As states begin to re-open restaurants are faced with the task of making consumers feel safe and cared for through strategic restaurant marketing. Traditional marketing plans are out the door as restaurants and agencies working to create a new normal in terms of restaurant marketing practices. Here are a few key things to keep in mind as your restaurant’s doors open up.
1. Know your state’s guidelines thoroughly and have them visible and accessible.
Each state and even individual counties within a state are approaching reopening based on their numbers and what their businesses are able to handle. If your state and county have been given the green light for any level of dining service, it is important to share that information with consumers. Iron Rooster, a downtown Annapolis favorite, does a great job of this. The most eye-catching section of their website home page is an information center around COVID-19 and the restaurant. Not only do they provide a quick snippet of the most recent info, but they have an entire landing page explaining the current state and government guidelines, what they are doing as a business to keep you safe and how you as a consumer can do your part as well.
2. Shift marketing tone to informational but don’t be afraid to have fun with it.
Burger King France cleverly pulled off the perfect balance of humor with information. In a new commercial they parody airline pre-takeoff statements for how diners and the restaurant employees will stay safe and respectful of COVID-19 precautions. Your marketing should provide up-to-date information in a clear manner that conveys the seriousness of following the guidelines but not scare people from coming to your restaurant. It may take several iterations of content to totally nail the perfect tone in this new era of marketing, but it is crucial for brands to take the time and assess the messages they are sending.
3. Post images of your safety measures.
Let your potential diners see what they can expect by leveraging your social media channels for behind-the-scenes and real-time photos. In a recent article from the Washington Post, an image of main street in downtown Annapolis is shown. Diners are seated at tables in the street to accommodate social distancing. If your staff is decked out in masks (bonus if they’re branded), then take a picture and post it! While this may not be the first thing you want to post when promoting the reopening of your restaurant it provides consumers with a sense of comfort and trust that your restaurant is doing what you can to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
4. Step up your social posting and engagement.
Now is 100% not the time to go silent on your social media channels. More often than not consumers are heading to Facebook to ask their favorite spot questions about hours, social distancing, carry out and delivery options and more. The Point Crabhouse in Arnold, MD is a great example of a restaurant being open in their communication with consumers and being responsive. Be a resource for potential customers by paying extra attention to your feeds as everyone navigates the new dining experience.
These four tips are a great starting point for marketing your restaurant as states reopen and new guidelines unfold. Remember as you promote your restaurant and engage with customers that you’re selling a dining experience marked by safety and comfort first and foremost.
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