The COVID-19 crisis has changed many aspects of life around the world. One big change is how the restaurant and bar industry functions. While many areas have lightened indoor capacity restrictions, customer patterns and industry standards have changed for the foreseeable future.
Luckily, there are plenty of options to help keep restaurants afloat. And of course, some of these opportunities can provide COVID-19 financing relief for restaurants. Beyond that, restaurants and bars can transition to a takeout model to keep revenue streaming in. Many loyal customers are looking to support their favorite restaurants in any way they can, including ordering from their takeout menus.
How to Keep Taking Orders for Your Restaurant or Bar
Discover some of the best ways to continue serving your customers during these uncertain times.
Use Your Current Take-Out Menu or Create A New One
If your business already has a to-go menu, you’re ahead of the game. However, your business may need to modify your current menu or build an entirely new one to suit the times.
Consider what your business’ customers are looking for in a takeout dish right now. Many want to support their favorite restaurants but need food that will last for more than a day. Keep the needs of your customers in mind as you create your restaurant menu.
Although some customers may be willing to drive to your restaurant, many may not be able to leave the house. If some of your customers are in isolation, consider offering delivery directly to their door. That way, your business can provide them with the comfort of their favorite takeout without jeopardizing anyone’s health.
Double Check the Orders
Mistakes are bound to happen as your business transitions to a takeout-only model. Although it’s completely understandable for mistakes to happen, it can be frustrating for the customer to realize they have a botched order after they’ve made it home.
To prevent mistakes, consider double-checking all of your takeout meals before they head out the door. Your restaurant can prevent a headache for your customers and ensure they continue to come back for your excellent service.
Set Up Your Delivery Method for Success
When a meal has to make it from your kitchen to someone’s table across town, it’s important to prepare for bumps along the way. Consider that your food will need to make it through a gauntlet of delivery issues before making it to its final destination.
As you package your restaurant’s to-go orders, consider separating hot and cold items into different bags. Also, think about packaging your sauces in tightly sealed containers so that they don’t ruin the entire meal with a spill.
With these precautions, your business can avoid a less than optimal customer experience.
Let Your Followers Know That You’re Open for Business
Many loyal customers will be happy to support your business during this difficult time. However, they may not be aware that you’re serving a takeout menu unless you let them know.
Make sure to get the word out to your following that you’re maintaining a takeout menu. Publicize the details and share how patrons can pick up their food or have it delivered directly to their door. You might be surprised at how generous your community of faithful patrons can be.
Of course, times are tight for many people in our country, but so many are ready and willing to help their favorite restaurants survive.
Consider Financing Relief for Restaurants and Bars
Although your loyal customers will likely do their best to support your business, it may not be enough to keep your operations running smoothly.
With uncertainty hanging in the air, it might be time to consider applying for small business financing. Your business can use these funds to stay afloat as COVID-19 continues to unfold.
Take Advantage of Free Resources
As business owners grapple with the effects of COVID-19, many resources have been made available for free. A few of those include free learning courses to improve your businesses through LinkedIn and free social media scheduling help from Hootsuite.
Sell Gift Cards Online
If you’re struggling to provide profitable services to your customers, consider offering online products. You can take this opportunity to sell gift cards for a meal in the future. The money can help your business get through the next few months, but your customers do not need to order food if they are uncomfortable.
Consider a Merchant Cash Advance
A merchant cash advance is a type of short-term alternative business financing that allows small businesses such as bars and restaurants to leverage their future credit card receivables for working capital.
Funding with a merchant cash advance works by giving businesses upfront access to a lump sum of cash in return for a percentage of their future daily sales at a discounted price. This allows the payment timeline to be tailored to the flow of business sales. This is a great option for restaurants and bars with high credit card sales.
Unlike traditional small business financing, merchant cash advances are a purchase and sale transaction. This allows businesses to use merchant cash advances for pretty much any business expense. Seasonal costs, business expansion, equipment repairs, cash flow gaps — the list goes on!
Not only are merchant cash advances more flexible, but they’re also a more lenient form of funding. This makes them a great option for businesses in need of a cash influx with little time or those struggling to obtain funding due to the impact of Covid-19 on their business.
Invest in a Line of Credit
A small business line of credit is a flexible funding tool that allows access to a predetermined amount of working capital. Essentially, you can borrow money when you need it and pay back only what you draw on the line of credit.
This is a great option for restaurants that need to overcome gaps in cash flow due to slow seasons, manage payroll, or cover unexpected costs, including those related to Covid-19.
A line of credit allows businesses the convenience of accessing capital as they need it, paying back what they use, and then borrowing again up to the maximum credit amount approved. This continuous and repeated access to funds can help bars and restaurants maintain and grow their business through these tough times.
The Bottom Line
COVID-19 has upended the way businesses run across the country. As a restaurant or bar owner, you might be facing significant challenges. Take the opportunity to pivot your business model to suit the current needs of your customers and employees.