COVID-19 has shifted the world as we know it, and restaurants need to adapt with it in order to keep thriving. While dine-in options have been greatly limited due to COVID -19, the restaurant industry still has a large number of customers who would rather order out than make food at home. As we enter 2021 with the pandemic still in full swing, now is the perfect time to accommodate these customers and revamp your restaurant’s online marketing strategies with IH Concepts.
What We Know
The pandemic has dealt a critical blow to the restaurant industry over the last year. It’s predicted that 33% of restaurants in Wisconsin could close due to COVID. Of the restaurants that will stay open, it’s predicted that 68% of them will fail to return to pre-pandemic sales. To keep moving forward and boosting sales, we think it’s important to provide what customers want: easy online ordering and simple delivery / pickup options.
Online Ordering & Delivery is the Future
While dining-in at restaurants may be declining due to the pandemic, delivery and pickup food options are still readily available for customers. The shift towards more delivery options in the restaurant industry is nothing new; even before the pandemic we found that digital ordering and delivery had grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. Delivery is an incredibly convenient option for people who don’t have the time to cook, and to keep these customers coming back for more, ordering should be as easy as 1-2-3. That’s where an easy-to-use website comes in.
While there are plenty of 3rd party businesses that will deliver food from all restaurants (Eat Street, Door Dash, etc), 70% of consumers say they’d rather order directly from a restaurant, so all of the money goes to the business. Of these consumers, 45% said that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often. Repeat customers keep restaurants thriving, so it is important to listen to what these customers want: online ordering. We found that customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.
Benefits of an Effective Website
To set-up easy online ordering for customers, you’ll need an effective and mobile friendly website. While the main draw of a website for a restaurant is online ordering, there added perks as well. Effective websites are able to retain and draw in new customers. This can be with various promotions or deals on the website, along with the history of your business as well. Effective websites can also be linked to social media, so customers can easily find you and follow your social media pages. Once they have you on social media, it will be easier for customers to connect with you, and they will see the posts you create. With your website, you can also provide customers with updated COVID -19 information and business hours. As the situation is changing every day with the pandemic, having a space to update customers with business hours and updated safety precautions you are taking will keep them in the loop. Even after the pandemic has finished, all of these benefits from a carefully crafted website will be essential to boosting your business.
Show Your Safety Precautions
While we are all looking forward to being done with the pandemic, at the moment we need to focus on making sure that we keep everyone safe, staff and customers included. To make sure customers know you are doing everything you can to keep them safe, we recommend showing your safety precautions. Whether this be with signs at your business, or a post on your website showing what you are doing to prevent the spread of COVID -19, this goes a long way to making sure your customers feel safe.
Some examples of safety precautions include making face masks mandatory at your business and having hand sanitizer readily available in the building. Some other ideas are: completing temperature checks on all employees as they come in for the day, using antimicrobial treatment on heavily touched surfaces, and using an air scrubber in your restaurant to help keep the area clean. As you decide on the best precautions to keep everyone safe, keep your customer and staff members in mind. For example, you might give employees the choice of frequently applying hand sanitizer or frequently washing their hands with soap and water for 30 seconds.
Keeping customers coming back is essential to making a restaurant thrive. If you create an easy-to-use and mobile friendly website, your restaurant will streamline the ordering process and make ordering convenient for your customers. While running a business in a pandemic has its challenges, a responsive website will help level the playing field.