require sophisticated table linens, including tablecloths and napkins, or comfortable chefs’ wear, we have everything you need to impress your diners and enhance the presentation of your establishment.
We are also proud to offer commercial laundry services for businesses in the hospitality and catering industry, designed to take the responsibility of washing and drying linens out of your hands. We understand how busy hospitality businesses are all year round, which is why our team of laundry experts are here to support you.
To learn more about our linen hire and laundry services, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to working with you!