Restaurant Marketing during COVID-19

Times are tough for businesses. But running a restaurant is tough business.

The global coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and eat. We’re sheltering in place, the meetings that should have been emails are now video calls and everyone has taken to getting creative in the kitchen, or at the very least, cooking up what they can.

We didn’t see it coming and we don’t know what the future holds. The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it tremendous uncertainty.

These changes are necessary, but they have hit one industry particularly hard — hospitality.

It’s taken a massive toll on restaurants in particular. Depending on which part of the world your restaurant is, you may or may not be operational based on the govt guidelines of your country. And even if you are open for business, you would only be able to provide your customers with kerbside pickup, takeaway or delivery options.

For a majority of restaurants, zero walk-ins and only takeaway and delivery options is uncharted territory. But that also means undiscovered opportunities to not just survive, but thrive. Our current times are by no means a great situation — but there is a silver lining. As counter intuitive as it may seem, now is the perfect time to promote your restaurant to potential customers in your area by advertising online. Why?

Advertising Costs Have Been Cut

Over half the restaurants that were advertising have decided to close down. While that is unfortunate, it also means advertising for your restaurant will be cheaper. This is because ad platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google all work on a bidding system. As the number of similar businesses advertising to the same audience goes up, so does the price of each ad. With a large chunk of your competition no longer bidding, the cost for ads have dropped significantly.

Whether you are an advertiser or not, this is a great opportunity to reach your customers at a discounted price. And remember, even though your competitors are away, the number of customers who still want to eat remains the same. Which brings us to the next point…

Your Customers Are Online…And They’re Hungry

With social distancing measures in place, most people are spending their time indoors online, especially on social networks. So your target audience is where you need them to be, and they’re paying attention. While some finally have the time and inclination to don their home chef hat, others are simply tired of cooking for themselves in these trying times (and having to eat what they’ve cooked. All of it.) So, if despite all the odds stacked against you, your restaurant is still able to serve up a delicious meal, then this is far more than a business opportunity, it’s a way to serve your local community.

So, What Do You Do?

Well, the most effective plan of action would depend on your current level of functionality, area, and safety measures in place, but here are some basic steps that any restaurant can take:

As a restaurant business or owner looking to advertise, both Facebook and Instagram are excellent options to increase brand awareness and let customers know that you’re open. In our present scenario, most people simply assume that a restaurant is closed — and would have ordered if they knew you could deliver.

Now, if you are a restaurant who is taking orders via phone, you’re probably short-staffed as it is.You could easily use a messenger bot to automate the ordering process instead to instantly save time and reduce operating burdens while being available to your customers.

reward program chatbot

Plus you could also get creative and provide a discount or a free side to all the customers who saw your ad by driving them to your messenger bot. maximizing your returns on advertising.

These are just a few ideas, but they’re enough to start getting the word out there and the orders coming in. There’s plenty more where those came from (aka our expert marketing team at Chatveda).

If you’d really like to give your restaurant a fighting chance amidst this Covid-19 pandemic, have a conversation with us at m.me/chatveda or drop a mail to nikesh@chatveda.com. My team and I would love to chat and if possible help you through this.

As tempting as it may be, don’t give up. Take advantage of the opportunities around you. Life’s given the lemons, let us help you set up your lemonade stall.

Nikesh Ghosh

Nikesh Ghosh
Co-founder, Chatveda

Marketing Enthusiast & Coffee Lover ☕
Helping businesses grow through strategic chat marketing practices.
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