4 Ways To Adapt Your Business During Quarantine
While the outbreak of Covid-19 may have forced Irish businesses and restauranteurs to close their doors, we’re here to talk about options available to help you reopen those same doors. Thankfully, there are initiatives in place and options available while quarantine restrictions are being lifted to adapt your restaurant to the current climate, and we’ve listed four things you can do in preparation for a successful re-opening:
Enterprise Ireland’s COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme is available for businesses to enhance their digital research and strategy to equip them with skills needed to operate online. The closing date for grant applications is the 27th of May 2020. More information on this grant can be found here.
The Local Enterprise Office also offers a grant of up to €2,500 for small businesses to help them develop a website or a digital strategy. This grant will aid small businesses to move their trading online to create greater access for customers. More information on this grant can be found here.
Many of you have come up with innovative ways to keep your customers happy and fed, and for most of you, this means providing them with takeaway and/or delivery options. If this is the case with your restaurant, you’ve likely already done so, but if not, condense your menu to include only the most likely-to-sell items. This will also help to drive maximum revenue by saving on ingredients, prep time and equipment needed to cook each dish.
When deciding which items will make the cut on your limited menu of takeaway items, keep in mind that lockdown has sparked an increase in comfort food sales, so avoid complex items and include simple, easy-to-make dishes and sides (think: sandwiches and the like). Remove those items that don’t travel well, and if ever there were a time to part with those less-ordered items from your menu, it’s now.
For those of you who have already pared down their menus or are simply looking to improve their existing menus, the psychology behind menu reading is extensive but can be beneficial to understand, and if you’ve any extra time to spare right now, this is worth the effort. For example, our eyes naturally travel to the middle of the menu first before going to the top right then the top left-hand corner; it is recommended to put the most expensive item in the top right-hand corner. You can also use colour to your advantage and throw in pops of colour to highlight particular dishes. Additionally, using descriptive words for dishes helps communicate with your customer rather than relying on the use of pictures.
Ultimately, take a step back and look at your restaurant’s brand and what it stands for. This will help to decide what the most important aspects of your business are and what you want to highlight, from cost-effective dishes to high-quality ingredients. Keep your brand messaging in mind to ensure this is reflected when shaping your menu
If you’re unable to offer an in-house delivery service or drive-through option, you may want to explore other takeaway delivery companies like Deliveroo, Just Eat, and UberEats. However, for many of you, it’s worth determining whether you can safely and feasibly set up your business for kerbside collection. Set yourself up for success using the following tips:
Encourage customers to place orders online or over the phone, taking payment details and all, to minimise physical contact on collection. Use paint or flow tape to create 2m markings for social distancing of those queuing on collection. If customers must enter the building, allow entry to one (or one household) at a time and use signage to communicate one-way traffic flows. Additionally, use screens to create a barrier between people—especially at the till—and provide hand sanitiser for all upon entry/exit. If space allows, your customers can even remain in the car on collection and wait for staff to safely pop orders straight into the boot.
Remember: the menu is completely within your control, so bolster your margins by including only the most likely-to-sell items. For more products for your takeaway menu, you may view our brochure here or send us a DM on Instagram @ManorFarmFS.
For optimal success, be sure to communicate your new takeaway, delivery, and/or kerbside pickup options to customers not only on your website and email newsletters but also via social media. You may also want to use social media to simply connect with colleagues, customers, and other brands while apart.
If you’re new to social and want to learn a few of the basics, Instagram is a great platform to promote your restaurant, as it is a photo-based platform. Creating simple content keeps the brand name fresh in the consumer’s mind and promotes the look of your restaurant. Instagram is user-friendly to businesses once the basics are mastered. Follow influencers who align with your brand and who post similar content to you. Create a profile bio that links to your webpage and includes a short but concise summary of your brand. Use relevant hashtags to attract more attention to your post, and post stories frequently with snippets of info about your restaurant and top cooking tips to keep customer interest. Food photography can be done on any phone and is a great way to generate online content. Easy photography tips include taking photos under natural light, using a neutral background, and creating a story to the image using props and additional background items, such as cutlery, books, and raw ingredients.
Overall, restructuring your business can seem daunting, but now is the perfect time to take the leap in order to adapt to this new landscape. Social media platforms can be extremely useful for businesses to communicate with consumers and strengthen their brand, while grants are available to help move businesses online. And, if you have any questions, we’re here to help as best we can, so please do not hesitate to reach out.