8 Creative Ways Restaurants Can Survive During COVID-19
Offer Gift Cards
Gift cards can be an easy way for your regulars to support you. By paying you cash now, they’re effectively giving you a micro-loan — and promising to come to your restaurant in the future. You can add gift cards to your Tripadvisor listing in the “Manage Listing” section of the Management Center. Read our full how-to guide here.
If you’re already selling mugs, t-shirts, or other memorabilia related to your restaurant, consider adding them to your website and promoting them to your email list or giving people the option to add merchandise to their takeout or delivery order. If your website doesn’t already support this, ecommerce sites like Shopify are offering extended free trials during the COVID-19 crisis.
Market Your Trademark Food Products
Do you have a secret sauce? A perfect cookie? Whether you make a delicious rhubarb jam, candied nuts, or a special seasoning, add these items to your menu as a possibility to order. Even if you don’t have a full commissary kitchen or fancy packaging, marketing some of your signature food items can help build your brand in addition to bringing in extra cash.
Package Meal Kits
Turn your signature dishes into meal kits anyone can cook from. Prep and package all the ingredients with instructions for how your diners can make it themselves.
It can be for something as easy as your cocktail mixes — whatever you’re known for, you can break apart and make it so that your diners can recreate it at home. You can offer this as a subscription model, asking customers to pay for an entire week at a time, or as an a la carte option on your menu for grocery items, depending on what works best for your business.
Sell Your Wine Cellar
If you offer an impressive wine list, chances are your regulars know it. Depending on the regulations in your area, you may be able to add your wine, spirits, beer, or cider stock to takeout and delivery orders. You may be able to contact specific clients you know are interested in rare or exciting wines and sell to them directly or through a wine auction, like this restaurant did.
Film Virtual Cooking Classes
With more people cooking at home, it’s a great opportunity to showcase the talent in your back of house. Whether you’re a chef yourself or you want to rotate different tips across your kitchen, try filming virtual cooking classes. Start on social media, and as you grow your audience, consider taking sponsorship deals from specific suppliers or building a library of cooking videos you can sell separately. Either way, don’t worry about fancy equipment — a smartphone is all you need. Massimo Battura is a great example:
Write a Cookbook or Cooking Blog
A great restaurant isn’t about the food — it’s about the memories you create and the story you tell. If you’ve been itching to write your restaurant’s cookbook or document your best-known recipes, a blog can be a great way to build your brand and customer loyalty while encouraging people to dine with you in the future. Share recipes, your story, or feature your different staff, and share on social media or with your email list. You can also set up advertising or sponsored placements to add additional revenue.
Create a Crowdfunding Campaign
Consumers know that restaurants are in trouble. If taking donations from your community is what is going to help you the most, let them know by creating a crowdfunding campaign. Or, start a virtual “tip jar” for your laid-off staff to support them right now. Every little bit helps.