Restaurants: How to communicate to your customers during the COVID-19 outbreak

Published March 23, 2020

Dealing with the already fast-paced, day-to-day shuffle of your restaurant business is enough. Add the coronavirus outbreak, and the stress multiplies. Restaurants across the world are experiencing the impact of the outbreak in a variety of ways, from government-mandated shutdowns to consumer resistance to going out in public. 

We want to help you stay informed and connected—and help you do the same for your customers and stakeholders. 

Here are a few ways to communicate during this challenging time. 



Cleaning procedures

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the coronavirus is contagious. So even if you’re delivery- or curbside-only, consider telling your customers how you’re sanitizing your restaurant, kitchen and other areas. Check online for new, recommended cleaning standards and let your customers know about any adjusted cleaning procedures.


Opening hours

Are you open? Are you closed? Curbside delivery only? Let your customers know. Even if you haven’t sent out an email before, this is the time to communicate the hours that you’re open to serve food, and, if you’re delivery only and how to get in touch to order—plus any contactless delivery options


Community care

It’s likely that you have regulars who frequent your restaurant. If you’re looking for ideas to help your local neighbor, consider offers like free delivery to vulnerable populations, for example, if you have that option. Put up signage and add a notification to your online ordering page and mobile app to let your customers know what’s available.


Stay in the know

Social requirements are changing moment-to-moment right now, and it’s important to keep up on any news about regulations. Add information to your social media channels, app, online ordering site and email campaigns. 


Ask for feedback

When you talk to customers, ask them how you can serve them. Ask how you can make this time better, communicate better or establish better service. Consider using your loyalty app, consumer engagement platform and social channels to offer coupons for future service or other rewards for their feedback. 


Communicate clearly

No matter what your usual brand tone is, now is the time to be empathetic but clear in your communications. If you are sending an email about COVID-19 updates, for example, state that in the subject line of your email. 


Help your team communicate, too

Empower your team to find information, help customers, promote the business in creative and on-brand ways, and serve the community as much as possible. Keep them in the know with any information that pertains to them, your restaurant or the community, and make it easy for them to find updates.


Get creative

Some restaurants are offering family-style meals that customers can freeze. Others are creating special limited menus. Still others offer creative ways to engage, such as establishing a wine and cheese hotline so guests can find the best pairings at home. How can you rethink delivery? Your menu? What about healthy, immunity-building options? Highlight any new options in your mobile app, your online ordering site or by email.


Consider offering opportunities to donate

If you have the capacity, and feel it is appropriate, you could offer a place to donate non-perishable goods, or, your perishable excess inventory if you’re temporarily closing, to a local food bank to help servers, bartenders, kitchen staff and others in the community.


Use trusted sources

The CDC and the World Health Organization offer constantly updated information. Using sites like these helps avoid misinformation. 


Count on NCR

NCR is deeply committed to helping you navigate this uncertain and challenging time. Let us know how we can help as you transform your restaurant to address the disruption caused by the pandemic, and be sure to keep checking for updates, guidance and other helpful information.


Coronavirus Response Resources for Restaurants

3 things to consider when pivoting to online ordering

5 ways to fine-tune your drive-thru during COVID-19

5 ways to use social media to connect with loyal customers

A comprehensive list of restaurant industry resources to help you through the pandemic

Beyond takeout and delivery: 3 ways to drive revenue and engage with your customers while your dining room is closed

Cleaning NCR Hardware

Contactless delivery on the rise for European restaurants

Four tips for making contactless delivery work for your restaurant

From one family table to another

How food delivery is transforming around the globe

How physical distancing will influence the future of contactless service

How restaurants and retailers are facing the need for contactless transactions amid coronavirus

How to carry out your restaurant’s curbside service for greater success

“Is it safe to eat at ______ ?”:The most searched restaurant questions on Google and how to answer them

Marketing your restaurant’s takeout and delivery services

Moving your restaurant POS to facilitate curbside operations

Optimizing your menu to simplify off-prem ordering

Reoptimizing your restaurant layout to better support takeout and curbside operations

Restaurants: Frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19

Restaurants: How to communicate to your customers during the COVID-19 outbreak

Restaurants: Positive trends in China

These business owners were determined to help provide relief for people who were out of work

Third-party food delivery and off-premise ordering amid the Coronaviru pandemic

Trusted resources you can lean on to stay informed during COVID-19


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