Tips to help restaurants strengthen operational adjustments they made during the pandemic

Published February 19, 2021

COVID-19 has forced restaurant operators to adapt and shift gears like never before. And that includes altering their business strategies and operations to meet the demands of a challenging time. From online ordering to contactless delivery, restaurants have had to change the way they work in order to keep their staff and their customers safe while supporting their businesses.

While there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine rolling out, it’s still a long road to recovery for restaurants. And operators will need to keep innovating to meet the continued challenges.

The main ways they can do that now are to continue offering curbside pickup, delivery and takeout as well as enabling contactless ordering. Here’s how you can promote your services and strategize for optimal efficiency.

Keep improving your off-premise services


When the pandemic began, you may have, like many restaurants, made the choice to begin offering takeout and delivery for the first time. But even after the pandemic is over, many of your customers will still want your new off-premise services. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2020 Delivery and Takeout Consumer Trend Report, 66% of consumers anticipate continuing to use curbside pickup after dine-in services resume.

This means you should continue fine tuning and promoting them—keep at it with push notifications, direct mail advertisements, social media promotions and more to ensure your customers know your off-premise services are still available. By continuing to invest in the service that got many restaurants through the pandemic, you will be able to thrive in the future.

Meeting safety needs and speeding up orders


Offering curbside pickup and contactless options helps ensure the safety of both customers and staff alike. Curbside pickup gives your customers the opportunity to order their favorite foods and pick them up without ever coming into contact with any of your staff. Contactless services, including ordering (online or via an app) as well as delivery and pickup, also help keep your staff safe. And, by eliminating touch points between customers and your staff, you can reduce the spread of germs—a benefit that will last outside the pandemic.

Contactless delivery and pickup can also help you give customers faster service and improve operational efficiencies. When your staff doesn’t have to wait for customers to answer their doors for delivery or fetch an order from the kitchen for pickup, you streamline services and get food out more quickly.

Overcoming logistical challenges


Restaurants that offer takeout and delivery already know that sometimes it can be a logistical mess trying to get orders out to the right customers at the right times. That’s why being able to use technology to streamline orders is so crucial—pandemic or not.

Using specialized technology to sort orders according to how they’re placed and by when they’ll need to be picked up can help. First that can minimize the number of people crowding in a restaurant’s entryway and can also ensure that the right order is handed off or set aside. This also helps boost customer satisfaction with more accurate orders. Giving your customers the option to order online or with a digital menu using a QR code can be beneficial for streamlining orders. This also helps eliminate customers crowding at the cash register or near the host’s stand where they might otherwise be looking at a physical menu.

Adapt with the right technology


With last year’s near-constant challenges, technology has become available to help streamline operations such as online ordering and contactless pickup. The innovations may be the help some restaurant owners and operators need to keep making adjustments and in ways that may benefit operations well into the future.

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This post was originally published on Restaurant Business Online. Find it here.

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