4 Survival Tips for Restaurants During COVID-19

You are already aware of the impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) is making on restaurants across the world. Unfortunately, this crisis has put a halt on practically all dine-in service, leaving restaurants dependent on alternative service options like delivery, takeout, and curbside pickup. While this is a difficult time, there are several ways for restaurants to keep business flowing. Read on to discover four survival tips for restaurants during COVID-19 – and beyond.

1. Set Up Food Delivery

Simply put, if you own a restaurant and you don’t already have a food delivery solution established, now is the time to get it set up – and set up fast.

Implementing third-party food delivery services such as DoorDashGrubhub, and Uber Eats is the easiest way to accomplish this task in a timely and effective manner. These service providers not only feature thousands of couriers, but also millions of customers ready to order with a simple tap on their smartphone. As customers across the globe practice social distancing, they are turning to food delivery not only because dine-in establishments are off-limits, but to feed their families without the risk of leaving their home. Many third-party delivery providers are also offering promotions to mitigate restaurants’ financial burden during this difficult time, which can make setting up a new service a more feasible option for you right now.

Establishing a third-party delivery solution can be simple. With Star Micronics CloudPRNT, your restaurant’s printer can fetch orders directly from the third-party service, with no local tablet, software, or SSL certificate required. Simply prepare the orders as they are received and have a delivery driver already on the way.

Do you already have food delivery set up? It’s the perfect time to improve upon it. Now more than ever, restaurants need to think about how to optimize their operation for third-party food delivery. OrderOut provides a solution to do just that, by automatically detecting third-party orders, instantly transferring them to your POS and kitchen printer, and providing detailed delivery partner and food data in an easy-to-use, at-a-glance dashboard.

 

2. Take Advantage of Takeout

Delivery is not the only way to get food into your customer’s hands: takeout is another great option.

During COVID-19, many states and localities are mandating that restaurants do not have any in-person customers. However, there are still ways for customers to come pick up their meals from your restaurant – without making any physical contact.

One option for this is establishing a curbside pickup option. For curbside pickup, customers can place their orders online or over the phone, and when they arrive to your door they can remain in their vehicle as one of your staff members brings the food outside in a safe, hygienic manner. Restaurants during COVID-19 can take curbside pickup a step further by:

  • Allocating nearby parking spots for curbside pickup orders
  • Designating staff to watch for customer vehicles (and take down the vehicle’s make, model, and color during order-taking)
  • Encourage and communicate the option to pay over the phone to limit physical contact during pickup
  • If customers want to pay in-person, offer mobile payments to minimize trips back into the restaurant
  • Invest in high-quality insulated and ventilated takeout containers
  • Don’t forget to communicate your curbside pickup service to your customers via email, social media, and your website

3. Do the Math

Once you have signed up for third-party food delivery and established a curbside pickup plan, you need to start thinking about the economics of the situation, such as your margins and how many staff you need to make this all happen.

To bolster your margins, a good rule of thumb is to avoid putting items on your delivery service’s menus that you’re not going to make money on. You get the freedom to create your own menus, so make sure they make sense economically and you’re making money on every order. Get a calculator or set up a spreadsheet and do the math!

4. Choose Your Staff Wisely

At the end of the day, your restaurant depends on having professional, personable, and appropriately skilled staff. It’s wise to take a moment to consider your labor expenses and how that aligns with what skillset you need during this unique time. For example, you probably don’t need a five-star chef on hand in your kitchen to ship out chicken fingers, and people probably aren’t going to be ordering designer cakes during this time. Adapt your business and hire good, hard-working people that can make the food that will keep customers coming back for more from your restaurant!