Tomorrow, in the province of Ontario, where Unity Payments is headquartered, many COVID-19 restrictions will officially be lifted. As we noted in our last blog, restaurant owners will no longer be required to adhere to capacity limits or check for proof of vaccination from customers. For many Ontario-based restaurateurs, this comes as very welcome news. Throughout the past two years, they have not been able to operate their businesses normally.
Even with restrictions lifting, it is important for restaurant owners to not simply assume they’ll be able to fill seats. Understandably, many consumers will be hesitant to visit restaurants for dining room experiences. So what can you do to encourage customers to come back to your restaurant?
Revamp your website.
The strength of your restaurant’s online presence has never been more important than it has over the past 24 months. With your eatery having to offer only takeout and delivery options for so long, it has been vital that people could order food directly from your site. Even with restrictions lifting, this will remain important. With a revamped website, you will communicate that your restaurant is thriving. As well, it will encourage people to either visit or continue to order online.
“If you haven’t updated your website to reflect your new policies, now is a great time to let patrons know about how you’ll ensure everyone’s safety,” says Lexie Lu on Bplans.com, “Include a COVID-19 response section that includes a message for your customers, an outline of safety precautions, and updated hours. This is also a great place to include alternative dining options such as delivery or no-touch pickup.”
Beautify the atmosphere.
One huge downside to the pandemic was the taking away of the dining room experience at restaurants. Many people miss the fun of going out to eat. However, it’s wise to not simply have customers return to the atmosphere they were once used to. It’s worthwhile to spruce things up a bit. Make sure your dining area is spotlessly clean, warm and inviting. Make it a place people will want to visit regularly.
According to Smart Web Restaurant, “customers are looking for a clean, warm, inviting space to share a delicious meal. It is your job to deliver that. Dirty bathrooms, kitchens, table areas are a big turnoff to customers. Warm ambient lighting with nicely decorated walls and tables, delicious smells coming from the kitchen, and sparkling clean facilities down to the menus will keep customers coming back for more.”
Has there ever been a time when consumers didn’t want to save money? It never hurts to communicate to your customers that they can take advantage of discounts when eating at your restaurant. As Lu points out, the traditional marketing methods that worked pre-pandemic may work just as well after.
“People are more budget-conscious than ever before,” she writes, “Consumers have turned to more frugal living and building their emergency funds during the shutdown. They want to save money. Offering a discount shows them where they can get the best value. It also displays that you’re sympathetic to their financial situations and looking to support them as they support you.”
With Unity Payments, you can set up your own online ordering system for your restaurant! Set up your menu, make live menu updates, manage inventory, process takeout and delivery requests, schedule pick-ups, create promo codes and more! To get started, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-661-3761 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.