Making the Most of Your Restaurant During COVID-19

While your business may have endured a few bumps due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states are beginning to ease their restrictions regarding outdoor seating. At the same time, some restaurants are realizing that offering delivery and curbside pickup has given them a brand new way to make a profit.

Even so, you may feel that as a restaurateur you’ve got your work cut out for you when it comes to adapting amid COVID-19. It’s hard to find actionable strategies to keep your business afloat, not to mention the fact that restaurants already operate on razor-thin margins. That being said, there are some ways to make the most of this challenging time. Here are a few tips to keep your business running strong.

Get social

Stay-at-home orders and a staggering unemployment rate have more and more people spending their time online. This means your social media marketing campaigns are more important now than ever. Social media campaigns have an incredibly high return on investment in “normal conditions,” and doubling down in your marketing efforts can result in a much higher number of sales for your restaurants.

Thankfully, restaurants are bursting with easy opportunities for social media content. Sharing different photos of your menu items each day can really sway people’s minds when they start to think about lunch or dinner. If you have a special promotion going on, it’d be a good idea to include some information as well as photos. Including photos that illustrate the safety measures your staff is taking can also give people the peace of mind necessary to order from you.

Deliver alcohol and other sundries

One way that many restaurants are starting to make ends meet is by expanding the sorts of items they’ll deliver. If you have a good beverage distributor, you may want to figure out ways to leverage that relationship and offer your customers DIY cocktail kits or deals on other alcoholic beverages, too. You might even want to consider offering happy hour deals in specific delivery windows for anyone looking to save some money but still support your restaurant.

Some restaurants have even started selling in-demand grocery items as a way to make the most out of their existing inventory. Bakeries have been selling specialty ingredients and flours in addition to their usual cakes, cookies, and pastries, and other restaurants have followed suit by offering up what they can, too. By thinking creatively, you may be able to maximize the profitability of your inventory and the other items you can get from your distributors.

Outsource job duties to cut costs while prioritizing your staff

Many restaurants are using whatever staff they have to manage deliveries and incoming take-out orders. While it’s true that services like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Doordash all let you use their service to handle food delivery, you may prefer to get the extra help from existing employees with cars or bicycles in order to manage demand and make as much profit as possible. One way to make room for these sorts of new responsibilities is to outsource the other aspects of their job to another service. This can go a long way in reducing your costs and their workload, ultimately making it easier to serve your existing team.

For example, instead of your managers handling payroll, you may want to look into outsourced accounting firms to handle your finances. This can make it easier to let your managers handle the day-to-day needs of your team and restaurant in the face of changing guidelines from the city, state, and federal government, rather than getting bogged down by the restaurant’s finances and accounting.

Outsourcing your accounting services also allows you to expand the amount of financial data surrounding your restaurant, allowing you to make much stronger decisions based on this kind of information. For example, having a third-party service can mean not waiting for a month to get analytics about your restaurant’s performance and finances, allowing you to budget more effectively and make decisions in the moment. Remaining agile is a must in this uncertain economy, and with a team of expert accountants on your side to advise you as you weigh difficult options, you’ll be able to move with the speed and care necessary to keep your restaurant going strong well after the pandemic.

Layla King


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