All around the world, restaurants, venues, and catering companies are feeling the negative effects of the spreading coronavirus. With many cities banning large public gatherings and encouraging social distancing, even unaffected areas are experiencing a downturn in events and dining out.
We’re offering a webinar with more tips on adjusting to the current climate of the events business and Tripleseat tools you can use to stay ahead of the game. Register for Adapting Your Business to Change with Tripleseat here — the webinar will be held at 1 pm EST every Wednesday starting on March 18.
Since the coronavirus situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, we’ve put together some ideas that you can use to keep business on track in the coming weeks.
1. Offer discounts
Many businesses turn to this tried-and-true method for driving business during tough times. If you’re a restaurant or a catering service, consider offering a discount or running a special to incentivize folks to dine or book with you. You could offer this to your entire customer base, or even target only past customers to encourage repeat business.
2. Promote your delivery service or delivery partner
If your restaurant offers its own delivery service or partners with a company like GrubHub or UberEats, this is the time to play up those offerings. Send out emails and make social posts letting people know that they can order your food in if they’re not comfortable dining out.
3. Accept call-in or web orders
Whether or not you typically take call-in orders, now might be a good time to focus on that service. Make sure your menu is easy to find online, and then use social media and email to remind customers that they can place orders online or via phone. This allows your customers to pick up their meal and eat from the comfort of their own home.
4. Offer assurance
Even the most spotless restaurants and venues are upping their disinfectant usage as a result of the coronavirus. Now is a great time to reassure customers that you are taking all possible precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Let your customers know that you are deep cleaning your space daily, enforcing frequent and thorough handwashing among employees and guests, making sure that any sick employees stay at home and closely monitoring the situation.
5. Allow rescheduling
Even if your venue typically has a strict policy about rescheduling, you might be able to save some business by loosening those rules. If a guest asks to cancel an event at your venue or with your catering service, encourage them to reschedule for a later date at no additional cost.
6. Go cashless
Take a page from Manifesto Market’s book and consider going cashless until the coronavirus situation is under control. Paper money is notoriously dirty, so eliminating it from your restaurant from the time being may help protect both guests and employees.
7. Push gift cards
Many of your loyal guests care about your restaurant or venue’s long-term survival. For customers who are looking for ways to support local business but aren’t comfortable dining out or attending events, encourage them to purchase gift cards now for later use. This will keep money flowing at your business even as people are dining out less.