A Strategic & Tactical Recovery Outline For Hospitality Businesses

Go Where Your Customers Are

Demand for delivery, take-out & curbside pick-up is on the rise. Time-starved—and sometimes health-concerned—customers may be looking to simplify their dining experience, but they don’t want to sacrifice it.

For restaurateurs, making the move toward more robust to-go options includes not just operational considerations, but also communication challenges.

  • How should I get the word out on my new delivery and take-out options?
  • What platforms should I use to promote it?
  • Can I do all this without busting my budget?

This short guide is designed to give you answers to these questions and more. While every restaurant is as unique as its owner, we hope this provides a jump start to help you move faster and more successfully as you get going with to-go. 

Get Going With To-Go

Just as with dine-in, your best marketing tool is your customer experience. Here are some proven strategies to kick-start your success:

Keep it simple. Be clear and specific about the what, when and how of your program. For example: Are you bringing orders curbside? Where? How long will it take? How will customers pay?

Launch with lower order minimum + fees. 90% of orders go to restaurants with order minimums under $201, even though average order values are much larger. Similarly, higher fees create a psychological obstacle for most customers—avoid them where possible.

Incent impulse purchases. Improve average order value by providing plenty of add-on opportunities, even at a discount. Desserts, drinks… encourage them on every order.

Bundle. Increase ticket size by offering pre-defined packages. Perfect for corporate lunches, catering and more.

 

Step Up on Platforms

Tapping into delivery service companies is a quick way to jumpstart your delivery business. With a huge base of active and eager customers, the “big four” delivery apps—DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Postmates — dominate the space.

The good news? With a few clicks, you can be up and running on any of these platforms. They facilitate the orders. You focus on food.

Local Matters

Different platforms have different penetrations depending on the market. While it’s common for restaurants to manage multiple platforms, it’s still smart to be intentional about it. Do you want to be a small fish in a big pond—or one of only a handful of fish in a smaller pond?

Each of the top platforms have slightly different onboarding processes. Explore them here…

 

Be Found

Google To-Go

Use the Google My Business tool to let the search engine giant (and their users) know you offer local food delivery services. When users search something like “food delivery near me,” it’s your Google My Business profile that shows up.

Not sure how to use Google My Business? Just—you guessed it—Google it.

TIP #1: To optimize your profile for delivery, log into your Google My Business account and navigate to Info > Add a service area.

Tip #2: Google will automatically connect your business listing with many ordering platforms, adding an “Order Now” button to your search results.

 

google

Sell Direct(ory)

Restaurant review and directory sites—with all of their issues—still drive a lot of business. Claiming and managing your profiles on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zomato is key to managing your online reputation.

Claim your profile
You can’t win if you don’t play. Claiming your profile lets you add photos and important details, including your delivery, take-out and curbside options.

Respond to reviews
Positive. Negative. It doesn’t matter. Responding—no matter how brief—to all reviews in a timely manner demonstrates your commitment to customer service.

Optimize your language
It’s important that your profile uses the same words and phrases your potential customers are searching for. Information-rich profiles are more likely to show up in more searches. When launching to-go options, add a phrase like:

  • Delivery
  • Local delivery
  • Take-out
  • [your city] take-out
  • Curbside pick-up
  • Pick-up
  • [cuisine] delivery

 

Get Social

Socialize Smartly
Facebook, Instagram and other social media can quickly suck away hours from your day. You have to be smart. You need to define your strategy. Test it. Measure it. And then, do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.

Get Social

Social Starters

Not sure how to post about your takeaway options? Here’s some inspiration…

  • Daily/weekly specials & LTOs
  • Show, don’t tell: feature photos of to-go meals & even delivery staff
  • Behind-the-scenes: show the care with which a meal is made

TIP: Connect your Facebook profile to your online ordering platforms to make it easier for customers to find you and take action.

Sample Posts
Rather prep than post? We get it. Here are some ideas that you can mimic or modify to get you going today…

#1 Restaurant name: Taco Taqueria

Calling all tastebuds — We’re launching delivery and takeout! Dreaming of our fire-roasted chips and salsa or fresh avocado but don’t want to wait in line? Order yours online now — We’ll let you know when it’s ready for pick-up or deliver the deliciousness to you!

#2 Restaurant: Eastside Diner

Picture this: Tangy buffalo sauce, tender crispy chicken, creamy guac…all served on a buttery golden bun with a side of seasoned fries. We’re NOW offering take out and delivery. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call… (555) 555-5555.

#3 Restaurant: Rosemary & Thyme

Just because you have to stay in doesn’t mean your tastebuds do. We’re now offering delivery and take out. All of the tastinesses is just a call away: (555) 555-5555.

 

Pay to play

Facebook and Instagram ads are a powerful way to target people who live near your location. Reach new customers and remind old ones that you exist (and are still delicious).

Boost your social

The days of a basic Facebook post reaching your audience—even your own followers—are gone. These days, you have to pay to play. How? Boost your posts.

Step 1: Create a post on Facebook. Keep it simple, with a clear call to action.

Step 2: Click “boost” and assign a small budget to it. (Even $5 will yield noticeable results.)

Step 3: Target people within a specific radius and/or who have shown an interest in your restaurant style or cuisine.

 

Mind your messages

When you get attention you need to pay attention. On social media, this means monitoring post comments and messages. Prompt response (get the apps on your phone!) could mean getting an order. One approach: assign accountability for monitoring social media to a member of your staff or outsource it to someone who manages multiple accounts.

Starting is the Hardest Part

Like everything, the best way to get started is simply to start. Keep taking steps, even if they’re small steps. If you’re going through the trouble to add to-go, you must let your customers—and prospective customers—know.

 

1 Source: GrubHub