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.
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 premises, restaurant pos systems, kitchen and other areas. Check online for new, recommended cleaning standards and let your customers know about any adjusted cleaning procedures.
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.
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.
Social requirements are changing moment-to-moment right now, and it’s important to keep up on any news about regulations—in fact, Yelp is now going to display customer feedback about how well each restaurant is observing them. So, add information to your social media channels, app, online ordering site and email campaigns about your efforts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The CDC and the World Health Organization offer constantly updated information. Using sites like these helps avoid misinformation.
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 NCR.com/coronavirus for updates, guidance and other helpful information.