Two Ways COVID-19 May Be Advantageous for Restaurants
As news of the novel COVID-19 swept the country and restaurants were ordered to close their dining rooms, restaurant owners were forced to quickly pivot in order to stay afloat.
The nation watched as many of America’s restaurants made a miraculous shift almost overnight, altering operations to serve their customers through carryout and delivery.
While the current situation is dire for almost all restaurants, our team of restaurant branding experts has identified a couple of key points of positivity that may bring the smallest amount of light to what seemingly may be one of the darkest moments in time.
Restaurants Have the Opportunity to Build To-Go and Delivery Operations
Let’s consider this. Mostly every restaurant that has survived the initial gut punch that COVID-19 served up is now running a robust takeout and delivery program.
Although the gift of time was not necessarily dished out as a premium side item, restaurants had to face what may have been the next big do-or-die for the industry. If not forced into it, it’s unlikely that a restaurant owner would have been able to take the necessary time to fully and properly develop a structure for delivery and takeout. Running the restaurant on all cylinders was simply enough to overfill their schedules.
Not only have restaurants been forced to pause in-house dining and shift to delivery and takeout, but we’ve watched in amazement as restaurant owners have crafted new offerings for their programs, such as family meals and to-go cocktails, in order to adapt. We venture to say that these new offerings may have remained a distant dream if not for COVID-19.
Prior to COVID-19, Upserve.com noted that “60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week.”
As 2020 was building, the restaurant industry was calling for innovation and convenience through takeout and delivery. We saw this in the recently evolving trends of ghost kitchens and delivery-only concepts. In the coming months, there’s no telling what would have been required of restaurants to thrive in this space. Now, many restaurants that may have died out due to the lack of innovation in takeout and delivery, will survive and thrive.
This focus on a new segment will not only preserve the restaurant’s viability during times of uncertainty, but it will also ensure that they have the tools necessary to stay relevant when the world comes back to their dining rooms.
And, when America comes back to dining rooms, there’s going to be an added revenue stream that’s pouring in like a bachelorette party at brunch.
To-Go and Delivery Will Bring an Added Revenue Stream
The income stream that comes from delivery and takeout now, while dining rooms are closed, may or may not provide what’s necessary to stay operational. However, when the market returns and America starts eating out again, this will be an additional source of income that will require very little time or investment.
If perfected during this time, when restaurants are being forced into the model, and in-house dining stress has halted, delivery and takeout will simply be a service that is up and running, providing an added layer of revenue to the original stream.
Restaurants will be able to potentially double or triple revenue as soon as the dust of this terrible COVID-19 virus settles — and that’s positive.
Right now is the time to perfect your takeout and delivery offerings, systems, operations, and restaurant branding. Stay focused. Spend time here and now, by testing, tweaking, modifying, and perfecting your system so that this can be running like a well-oiled machine when the guests begin arriving again.
Also, be forward-thinking. Even now, consider how you can maintain this service offering on top of your regular dine-in business. And take the time to work through any potential kinks that may arise as you bring back in-house dining.
Keep in mind that, right now, you have a unique opportunity. Your brand and food is going out into the wild more than it ever has before. In the coming weeks, your food will be sitting on more dining tables than ever. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with consumers to make them customers for life. We’ve compiled a quick guide on how to leverage your brand to make takeout and delivery connections with customers in this time.
Our charge to restaurant owners everywhere is, first, a huge pat on the back and a hug for all they have been through. Next, we offer the humble advice to keep innovating and perfecting their takeout and delivery program during this time, because who knows how long the stress of dine-in will be at bay — hopefully not long.
After all, when we come back to your dining room, what you are building now will be a revenue stream that will come as a layer to previous sales. If diligence is dished out at this time, your future will be improved and potentially surpass your sales goals for 2020.
We understand that these are tough times, but we know that our clients and other restaurants out there will prevail. We encourage you to push through, and if you can, consider this time an investment in great things to come for your restaurant.