14 Great Restaurant Crisis Communications During COVID-19

As your restaurant is impacted by COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, it can be difficult to know what to say to your community. Here are a few restaurants doing it right.
There’s no one way to communicate how your team is responding to a crisis. We’ve rounded up 14 examples of real restaurants and how they used their social media channels during the COVID-19 crisis to show you how you can best serve your staff, customers, and community.

See How 14 Real Restaurants Are Responding to Coronavirus

Let Customers Know How You’re Dealing with the Situation

Every country, city, business, and town is dealing with the crisis differently. Use your communication channels to let your customers know what the situation means for you and how they can help.

Note: The video is in English only.

In the video, Meyer talks about his decision to lay off 80% of his staff, what the company is doing to help healthcare workers, and how the restaurant industry needs help to recover.

  • What Makes It Great: It’s very heartfelt. Video puts an empathetic and human touch on a very tough message about the crisis and their restaurant business. Meyer does a great job of talking about the purpose of their business and their values alongside their communication.
  • Make It Yours:Think about what defines your restaurant and what matters most to you. Set up a quick video and post it on your channels — no need for any fancy lighting or cameras. Do as Meyer did and set it up through a web camera or on your smartphone to get the real message out there.

Markets like the Central Market in Florence let their customers know that everything is closed. The image reads, “Everything closed - we'll open as soon as possible.”

  • What Makes It Great: It’s a straightforward way to let customers know that the market is closed until further notice. The eye-catching design gets your attention and makes you stop scrolling on a crowded feed.
  • Make It Yours: Create multiple posts in response to the crisis — one to let customers know you’re closed, and others to showcase what you’re doing for your staff and community.

This French bistro showcases quickly how their restaurant is responding:

  • What Makes It Great: This post is timely and effective, clearly stating what actions they are taking in response to government mandates and that they’re open for takeout before closing.
  • Make It Yours: If you’re open for takeout and delivery during this time, let your customers know. You can also mark it on your Tripadvisor page so that customers looking for takeout and delivery near them can find you. Learn more here.

This Barcelona bakery posted a text-only message on its Instagram feed letting customers know that due to government regulations, they'll be closing until further notice:

  • What Makes It Great: The message is clearly communicated in multiple languages so that no matter where customers are from, they understand.
  • Make It Yours: Consider posting your guidelines, closures, or new policies in text form on your social media pages like this one.

This Spanish seaside restaurant posted this notice on Instagram, using an image rather than a text post and translating the message:

  • What Makes It Great: It’s short and gets the point across in multiple languages, thanking customers for their support, apologizing for the inconvenience, and finishing with a hopeful sign off.
  • Make It Yours: Posting your notice on social media is a great way to communicate to your customers. You can also post a temporarily closed notification on Tripadvisor — see how here.

Show How You’re Helping Your Community

Restaurants play a key part in any community, and yours is no exception. Make sure your customers know what actions you’re taking to help in this time of need — you’ll build a sense of community solidarity, pride, and loyalty.

D.C. chef Kwame Onwuachi uses Instagram to showcase what his restaurant is doing to feed healthcare workers and other first responders:

  • What Makes It Great: Onwuachi is using his voice for all restaurants in his community. Because he is well-known (having won several awards and written a book in the last year), he can reach more people to let them know how to help his staff and the community at large.
  • Make It Yours: Even if you’re less famous than Onwuachi, you can still let your customers know what you’re doing for your community. If you’re serving health care workers, helping the elderly with their groceries, or feeding the homeless, let people know. Restaurants hold communities together, and yours is no exception.

Via Carota in New York City posted a heartfelt letter on Instagram thanking customers for their support:

  • What Makes It Great: This letter doesn’t dwell on the crisis or add unnecessary detail about why they need to close. It gets straight to the point and makes sure to tell customers how to support them right now, including with a fund for their staff.
  • Make It Yours: Write a letter if you haven’t already thanking your followers and loyal customers. Send it via email and post it on your social media pages, and include any links to gift cards, funds for your staff, or other ways your regulars can support you right now.

Salut Wine Studio in Barcelona left this message on Instagram:

  • What Makes It Great: It’s completely human. The owners don’t shy away from talking about their situation and their family and offer the ways customers can still keep in touch with their blog.
  • Make It Yours: When you can’t offer your cuisine, it’s time to think about what other value you bring to your community. In this case, it’s recommendations and tips for wine — what’s special about your restaurant that you can bring virtually? Consider doing virtual open mic nights, cooking tutorials, or spotlighting your staff on social media or on your website.

Pujol, in Mexico City, offered this multi-part post to announce their closure, how to contact them, and how customers can still support them, choosing eye-catching drawings:

View this post on Instagram

🧺👩‍🌾

A post shared by Pujol (@pujolrestaurant) on

  • What Makes It Great: It showcases all the moving parts of a restaurant, including how customers can help support them and the community at large, in a creative format.
  • Make It Yours: What do you want customers to know about the role your restaurant plays in their community? Many people don’t stop and think about how restaurants represent jobs for farmers, suppliers, and their staff. Consider using a social media post or email to educate them on your restaurant and why your livelihood should matter to them.

Spread Hope, Positivity, and Good Cheer

Hospitality is the art of making someone feel comfortable and at home. Whether or not someone is physically able to come to your restaurant, you can still offer a positive online experience to brighten someone’s day, especially in these dark times. While the situation is serious, stay positive, courteous, and professional.

Fortnum and Mason, the tea company based in London, posted this on their Instagram:

  • What Makes It Great: Sometimes, you just need a puppy to make your day brighter. This playful post brings some small joy in a trying time.
  • Make It Yours: Fortnum and Mason already posted about their closures and other policies, but that’s not stopping them from offering on-brand social media content like this one. Think about other ways you can connect with your community, whether that’s pictures of your family, pets, or at-home cooking.

    Bao Down, a quick-service spot in Canada, sends love and gratitude to their customers while they’re offering takeout:

  • What Makes It Great: They add a positive message to their customers while folding in special discounts for all orders. They also mention exactly where you can order from them so it’s easy to support their business.
  • Make It Yours: It’s a tough time for everyone right now — the only way out is with a positive attitude. Let customers know that you’re open for takeout, any specials you’re offering, and how they can support you on social media, email, and on sites like Tripadvisor.

Big Mamma, an Italian restaurant in Paris, posted good vibes on their Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Le soleil reviendra.

A post shared by BIG MAMMA (@bigmammagroup) on

  • What Makes It Great: It’s hopeful and encouraging. In dark times with so many restaurants closed, it can be easy to lose hope. Big Mamma offers a way to brighten their feed while sending their customers important information about their operations.
  • Make It Yours: Find ways to continue to keep in touch with your customers, even if you’re closed. Everyone is looking for ways to stay positive, and every little bit helps. It also keeps your restaurant top of mind for delivery, if you’re offering it.
  • London’s EL and N Cafe posted a similar message on their Instagram:

  • What Makes It Great: It’s completely on-brand with the rest of their feed. It looks like something they would post during a normal time, but it feels especially relevant now.
  • Make It Yours: Find something small you can post that will offer a positive message. Make sure it feels authentic to how you normally interact on social media — see how EL and N mostly posts pink- and purple-tinted photos? It’s a subtle nod to how they already show off their brand to the world.

Chef José Andrés closed his restaurants and has mobilized his nonprofit to feed healthcare workers around the world. When the crisis began, he posted this video talking through how he was responding to the crisis as a restaurateur, but also as a person:

  • What Makes It Great: It’s a short message, but a powerful one. He acknowledges all the hard work he’s put in over the years to open a great restaurant, but is hopeful that food will unite us all.
  • Make It Yours: Wherever you are, let your customers know that you’re safe, that you’re thinking of them, and offer some hope and positivity for your restaurant and the world.

We're Here to Help

We're in this together. Take these examples and use them to communicate with your customers, staff, and community, and in the meantime, check out all of the resources we've compiled to help your restaurant through these unprecedented times.

Find more coronavirus resources from Tripadvisor

Find more coronavirus resources from Tripadvisor

Last Updated: 2 April 2020
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