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How to Pivot During Covid-19 | A Guide for Restaurants

Pivot, Pivot, Piiiivooot

Ross Gellar knew it and no matter how many times we hear the word, all restaurants have had to do it during this crisis. For some of you, that meant closing your doors for a few weeks to regroup while others had to jump headfirst into survival mode without a plan. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone, we’ve compiled an arsenal of suggestions to help you fight through Covid-19.

Reduce -> Repurpose -> Restore

Due to social distancing rules, you’ll inevitably have to reduce your staff, hours and output. Here are some tips on how to begin restoring your lost revenues:

  • Start off with a smaller and simpler takeout menu. If you grow in output capacity, add on from there.

  • Keep at least one popular menu item that would lure your existing customer base to order. We could all use something comforting and familiar at this time.

  • Appoint your menu with items that will work well reheated or can be prepared at home with easy to follow directions.

  • Repurpose ingredients in ways that will keep better during deliveries, bottle your famous sauce (in keeping with labelling/health rules) or try selling meal kits and grocery baskets.

  • List alcohol in your takeout menus, as they can be sold along with a food item in Ontario.

Offer Pre-Orders and Pop-Up Deliveries

Other tactics that have proved successful for some restaurants include offering pre-orders and providing rolling pop-up deliveries throughout the city, which focus on delivering to a specific area on a certain date. Most restaurants will start announcing pop-ups at least 2 weeks in advance, so you can plan routes, slot in delivery times and inform customers. This will also allow you to plan your supplies and manage production.  Try offering a limited special one-off menu to create even more buzz.

Encourage Diners to Order Directly from You

We’ve seen the memes going around. Diners are now more aware of the commissions taken by the big delivery services (Doordash 10%, Skip the Dishes 20%, and Uber Eats 30%) and are willing to support their favourite restaurants by going directly to you. Communicate clearly how diners can get to you easiest. We can also add a customized takeout ordering page to your restaurant’s website. Ask us how now.

Keep on Top of Social Media

On top of everything that’s going on it might seem like it's one more thing to manage, but diners want information about your restaurant in real time. We’ll be sharing some social media helpful hints in our next post.

Share Your Safety Standards

  • Let your customers know how you are practicing social distancing and hygiene in the kitchen and elsewhere.

  • Inform customers on what rules they can expect if they are picking up food.

  • For delivery orders, tightly close the bag to let diners know that their food hasn’t been touched since rumors have been going around about food sampling.

Final Encouragements You’re in one of the toughest businesses there is, and for that alone you should get a f!?%ing medal. Most likely, your restaurant was a passion project. You wanted to share your Nonna’s meatballs, or give the city the gift of the best damn tempura they’ve ever eaten. You are tough AF and you could school all of us in persistence. Believe in yourself and hang in there. You’ve got this and we’ve got your back! Stay tuned for more on how your restaurant can survive Covid-19.

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