Although the United Kingdom regularly experiences upticks and downswings in its economy, there is no doubt that the recent health crisis has stretched many businesses to their limits. One of the best examples of this observation can be seen throughout the restaurant industry. Thanks in no small part to lockdowns, evening curfews, and social distancing regulations, countless restaurants are struggling to cope while a small proportion has been forced to permanently closed. So, what steps can be taken in order to ensure that customers remain loyal until life returns to a semblance of normal? As so many unprecedented changes are affecting this industry, it is a good idea to take a look at why leveraging the scope of the digital community is an excellent strategy.
Appreciating How Customer Preferences Have Changed
It does not take an industry analyst to appreciate the fact that the health crisis has severely limited ongoing operations to the point when they are only producing a trickle of the revenue that would have been previously expected. However, we also need to keep in mind that this is partially due to consumer preferences.
A recent study highlighted by Capital on Tap has shown that the prevalence of online search phrases such as “support local businesses” has increased by 163 percent since the onset of the pandemic. So, what does this mean for the average restauranteur?
First and foremost, managers need to focus their efforts upon nearby communities as opposed to blanketing the Internet with extremely diluted marketing campaigns. This is actually nothing new, as Google has placed a greater emphasis upon local search engine results over the past few years. Properties that are able to identify their localised target markets are much more likely to enjoy a relatively steady (albeit reduced) income stream.
Creating an Even Stronger Online Presence
If we have learned anything from the recent COVID-19 crisis, it is that digitally-based businesses tend to perform quite well. This is why it makes perfect sense for restaurants to strengthen their virtual presence even further. We are not only referring to a standalone website in this sense. Here are some other worthwhile suggestions that should be adopted sooner as opposed to later:
- Creating a regularly updated blog.
- Interacting with past, present, and future clients via social media platforms.
- Offering discounts and rebates for those who choose to place an online order.
These strategies can then be enhanced through the creation of dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android operating systems. As you might have already suspected, such strategies have existed for some time. The bottom line is that clients are now looking to be provided with a convenient means to purchase products from restaurants.
What About Analytics?
“Analytics” can be a frightening term to the uninitiated. Metrics such as online conversion rates, average purchase prices, and clickthrough rates will often come into play. Although these may seem confusing, they are absolutely essential if a restaurant manager hopes to appreciate how an ongoing marketing campaign is performing. Unfortunately, some properties tend to overlook such data due to a lack of time, knowledge, or both.
This is why it could be an excellent idea to outsource these concerns to third-party e-commerce providers. Such firms will gather and interpret this data in order to provide a much clearer picture of any additional steps that may need to be taken. Many of these companies offer flexible rates, so even restaurants governed by limited budgets can take full advantage of the tools and utilities at their disposal. Of course, a fair amount of research should be performed before making a final decision.
Learning from Local Legends
If anything, the recent COVID conundrum has already highlighted a fact that has existed for some time: the power of the digital age cannot be denied. This is why even so-called local business legends have begun migrating into the online community. Restaurants that are able to implement such a transition are likely to perform relatively well in the coming months. Furthermore, they can also build up a strong client base for when the current restrictions eventually ease.
It is said that every dark cloud contains a silver lining. In terms of the current state of affairs, the digital world represents a welcome respite from a stagnant economy. Restaurant owners should therefore make it a point to closely examine the options at their disposal. They will then be able to make a relevant and cost-effective decision at the appropriate time.