Survival Strategies for Family Restaurants During Slow Times
Slow economic seasons can be quite discouraging for most business operations. And during these times, it’s not just people being driven to frugality that’s keeping stores and other establishments empty. Safety concerns are likewise preventing them from interacting with certain enterprises. Among the hard-hit businesses are family restaurants where big groups usually congregate for a delicious meal and a good time. With gatherings prohibited, it may seem pointless for these dining establishments to continue operations.
However, according to expert business strategists, the current conditions or the new norm the world has is a fantastic opportunity to get creative and innovate. A different approach to business is necessary since the way customers demand service has changed.
Therefore, to survive, you need a fresh mindset. For a family restaurant, it’s time to stop lamenting empty chairs and tables. Instead, start presenting solutions to customers, so they will keep connecting with your business.
How do you do that? Here are some of the best strategies to use.
1. Gather valuable data from your POS system
If you merely used a POS system to help customers complete transactions and support your accounting, start exploring its analytical features now. These will reveal your most in-demand products, the buying patterns of your customers, and other insights.
Through these bits of information, you can design appropriate solutions and modify your marketing strategy. These little changes can do so much in keeping your customers and ensuring sales despite the current challenging conditions.
2. Use restaurant inventory software
If you need to operate leaner, restaurant inventory software can help you with this. The data provided by such programs will help you move through ingredients in a more systematic way and even come up with recipes that will use ingredients with minimal wastage.
Also, with the help of the program, you can avoid unnecessary purchases by identifying food products that rarely get used. Along with that, it can prompt you to consider other food suppliers. In the end, you can be confident that all the items in stock are useful, and you are not carrying a bigger inventory than you need.
3. Boost your delivery services
During a time when most people are not allowed to go out, focus on how you can bring services to them as allowed by established protocols for safety. Aim to serve senior citizens, senior facilities that may be having difficulty procuring ingredients, hospitals, and other healthcare centers. Your delivery services may just be what these groups are looking for to restore some normalcy in their lives.
Providing mostly delivery services is definitely going to be a significant change to your operations. Thus, research and study schemes to help your family restaurant pull them off in the most organized way and bring the utmost convenience to your customers. Aside from adopting a thoughtful delivery scheme, considering using a delivery app to make delivery transactions a breeze to monitor and carry out.
4. Modify your products
If distilleries have effectively shifted from only making alcoholic beverages to producing disinfecting alcohol to meet higher demand, your family restaurant can do the same. You can downsize orders and even your menu. Downsizing orders will make these more affordable to many. Meanwhile, paring down your menu will lower your required budget for ingredients.
You should also consider offering some of your products uncooked. Burgers, chicken, bread, and other typically frozen items you prepare can be offered to customers at lower prices. Remember, the important thing here is to ensure sales to keep your restaurant outside the red.
5. Provide positive messages
According to a leading branding agency in Dubai, maintaining a positive message and story during difficult times is an effective way of generating support. People are looking for encouragement, and it wouldn’t take much out of your business to provide it. A new welcome message on your online presence, encouraging a stronger sense of community in your brochures and posters — you can trust all these to yield positive outcomes.
So, take the time to evaluate the image and reputation of your restaurant; make sure you are sending out a good message out there. People need it and will appreciate it. At the same time, you can lift the spirits of your employees.
6. Strengthen your online presence
When people aren’t coming to your family restaurant to eat, start meeting them in the digital realm. Consider starting a blog for your website and use it as a place to provide more value to your customers.
For example, you can share recipes that feature leftovers of orders from your restaurants. Or, share newfound knowledge about certain ingredients you use. This may not seem like much, but this will keep your market engaged with your brand.
Another advantage of strengthening your restaurant’s online presence is you get to create a forum for improvement. Through the comments section, you can generate suggestions and an abundance of other useful opinions that you can implement for the business. You’ll be amazed by the ideas loyal customers can come up with to help your family restaurant ride out the economic storm.
7. Establish new partnerships
The “every man for himself” mentality is the pinnacle of survival, but in an economic recession, it’s no good. Nobody wants to be alone, so extend your hand to other businesses. Boost others and others may boost you, too.
Be kind to other businesses and try to partner up with them the best way you can. Say, your neighboring cafe is struggling, too, it will not be to your detriment to present coffee concoctions from that cafe to your customers. And, whether that cafe does the same thing for you or not, you only have everything to gain from being a partner and offering a helping hand.
The present and future may seem bleak. Nobody knows when these challenging conditions will end, but don’t be discouraged. Be proactive. When the economy starts picking up, your restaurant will be in a good position to bounce back in a big way and sustain success.
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing food tech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.