Food is something that has always brought people together. It is the one thing everyone enjoys. On a normal day, restaurants would be full of people. Not a single one empty. But many things have changed since the pandemic hit. The food and drink industry was one of the most affected. One in six restaurants, which is nearly over 100,000 restaurants, closed. Either permanently or for an unpredictable long time.
And it wasn’t just small businesses that were affected. Many famous and notable establishments also closed down.
But the pandemic wasn’t all bad for the food and drink industry. As the saying goes, with every challenge comes opportunity. Some entrepreneurs saw the pandemic as an opportunity for their businesses to thrive. Suppose you want to know how your business can survive during the pandemic. Here’s what you can do:
Follow CDC guidelines
Your number one priority should be keeping yourself, employees, and customers safe. To do so, you must follow CDC guidelines. Suppose you plan on keeping your brick-and-mortar establishment open. Remember to promote social distancing, sanitize often, and have a no mask no entry policy. Space tables at least six feet apart. Provide physical barriers between customers who want to share tables. This is important if you are in an enclosed area without enough ventilation.
Make sure to have sanitizers and temperature checks at your entrance. And provide sanitizers on each table as well. Every employee must wear proper PPEs and must sanitize often. As long as you follow the CDC’s guidelines, you can lessen the spread of the virus and keep your business running.
Expand or adjust products and services
Things are different nowadays, so you can expect that people’s wants and needs will also change. And when things change, there is only one way to survive, by adapting. If you are unsure of what you should change in your business, you can always conduct market research. This will give you a better idea of what customers expect or want from a business. Then, you can adjust your business accordingly. For example, instead of offering dine-in services, provide take-out and delivery services.
You could also adjust your menu and the products you sell if you need other sources of income. Aside from selling your already cooked meals, why not sell uncooked meals as well? This can be a great way for you to get rid of excess ingredients that aren’t being used. It can be sold in the form of a recipe pack. It’ll be fun for the customers because they can try to recreate your meals in the safety of their own homes.
Another way you can earn extra income is by selling the ingredients you use in your meals. Turn them into a stand-alone product. If you have any special spices or sauces that you use in your meals, you can sell them and let people enjoy them at home. You have to be creative.
Target loyal customers
If you have grown a following before the pandemic, it would be a good idea to target these customers instead of targeting new customers right away. You have a greater chance of making sales if you target loyal customers that already love your food. Always engage with your customers and send them updates about your restaurant. Build a strong relationship with them so that you gain their trust. Then they will continue ordering food from you even during the pandemic. It is also likely that they will refer you to their friends.
Get help from the government
If you need any financial help for your business, the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has plenty of relief options you can apply for.
Take advantage of technology
Digital marketing has plenty of advantages compared to traditional marketing. You can reach more customers through digital marketing. And it is much cheaper than traditional marketing too. Technology can also make transactions easier for you and your customers. Offer digital payment platforms. Create a user-friendly website or page. Allow customers to order online. This not only makes transactions easier but safer too.
With fewer customers and reduced profits, you need to cut as many expenses as you can. You can do so in several ways. Start by cutting out unpopular items from your menu. If you have a weak item on your menu, you should stop offering it. It’ll only be a waste of supplies and ingredients to keep it on your menu if only a few people order it. Another way to cut costs is to let go of your traditional brick-and-mortar setup. Go digital and create your meals at home. Or switch to a food truck if possible. Food trucks are much cheaper to maintain than an actual restaurant. They also have been doing well during the pandemic due to their mobility.
The only way you are going to survive this pandemic is if you learn to adapt. It will be difficult, but it is not impossible. Learn to see it as an opportunity rather than a challenge.