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The New Normal for Restaurants Post COVID-19

To stay successful in today's COVID-19 world, restaurants need to rethink how they serve and retain their existing customers and attract new customers in innovative ways. With less foot traffic and a lot of competition, the restaurants that will survive are testing new ways to bring the hospitality that they treasure so deeply to the customers they serve virtually.

The most creative restaurateurs are quickly shifting their business models by developing new product offerings, evaluating incremental revenue channels, and exploring marketing in ways they never needed to in the past.

In the beginning, many restaurants were offering products with limited traditional retail supply like flour, yeast, and toilet paper. Many restaurants now have expanded their menu offerings to include family meal kits (to cook at home), baking kits with online tutorials, and even high-quality meats and fish that you can't find in traditional supermarkets. Once these products are ready, restaurants should then focus on merchandising their eCommerce sites in ways that can anticipate customers' questions, provide hospitality and the restaurant's personality "virtually," and develop strategies and tactics to increase basket size (order size) and order frequency (the times customer's order each month).

Unfortunately, life is not like the "Field of Dreams" and "if you build it, they will come." Restaurants should engage with their customers as traditional eCommerce companies do. They can develop acquisition programs to build awareness of the restaurant, and it's menu offerings, retention programs to keep their existing customers engaged and increase order frequency, and promotional opportunities to incentivize trial or larger order sizes.

While we're all excited for the day when we can enjoy in-restaurant dining, the work that restaurants do now can continue to reap benefits, provide incremental revenue streams, and increase customers' order frequency in the future.

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