There’s no point in beating around the bush, Covid-19 is making life very difficult for businesses in the hospitality sector.
The latest announcement has banned the general public from leaving their homes unless it’s for a handful of essential reasons so unsurprisingly, a lot of businesses are worrying about the impact it’ll have on sales. But, the good news is the demand for goods is still high.
We’ve all seen the images of baron shelves in supermarkets - the big chains are struggling to keep up with demand, but consumers still need to eat and drink - lockdown or no lockdown, so any hospitality business that can make a quick pivot and re-brand their establishment as a takeaway or delivery service could get their share of this.
Remember, it’s not just your cash flow that needs looking after through the pandemic, but the vulnerable members of society, not to mention the (quite frankly heroic) key workers conducting essential work to keep us all healthy and supported during this unprecedented time.
Thanks to the likes of UberEats, Deliveroo and JustEat, there are plenty of options at your fingertips which make it entirely possible that you and your staff can continue to make money, so we’ve put together a guide to help you seize the opportunity.
Good to know: while this guide is set out to assist hospitality-based businesses, there’s no reason the likes of retail companies or anyone who serves food and drink can’t adapt this to suit their needs.
Let’s get to it - here’s our 9-step guide.
In the face of potentially large-volume deliveries, you want to make your life as easy as possible so you can nail your orders every time.
So, if you currently have a menu packed with variety and options, go back over it and condense these down into a handful of stand-out dishes that can easily be packed up into containers and sent out on the road.
Decide off the bat whether you’ll only allow pick up, or make use of the aforementioned delivery services (UberEats, JustEat, Deliveroo), turn your staff into delivery drivers, or hire one temporarily.
Delivery services will charge a fee for their services but by going down that route you’ll get access to more customers as they already have a loyal following, and you’ll be able to get started pronto.
Naturally, consumers are extremely tense during these uncertain times, so it’s more important than ever to offer a smooth and seamless customer experience and that means knowing exactly where you’re up to with stock so you don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
So, be sure you know exactly how much you’ve got and what and when you’ll need more - and don’t forget your suppliers might be faced with challenges right now too, so keep in regular contact with them throughout.
It might sound like we’re stating the obvious but remember that a lot of businesses are likely to be doing the same thing right now.
Your local wholesalers could be your first port of call if they’re still open. If you’re struggling, consider the less obvious sources like Amazon, or even your local supermarket.
During this health crisis, a lot of businesses have already decided to stop accepting cash payments because of the accompanying risks, and we think it’s a pretty wise move.
So, now’s the time to check your card taking capabilities are up to scratch. Remember as well as using card machines, you can now accept card payments over the phone using a virtual terminal, online with payment gateways, or via email using pay by link.
While people are stuck at home they’ll be turning to your virtual store as their first port of call, so now’s the time to create or update your website so it’s giving across the right first impression.
If you’ve never really needed a site before, check out our beginners guide to creating one for your business, and remember we’ve got a team of developers who’ll be ready to help when it comes to the payments side of things.
Now you’re all set to go with your revised menu, systems and supplies, it’s time to start shouting about your takeaway service.
Use all the tools at your disposal - including SMS, emails and social accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), you need to make it clear exactly what your new offering entails, and it’s always a clever idea to get people over the line by offering promotions.
For more help with it comes to promoting your takeaway check out our comprehensive guide which comes with templates you can tweak to suit your business.
Hitting up your existing customer base is a great place to start, but you also want to get the word out to new ones. Making use of resources like local groups and forums to spread the word is a good idea, and also including hashtags referencing your location across social media should get you noticed by locals on the lookout for a takeaway.
You could even try our Facebook advertising to reach more people. Read our guide here.
If you’ve got the time you could also consider delivering flyers to your local area - Vistaprint are offering 25% off orders of 1,000 at the moment. There’s never been a better time to post something through people’s letterboxes because there’s a very high chance they’ll a) be at home, and b) fancy a break from dried pasta and rice!
Building loyalty is one of the most effective ways to increase consumer engagement and encourage repeat custom, so do your best to boost it by offering a blanket discount on all first-time orders using your takeaway system, and collect names and email addresses while you’re at it.
Once you’ve got your hands on this information you’ll be able to see who your best customers are and send them special offers and discounts, you’ll also be able to let everyone know about new dishes and discounts going forward - after all, we don’t know how long this might go on for.
Remember, we’re here to offer support and do our bit to keep you profitable during this undoubtedly difficult time, so for more help with any of the points raised get in touch on 08082 398172.