Canadian restaurants have been coping with COVID-19 for more than half a year now, and many took advantage of the summer months to offer picnics and outdoor seating to customers. But as winter approaches, restaurants are being forced to adapt yet again. Here are a few simple ideas to help you wether the winter.
Be creative with your outdoor seating
Hold off taking down your patio, and instead place heaters outside to take advantage of milder days throughout the fall and winter. Consider offering winter-themed events outside your restaurant, and serving hot foods that help combat the cold. Be creative, and think outside the box. One cidery in Virginia has put plastic igloos around their outdoor tables with heaters to make small rooms for customers to take their cider and food out to. Another restaurant in New Brunswick is located along a popular snowmobile trail and caters to snowmobilers by taking food out to snow-cleared picnic tables.
Be transparent about your COVID-19 procedures
Many Canadians are trying their best to safely navigate their new reality. Many consumers want to patronize restaurants, but fear that not enough precautions will be taken. To ease their fears, follow the best practices set out by your provincial government as best you can, and tell customers what you are doing. Share your safety processes on social media, and post signage with reminders around your dining room.
Continue offering delivery
Even as businesses start to reopen, and cases reduce, there will still be people isolating and looking for contactless delivery options. Consider offering an “I’m isolating kit” including make-your-own meal kits, colouring packs, or cocktail kits to help families keep the boredom at bay.
Check with your delivery partners to find out their storm-plans. At what point during a winter storm do they stop deliveries? How do they communicate that to you, and to customers? You can find an audit for delivery here that you may have already completed. If you have, do so again on a day with bad weather to ensure your delivery is still top quality.
Get into the holiday spirit
This year, the holidays will be a bit different for many of your staff members and customers. Be creative and help them find new ways to celebrate at home, and in your restaurant. Consider offering holiday meals for those that can’t be with their families, or hosting online events that pair with delivery. Normally host staff parties over the holidays? Reach out to those businesses and offer to deliver individual-sized meals to their staff members for an online event.
What are your winter plans to increase sales? For some more general ideas, read this Restaurant Marketing Ebook.