COVID-19 has negatively impacted the foodservice industry, and, with little foot traffic, restaurant owners have been forced to devise innovative ways to generate revenue and keep their businesses profitable. Understanding this predicament, we’ve compiled a list of five creative ways you can manage the situation in this new year. We hope this acts as an impetus to help get you, your staff, and your business through this challenging situation.
Carry out repairs on restaurant equipment.
Good quality, well-maintained restaurant equipment is essential to your restaurant’s productivity. While restaurant maintenance is not the most exciting part of running a restaurant, it is the most important part of operating a successful restaurant. Failure to regularly service your equipment can lead to expensive repairs down the line, which is why having a schedule for restaurant maintenance is so important.¬†
Compliance with local food safety regulations is key if you want to keep your doors open. Knowing this, having a maintenance checklist for your kitchen equipment is a great way to make sure your restaurant stays in business. For instance, regularly checking your frying equipment is a good way to plan for professional deep cleaning to remove grease and other gunk from your vents and ducts. Inspecting your fire extinguishing system every other week to make sure it works is also another way to make sure you’re prepared, in case of a fire.
If you’re in the Oregon area, repairs for appliances in Bend Oregon are handled by Oregon Appliance Repair. Once you express the need to have your restaurant equipment fixed or serviced, their team will immediately put a factory trained and certified technician in charge of your case. Their technicians are well versed in carrying out all types of appliance repairs (washer repair, refrigerator repair, dryer repair dishwasher repair, or microwave repairs, for example) and are able to accurately assess your broken appliances and find the right solution for you. Once the appliance repairs are done, their team will test your appliance to make sure that it works as it should. As part of their great customer service, they also clean up after themselves.
Sell some of your inventory.
If your restaurant has more inventory than it likely needs (extra fresh produce, soap, toilet paper, bottled water), consider selling this to your customers. COVID-19 has made it difficult for most people to leave their homes. Because of this, many people find themselves in need of fresh produce and other household essentials. To meet this need (and to avoid making losses in expired goods) consider turning your restaurant into a discount type of grocery store. Just like restaurants allow patrons to build their own menu, you can start offering your regular customers bunches of inventory ‘√† la carte’.
You can start small by offering supply packs for in-person pick-up or door to door delivery in the area. Additionally, consider linking your suppliers directly with your customers by leaving their contact information in the supply packs. As an extra treat, throw in the recipe to one of your popular menu items with all the ingredients patrons will need to recreate this favorite dish at home.
As earlier mentioned, one of the industries that have been hard hit by COVID-19 is the foodservice industry. So if you can, plug in your water bottle supplier, for instance. Refer them to your customers so that the next time your patrons Google search “bottled water suppliers near me” they have a go-to source. Who knows, they might even give you a discount on your order next time! Bearing in mind the influx of food delivery options, and be sure to clearly outline your target market.
Consider selling branded merchandise.
One of the most effective ways to keep your restaurant in business is to grow a strong and loyal community that is excited to spread the word about your business and the quality of service offered. Gifts and promotional products are the perfect way to keep your restaurant memorable in your customer‚Äôs minds. Useful promotional products like custom water bottles, custom coffee mugs, travel coffee cups, and promotional mugs are a great place to start and grow from. To add to this, developing a custom design is an excellent way to get a free promo for your restaurant. Custom items, like custom drinkware or mugs, can be a great conversation starter and an almost perfect way for your restaurant to gain traction through word of mouth.
Look for online local community listings.
During the coronavirus pandemic, local food communities have been working double-time to help struggling restaurants. One way through which they have been doing this is by compiling lists of restaurants that are still open for takeout or delivery. This is a great way to gain visibility for your restaurant. To get noticed, check your local newsletter to see if your neighborhood or state has something like this, and find out how you can have your restaurant listed.
Stagger your restaurant’s days of service.
If you’re noticing that the foot traffic to your restaurant is still a bit slow, consider the days when you are busiest. Once you establish these days, purpose to open on just these days, as a start. In this way, you’ll be able to save on your operating costs, while also taking the time to implement some of the tips mentioned earlier on this list.
If you would like more information and resources on COVID-19 from the National Restaurant Association, visit their website. The suggestions offered above have been gleaned from extensive research presented by the FDA, CDC, and WHO. For up to date COVID-19 guidelines, kindly visit their sites as well.