In this season, it's more apparent that restaurants, cafes and other dine-ins need to change their way of operations. Besides beefing up safety and health regulations to create a safer place for the employees and customers, restaurants need to come up with creative ways to stay afloat during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
These are some proactive measures restaurants can do right now:
1. Implement Delivery or Pick Up Service
The quickest way to still stay in business is to offer delivery or pick up services to your customers. There are a few ways of doing delivery to your customers, whether to partner with a third party delivery service platform like Grab Food or delivering the food to them directly. Bear in mind the pros and cons of it either way; as the competition is high (as there are other restaurants or eateries featured on the same platform) and the cost of partnering (about 30%-35% of your revenue) for something like Grab Food versus cost of manpower and overhead costs (including insurance, fuel etc) for in-house delivery services.
The other option would be to offer a convenient and inexpensive delivery mechanism where customers can pick up. Curb side pickup where consumer do not leave the car or contactless handoff where customers are able to pickup from a shelf instead of a person. With this, you are able to adhere to the rules of social distancing and creating a safe space for customers which creates trust.
PRO-TIP: Take advantage of your loyal customers by creating a win-win situation for them to support you in this crucial time. If you already have a website that is online order capable, let them know! Utilise all your customer communication touch points like Facebook, Instagram, SMS, Email newsletters to let them know WHAT and WHEN you are serving and HOW. The more you are able to reach customers directly, the better you can influence their behaviour. (Case Study on how myBurgerLab implemented their pre-order and pick up service HERE)
2. Go Cashless
To create a safer environment for employees and customers, restaurants and eateries should move to accepting credit cards and touchless mobile payment. With so many E-wallets in the market, one can partner with any of them for a seamless customer and operations experience. It will also be easier to track your sales and reduce the chance of fraud.
PRO-TIP: Another option would be to add an E-wallet to your loyalty app for a better customer experience and increase the stickiness of customers to your brand.
3. Promote Digital Vouchers & Gift Cards
Provide gift cards or discount vouchers as an opportunity for customers to show support. Create these in digital format so that customers can buy these in advance and save them for later use or to pass it to their friends and family. Make sure to set a year till expiry so that customers can use them in-store once MCO is lifted.
PRO-TIP: Encourage & partner with your customers to support the front liners or those that are affected by this pandemic by offering an option to donate meals in this time of need. There are more people who are more than willing to give than you realise; you just need to provide them with a convenient and easy way to do so.
BONUS PRO-TIP: In order to space out the influx of customers once the MCO is lifted or relaxed, why not create an e-voucher that works like an investment for the customers? By placing an incremental amount to the e-voucher when it's only used much later, it works to dissipate the mount of customers to your restaurant over a few months of time. Add in reminders for the customers via all your platforms, ie push notifications on your loyalty app, social media platforms, e-newsletters or SMS to make sure your customers are informed. Click HERE to check out how myBurgerLab has done it, explaining why they are doing it and how their loyal customers can partner with them.
4. Extend Reward Redemptions
Be sure to notify your loyal customers about the extension of their reward redemptions for their hard earned points. This proactive accommodation not only acknowledges your customer's need before they ask, but this will earn trust. Trust is built through customer's interaction with your brand and it is priceless as it creates loyalty. The extension of reward redemptions also help ease the burden on your manpower and allows for the following:
- To spread out the crowds for redemptions when store reopens.
- To win customers, giving them the ease of mind that their vouchers are usable & valid for use until end of year.
- For ease of communications especially the frontline support team.
PRO-TIP: Building trust during a "slow" or "downtime" is vital as you are able to garner loyalty in preparation for the upswing in the market. When MCO is lifted, customers will want to utilise their rewards. Businesses that invested through the downturn experiences 20% higher profitability in market share, longevity and brand awareness after a downswing.
5. Communicate Clearly & Regularly
Effective Communication is all about conveying the message to people clearly and unambiguously. It is important to share the specific precautions that the restaurant has undertaken in light of the Coronavirus as regularly as possible to reflect updates coming from the governing bodies to ensure customer and employee's trust in the brand.
PRO-TIP: Be as authentic and transparent as possible so that customers and employees are able to understand your perspective and position as a business. This creates better connection with your customers and employees. The following are some examples that myBurgerlab has been constantly doing since the start of MCO which includes sharing publicly how they are doing as a business and their strategies to rally their customer's support.
A follow up post on their previous update on how they are going to run their business by breaking even, not to make profits. This just goes to show that there is accountability towards the public and their customers on how they are achieving their goals.
They also have been really transparent about their costs, down to showing how much profits they are making per burger.
Being authentic and clear in their messaging when they launched their "MBL AT HOME" kit, which includes the quantity being sold and tips to how you can prepare them.
This update was made when myBurgerLab innovated to serve breakfast in order to increase their orders in a day to reach their breakeven goal as the MCO restrictions limits affect their dinner time orders.
If you are looking for assistance in setting up an E-wallet, online E-commerce store for pre-orders or to invest in a digital transformation to prepare for the upswing in the market when MCO is lifted call or WhatsApp us at +6018 - 9722 620.
Here's an infographic created to summarise the key points mentioned above.