Restaurant Marketing Ideas During Covid19 Restrictions

Working in the restaurant industry takes a lot of grit and stamina in the best of times. In 2020, it can feel impossible to keep your restaurant afloat and comply with local restrictions. In particular, the recent ban on alcohol sales and consumption in Allegheny County has put additional strain on recently reopened restaurants in the Pittsburgh area. Check out these tips and examples of what local restaurants are doing to keep business flowing during this time. 

Promote Gift Cards and Alcohol-To-Go

What unique offerings can you give that people can’t easily have at home? You could offer a fun cocktail-to-go that has ingredients the average person won’t have or recommend a bottle of wine to go with food specials. You can also promote sales of six-packs or give a deal on gift card purchases.

Here’s what some local restaurants are doing to promote the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages:[0]=68.ARCiLIXchaSQZnZQ2qM7rvixc2W0VxwQz5MmCGR7LXq6qrvLbAPpKKpwRD_QwiW5eGlUjD44P_PeaaWzgNYRVB3SOYAnVBNE_S4HGTQb4bcwC1mrRFksjFlPGiCkR0lq-yt8LejcMhxPZRfQFA1KYTMRo_QQb26jnT_veEhVGrkjxuKeWS759OiMPOxHv–iMFSD5Sq2m4ckQ7lwZhnal_cRXg91i17roeDj5LC_739Z2dfuiuWxoR-CsYUziuxnvskQCRZ9TpV6D5LIpnzsNazW-1j6sin1kIpAZSy8jHFIMi99qRooxZUrtdLRtlp4JIsdn1p5j7gxzyn-nqCpxEDXoK5m&__tn__=-R

Create Specials around Takeout/ Online Ordering

Toast found that the average online ordering check size is 23% larger than in-store checks. So even as you have people coming in to eat, it can still be helpful to encourage takeout/ to-go orders when you can. You can also get unique with these offerings as well. Family dinners or make-at-home specials can add novelty to what you’re offering. 

Here’s what some local restaurants are doing to encourage online and to-go orders:

Encourage those still coming in to share their experience in a review or on their social media.

Your reviews and social media comments are more important than ever. As people are deciding where they want to go, seeing a personal recommendation can make a huge difference. Having your waitstaff remind happy customers that reviews, tags, and personal posts help keep your business alive is an easy solution. Your biggest fans will be happy to write something nice. They obviously want to support your business but they might not think about the impact of a review or social media post. If you see posts your restaurant is tagged in, share them. Social proof goes a long way!

You can even make this a contest.

  1. Let customers know you’re going to pick one review from your Facebook page to get a gift card or dessert (or whatever price you can offer). 
  2. Make sure you aren’t telling people that they MUST write a good review (that’s can get you into trouble and make you look inauthentic). 
  3. Pick a random number or draw names from a hat and contact the winner over social media. 

It’s an easy way to motivate people to take the extra step of writing something nice.  

Ensure that customers are having a stellar experience and that everything feels safe.

The truth is that people want to still feel safe and have a good experience in your place. We know that missteps in this department have led to many high profile incidents recently. Spend some time making sure that your staff is prepared for any questions people may have about your cleaning and social distancing protocol. If customers have a great experience they’re likely to come back- which matters more than ever.

Give customers peace of mind by finding ways to highlight your cleaning and safety measures. The restaurant industry knows all about cleanliness and safety practices, but your average customer probably doesn’t. 

Here’s what some local restaurants are doing to remind people that safety is a priority to them:

Other Things You Can Do

  • Express your feelings and concerns about the ban to County officials. The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association has you all the details and they are continuing to advocate on behalf of restaurants and bars in Pennsylvania. Learn more.
  • Apply for the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. You could get a grant to help keep your business alive. Learn more.
  • We’re working with restaurateurs and our friends at Caputo Law Offices to advocate for local establishments. Learn more.
  • Contact us for consulting! SAG has formed a task force of professionals including accountants, bankruptcy assistance, liquor license attorneys, bankers, and business development executives to cover all angles of helping your business survive this bump in the road. We are in daily contact with owners and operators so we can give you advice and ideas about what is working and what is not. We are here for you. We are advocating for you and we want your business to survive and thrive.
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