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6 Ways Restaurants Can Increase Sales During Coronavirus Using Social Media.

What do toilet rolls and food delivery services currently have in common? Their sales are both booming!


Due to the CoVid-19 pandemic, food delivery services are currently experiencing a sudden surge in sales, whilst in-store restaurant visits dwindle. Indeed, takeaway and fast food sales have increased by an impressive 8.7% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.


Unsurprisingly, consumers are choosing to avoid public places and stay within the safe confines of their own homes. Considering the European trends, it’s only a matter of time before this ‘choice’ is a national requirement. Whilst takeaway orders are on the up, it is understandable why restaurant owners may be anxious and concerned. The CoVid-19 pandemic has or will have likely impacted sales across every industry globally. Within the food & beverage industry, restaurants chains are reporting staggering losses of $1 million per day.



It all starts, one empty wine glass at a time...


In this uncertain time, how can we utilise social media to increase restaurant revenue? If the UK plans to follow European strategies to delay the virus, we could soon see widespread isolation. Here, social media may be one of the only tools allowing your business to communicate with an ever-growing isolated audience. Undeniably, social media will prove to be an invaluable marketing tool over the coming months. Are you prepared?


When talking about how to increase sales during the pandemic, we’re not going to be persuading people to leave isolation. Any brand marketing should not and cannot risk counteracting any health & safety regulations. Instead, we look at how your restaurant can increase takeaway, delivery and at-home sales. With in-store restaurant visits already taking a hit (and with this only expected to get worse) it is vital that your business is fully prepared to push deliveries.





In order to help, we’re also offering 100% free consultation calls to any restaurant affected by COVID-19, with no follow up spam or email lists. Please email us at mark@doubleupsocial.com to arrange your free consultation!


Now, let’s get into the 6 ways that your restaurant can increase sales during this time.





1. Highlight your safety measures.


Health & safety is now more of an influential purchasing factor than ever. It’s likely that your inbox has been filled by companies explaining their safety measures, from offering free hand washing stations in their restaurants, to contact-free deliveries from Dominos Pizza. Your company should be doing the same.


Create stories (and perhaps create a separate story highlight), feed posts or even Facebook and Instagram ads targeted towards your audience (more on this later) to inform your customers how you are tightening your health & safety measures to ensure that your restaurant and food is kept hygienic.


Perhaps your restaurant has a high-grade Food Hygiene Rating, or you have trained staff to create dishes with minimal hand-food contact – talk about whatever you are doing to maintain a high level of health & safety during this pandemic.


You could even piggyback on the hygiene measures of your suppliers or delivery partners to further push your health and safety measures. Deliveroo, UberEats and JustEat have already announced plans for a no-contact, drop-off method of delivery for their riders – where customers can request their riders to leave any orders on the doorstep. So, be sure to talk about this!


Your audience will see this increased level of hygiene as a relief. Make sure that you are constantly reassuring customers about your health & safety measures. Do not underestimate the influence this will have on consumer purchasing decisions. In today’s climate, these efforts will make your restaurant extremely competitive. Reassurance is key!





2. Make your Delivery Call to Actions Clear.


If you want people to order deliveries from your website, you need to make it super easy for them to do so. You should consider implementing the following changes:


· Change all your social media links to your delivery platforms.

· Update your bios to inform customers that you are offering delivery.

· Update your social media banners to delivery-focused imagery.

· Create delivery-focused highlights from your Instagram stories.


On any delivery-focused post, be sure to make it as clear as possible what delivery services you are partnered up with. To do this, you can either tag them in the post directly or embed their logo onto your delivery-based image. Additionally, if you have over 10,000 followers, add the ‘swipe up’ option to direct followers straight to a delivery site via your stories.


On the example below, notice how the Creams Cafe instagram page includes multiple mentions of their delivery options. They've got a delivery Call-To-Action in their bio, their main website link has been strategically switched with their delivery links, they have a delivery story highlight with professional and consumer photos of their deliveries, increasing brand trust & authenticity, as well as takeaway-styled photos in their feed that clearly show their delivery options.


It’s likely that your delivery partners are also feeling the burn from the coronavirus pandemic too, so perhaps reach out to them and see if there’s any way they can support you in promoting deliveries or feature you on their page.



3. Provide alternatives to in-store birthday parties and group events.


Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic will not be short-lived. Overall, it is set to impact restaurants for over 8 months. Just think about the number of birthdays and get-togethers that will be missed as a result of consumers being hesitant to leave their homes and celebrate.


Your restaurant should promote an alternative to the usual in-store experience on social media. By doing something as little as offering a free slice of birthday cake on any birthday orders – to offering at-home birthday packages, you are providing an extra service that will make you stand out in the food & beverage arena.


Similarly, think about any upcoming national events that would usually be celebrated with meals out, like Mother’s Day and Easter. Advertise your delivery food around these celebrations. Since customers will be less likely to go out, encourage them to still enjoy the luxury of an indulgent meal at home for these celebrations.



4. Offer a Delivery Bonus or Incentive.


Offers and deals provide a great incentive for consumers to make an order. Shout about any delivery discounts, free side deals or in-store vouchers for when people can start travelling again.


Brands offering free toilet rolls, hand sanitiser etc... have been booming in the PR world. So, if you have anything in-store that you think your customers would want, add it as a free add-on for their order!


Hand soaps and sanitisers are acting as currency, so if you’re sitting on stock of hand-wipes for messy-meals, give these out with every order!



The Maaya Indian and Kitchen Bar in Milton Keynes has made headlines recently by offering free toilet rolls to any customer spending £20 or more.



5. Jump on the stockpiling bandwagon.


As you know, stores have been widely reported to be running out of basic food essentials such as milk, pasta and bread. Advertise your abundance of these foods in your marketing. Can your audience not find any more pasta in-store? Well, your restaurant is the solution to their pasta shortage, providing them with delicious, already cooked pasta dishes on demand.


Could your restaurant even offer a Corona Care Package as part of their delivery offering, supplying consumers with the food and drink basics they need? Granted, maybe it is unconventional for restaurants to sell their consumers raw produce, but if you can find a way to increase sales from your existing stock, then why not?



6. Run Ads to Existing Customers.


Investing in social media ads may seem counter-intuitive to increase sales, but you’ve got to spend money to make money, right?


As we have discussed above, social media is likely one of the only reliable ways to reach your customers at home during this time, making it the perfect platform to connect with your audience.


Taking everything into account that we’ve spoken about before, use ads to highlight any delivery packages, free sides, health & safety notices or delivery promotions that your restaurant may be offering.

You can tailor these ads to certain postcodes to ensure you’re only showing them to relevant customers, as well as target by interest on Facebook and Instagram to get the most out of your money. For example, if your restaurant focuses on Mexican cuisine, you can create a series of ads that are shown to foodies and those specifically interested in Mexican cuisine within your delivery radius.






Conclusion


The CoVid-19 pandemic continues to evolve and throw up new obstacles. Rest assured, there are still plenty of things that your restaurant can be doing to increase sales via social media. As time goes on, social media will prove to be the only effective tool that restaurants can use to connect with self-isolating customers. Take advantage of this. We cannot stress the need to reassure your customers enough. Don’t be afraid to post about your restaurant’s decontamination efforts. When your content isn’t focused on reassurance, focus on pushing deliveries. Soon enough, ordering a delicious takeaway may be the only restaurant experience/luxury than customers can enjoy for a while.


If you need any more advice on this matter, feel free to get in touch! Don’t forget, we’re also offering free consultation calls to any restaurant affected by COVID-19. Simply shoot us an email at mark@doubleupsocial.com to arrange your free consultation!

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