Coronavirus continues to make things very difficult for small businesses across the UK, and we totally understand it’s still a very confusing and concerning time for everybody.
With a second lockdown coming into place in England, a 5 tier system in Scotland, lockdown in Northern Ireland and a firebreak in Wales, it's more important than ever to make sure your business is prepared to continue operating. If you don't already, a takeaway service is becoming an obvious option for many hospitality companies to keep cash flowing during the disruption.
But how do you go about promoting your takeaway offer? In this article, we’ve got everything you’ll need to hit the ground running and help keep the effects of Covid-19 to a minimum.
You want to let existing and prospective customers know you’re still open for business and offering a takeaway service, so the first thing you’ll need to do is create a message that tells consumers everything they’ll need to know including:
Of course, this will vary massively from company to company and sector to sector, but what’s important is to make it clear to anyone reading what it is they’ll be getting from your takeaway service.
It might be a condensed version of your restaurant menu, a box of fresh fruit and veg, or goods from your store delivered to their door, but work out the finer details while creating your message so everyone knows what to expect.
Are you prepared to offer a delivery service or will your takeaway be collection-only*? It’s important to work this out before you begin promoting your service.
Do you have the time to hit the road and take your goods to your customers? Would you need to hire a delivery driver? Is there a limit on how many deliveries you’d be able to make in a day? It’s super important to answer all these questions before you offer delivery so a) you don’t bite off more than you can chew, and b) customers aren’t left disappointed.
*During the immediate period of temporary ‘lock-down’ it might be that you stick with takeaway only until the public is granted a little more freedom to travel again.
Naturally, everyone’s quite worried about the impact this virus will have on their bank account, so you want to do everything in your power to encourage consumers to continue purchasing from you.
A takeaway service is a great start, but to really push consumers over the line running a promotion is another useful tactic. Firstly, work out what percentage discount you’re willing and able to offer - it’s important you don’t leave yourself out of pocket here. Ideas for promotions include:
Top tip: if you’re in the food and drink sector it’s a good idea to offer discounts on items that are nearing their expiry date so you don’t end up having to throw stock away.
Next up you need to decide where you’re going to share your message. There are plenty of options, and it’s probably a good idea to hit as many of them as you can. So, here are the pros of each and some ideas of what your message could look like.
On the takepayments blog we talk a lot about the power of email marketing, and it’s no different here. Emails are personal, land straight in customers’ private email boxes, and are proven to be the most effective marketing tool.
If you’ve already got an email subscription list then you’ve got access to consumers who’re interested in your business at your fingertips, so make the most of that.
Also, make your subject line enticing to up the odds of consumers clicking through, if possible, address them by name and give them all the details of your takeaway service - emojis used carefully have also been shown to boost engagement. Here are a few examples:
“Hi [customer name]. Times are tough right now so we’re adapting our service. Until further notice [business name] will offer a takeaway & delivery service across [location]. Sound good? Then make your first order here [landing page/phone number] and get 10% off! We’re happy to accept payment by card or on collection/delivery. Stay safe, many thanks from the [business name] team.”
“Hey [customer name]. During this uncertain time, we’re taking steps to protect our valued customers and staff. We’ve given our menu a shake-up to make it mobile! Where there’s a will, there is a (takea)-way! If you can support us during this time it would mean the world, and as of today we’re offering customers 10% off their online orders here.”
Another tool you might already have at your disposal is a database of mobile numbers. If so, proactively send out a text message and let your customers know directly about your takeaway service. Like emails, text messages are super-personal and will reach consumers in the palm of their hand. Here’s a template to work off:
“[Business name] is now offering takeaway and delivery options. For more info or to order, visit our website or give us a call today on [insert number]. Many thanks.”
Being proactive across social media is mega important at times like this - social media boasts 2.77 billion active users, and now more than ever with so many people staying at home people will be turning to the platforms.
With 2.2 billion active users Facebook’s the giant of social media, so if you’ve only got the resources to throw at one platform, Facebook is the one to choose. Here are some tips to make the most of it:
Here are a few examples to get you going:
“We’re changing the way we do things here at [business name] so that we can carry on providing customers with mouth-watering food, not to mention give you a night off from cooking. As of today, we’re offering a takeaway service and accepting collections. Check out our revised menu and order online here [landing page] or give us a call on [number]. We’re offering buy one get one free if you buy with a friend as a thank you for supporting us during this challenging time.”
“Swap Netflix & chill for dine-in and social distance with our new delivery and takeaway service which we hope will allow you to enjoy your favourite food from the safety of your sofa. You can order online here [landing page] and pay on collection or give us a ring on [number]. We’re offering 10% off orders to anyone who shares this post, as a thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.”
“With everything that’s going on we’ve had to take the difficult decision to close our doors to the public. But, we still want to offer you fresh, local produce so we’ve decided to offer a takeaway and delivery service. We’re putting together fruit & veg boxes containing 10 items of seasonal and delicious produce that you can either come and collect or we’ll bring to you. Just give us a call on [insert number] to find out more or place your order.”
Instagram is all about the imagery and you can use this to your advantage by showcasing not only your great products but the human element of your business.
With a few tweaks, the above examples of text would work well on Instagram too, and don’t forget to use hashtags to potentially reach a wider audience - including terms like ‘local’ or referencing your target area, e.g. #takeawaymanchester, #supportlocal, #localbusinessmanchester.
Stories are increasingly popular on Instagram too, so use them to boost engagement even further. It could be a video of your team working hard, or keeping spirits high with a dance in the kitchen, anything that will elicit positive emotions from your audience.
As with Facebook, it’s a good idea to post regularly to increase the odds your efforts will be noticed, and aim to post at the most likely times your audience will be online.
Twitter posts are limited to 280 characters, so you need to get your message across in a concise manner when using this platform. Here’s an example:
“Bored of dry pasta yet? We’re here to help with our new takeaway and delivery service. Head to our site or give us a ring on [number] and we’ll give you 20% off your first order as a thank you for your continued support. #takeawayfoodmanchester #localbusinessMCR”
“Need your fix of fresh fruit and veg? Our shop might be closed but we’re offering £10 boxes stuffed full of the finest local produce delivered to your door. Head to our site or give us a ring on [number] to order. #shoplocal #fooddeliverymanchester”
Hashtags are a good idea on Twitter, too!
Here at takepayments, we’re here to help businesses during these difficult times, so for support and advice on all things payments reach out to our friendly experts today on 08082 398172.
For more information and guidance during the current pandemic, visit our hub here.