How Restaurants can Cope with Coronavirus Closings

The novel Coronavirus has run rampant in the United States forcing millions of Americans to stay at home and restaurants to close their dining rooms. In an effort to combat the fast-spreading virus, Pennsylvania’s Governor Wolf ordered all non-essential businesses closed.

I remain deeply concerned about this public health crisis and we must continue to take careful but critical steps now to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “We are issuing these orders because Pennsylvanians’ health and safety remains our highest priority. “

Many other areas of the country have issued similar orders already, and many more are to come. For restaurants, these non-essential business closures mean they must close their dining rooms, but can remain open for takeout or delivery orders. The economic fallout from the Coronavirus is being felt all over the world, but restaurants are uniquely vulnerable to the harshest economic damages of this pandemic. As a location independent digital agency, our employees work remotely, often from restaurants and cafes. Many of our partners and clients are restaurants. Our founder and CEO, Patricia Walterick, hosts meetings with clients at local restaurants and cafes in Bucks County and the surrounding areas. We truly feel for the restaurant community at this difficult time and want to offer some solutions. To that end, we’ve put together a small list of ideas that can help restaurants cope with economic fallout and try to mitigate some of the worst damages. 

Five Ideas for Restaurants Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis 

Times like this call for creativity and innovation. We want to help our community’s restaurants during this terrible time, so we’ve compiled this list of ideas that could be helpful to their business.

  1. Sell Discounted Online Gift Certificates – If you run a restaurant that people enjoy going to, this crisis has put a screeching halt to the majority of your business. Things will go back to normal eventually, but in the meantime you need to make money. Offer your customers a chance to buy discounted gift cards online. For example, maybe your customers can buy a $20 gift card for $15, or something like that. They can support their favorite restaurants during this terrible time, and when things go back to some semblance of normal and they are able to patronize your restaurant again, they get a good deal on a meal. 
  2. Offer a Takeout only Menu – Now that things are closed, it might be a good idea to shorten your takeout menu to only the popular items you sell. This will help you keep your overhead low on supplies and labor, you will be able to make orders faster, and it will make things less complicated for your customers. 
  3. Add Credit Card Processor and Tip Function –  The name of the game right now is social distancing. Not only does this protect the customer, but it also protects your delivery driver. More people will be willing to order food from your restaurant if they know they can safely pay and tip your driver without having to interact with them. 
  4. Offer Fun Food Projects – People love projects. Why not try selling project packages to your customers. For example, if you run a pizza shop, your project package would include the ingredients necessary to make a pizza, and detailed instructions on how to make it at home. This gives people a chance to keep themselves busy during this lockdown. This is an especially clever idea for people with kids because it helps keep them entertained while they are all stuck inside. You can offer the ingredients and recipe for just about any meal. And you can get creative with your food projects. Perhaps using it as an opportunity to teach students about the food, the culture it comes from, or even adding math lessons. 
  5. Wholesale Ingredients – During the pandemic supplies are running low everywhere. Restaurants can make some extra money by offering to sell people ingredients and food items. For example, if you make sandwiches, offer customers the chance to buy a pound or two of meat instead of just one sandwich. This is a way you can continue to work and sell food, and help out your community who may be struggling to get to the store. 

Open Space Digital is Here to Help 

We understand that integrating a credit card processor, updating your online menu, and creating gift card promotions may be something you’d like to do, but perhaps you don’t have the time or knowledge of how to do it. Open Space Digital is offering our services at 50% off our normal rates to restaurants requiring these services now.  We want to help our community survive during these financially uncertain times. Contact Open Space Digital today to discuss your needs.