Focusing on customer acquisition now could be key for any business looking to survive and thrive in a post-coronavirus world. Government intervention has closed restaurants and cafes across the country and this has completely changed the landscape of interaction with customers and methods for ensuring that your business can continue to make sales. This has required a major rethink for almost every organisation with a view to adjusting to make the current circumstances work.
Start with the basics
Right now, for most restaurant businesses the most basic question is whether or not it’s possible to offer take away, collection and delivery. This was already a reality for some but may require adjustment to accommodate for others, especially as government guidelines shift. What can your business realistically do and are there services (such as Deliveroo) that might make this easier? The reality is that many customers still want to buy and it may simply be a case of providing a mechanism within which this can happen.
Boost your digital presence
Online is where most of the connections are happening right now and this space could provide an opportunity to start increasing your audience size by connecting with customers of the future. Engaging digital content can build your digital profile and connect you with people who might want to come to your restaurant in real life when that becomes a more feasible option. Everything, from recipes to beautiful images of your food or throw backs to notable moments and events can be a way to create interest.
Use your advertising and marketing wisely
Take advantage of the downturn in marketing messages and advertising by competitors to get your voice heard. You don’t need to go into overdrive with ad and marketing spend but it’s a mistake to bring this to a complete halt. You might find that some advertising and marketing campaigns are now better value as a result of changes in use or that there are opportunities for reaching people that weren’t previously available. Retargeting may be essential – for example, rather than focusing on trying to acquire new customers right now you might find it more beneficial to use your marketing to retarget existing customers who might be interested in a new take away service.
Reach out into your local community
Now is a great time to form links that go wider than just business and customer relationships. What does your community need from you right now and where could you genuinely offer help or relief? Something like supplying food for NHS key workers can create an income stream and also generate a lot of goodwill.
Look for opportunities to engage and incentivise
Being creative in the way that you approach marketing and attracting new customers is essential. Could you incentivise current purchases with discounts or loyalty points or use gifts cards to secure future orders or bookings? It might be useful to shift your offering to take into account the current reality for many, such as offering more family options for people who are working from home and home schooling children at the same time. Promoting bulk orders or discounts or adding new products – such as home cooking kits for the dishes on your menu – could all help to bring new customers to your door.
It’s a tough time for restaurants but there are ways to secure new customers now and in a post-covid world.