By: Kim Lorang
Over the last few weeks, restaurant owners, as well as their staff and patrons, have been rejoicing as indoor dining bans have slowly begun lifting.
It is hard to believe that we have been living with COVID for nearly a year now, and the world cannot wait to feel a sense of normalcy again.
For so many, that means being able to meet friends and family at their favorite restaurants to enjoy a meal! More importantly, it means hard-working restaurant employees and owners can operate as they did pre-COVID, with no restrictions.
While many safety precautions still need to be taken, being able to re-open indoor dining, even at a limited capacity, is something to celebrate!
When you're ready to bring patrons back into your dining room, ensuring you have a solid marketing plan in place is crucial so you can let people know you're ready to serve them.
Here are some tips for marketing your location as open for indoor dining:
Social Media: Leading up to opening, be sure to post all of the details on social media! Let people know when you'll be opening, what your hours will be, and what specials (if any) you'll be offering. Be sure to let people know what safety precautions you are taking to ensure a safe dining experience!
Email Blast: If you have an email list, be sure to send a campaign about when you will reopen for indoor dining, including the same details stated above. Consider offering a special discount or promotion for your email list that they can use when they visit.
Third Party Updates: Be sure to update any third party reservation and delivery profiles, as well as sites like Google or Yelp, to reflect that you are open for indoor dining and what your hours of operation are.
Website: In addition to updating your website's information, consider using this time to make some slight tweaks! Ensure the menu listed on your site is correct. Add some new reviews that specifically talk about great experiences people have had with you during COVID, and consider writing a thank you message to the patrons that supported you during this hard time. Share information on what you're doing to keep your staff and guests safe, as well as what any future plans might be.
Local Partnerships: Reach out to other businesses and ask them to share the news about your re-opening on their social channels! Encourage people that visit to tag you on social media to gain as much exposure as possible.
Local Directories: Many cities/towns send monthly newsletters to residents and list local businesses on their website. Contact your Village Hall to see if they have such listings, and ensure they update to show your current hours and dining options.
Since many areas are still requiring restaurants to limit their capacity, it is important you still regularly market your other dining options, such as carryout, outdoor seating, and gift card sales!
For tips on re-opening your restaurant, check out these resources:
5 Ways to Prepare Your Restaurant for Reopening After the Coronavirus Pandemic
Slow the Spread- Handwashing Tips for the Foodservice Industry
COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Timeline: How Your Restaurant Can Prepare
Reopening a Commercial Kitchen After COVID-19 Closures