As concerns about Coronavirus transmission increase daily, many continue following social distancing guidelines and hesitate to venture out of the house for nonessentials. This trend will only grow now that COVID-19 has been officially classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Building customer confidence during COVID-19 is more crucial than ever.
One-third of Americans plan to stick closer to home and eat from restaurants less frequently, according to restaurant industry research group Technomic. Strict adherence to sanitation procedures and communicating these measures to your customer-base may help retain business during this challenging time.
Always follow CDC precautionary measures
According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” However, precautionary measures should always be followed, such as frequently washing your hands, staying at least 6 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and maintaining proper respiratory etiquette, by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
It is recommended that populations who are at additional risk of infection take extra precautions, follow official CDC guidelines, and the advice of their physician.
Communicate accommodations to customers
Keeping customers updated via social media about your business’s plan of action builds customer confidence that you are following official health and safety guidelines. Take additional measures to build customer confidence by accommodating your customers with contactless payment, pick-up, and delivery options.
Reoptimize layout to support takeout and curbside
Pivoting to a takeout-only operational model may require some changes to serve your needs while also building confidence with your guests. Here are some tips from NCR to reoptimize your restaurant space to support the shift to takeout and curbside-only operations.
- Rethink your drive-thru: Consider adding a Y-lane or separate lane to allow customers to pick up orders without having to step out of their car.
- Put a dedicated pick-up zone near the entrance: This allows customers to grab their food quickly. Provide signage with instructions on what to do and a phone number for customers to call when they arrive, or in case of any issues.
- Offer six feet of space inside, per the CDC: Strategically position the pick-up area to let guests comfortably stand at least 6 feet apart from your staff and other guests.
Adapt to change with the right tech
The hospitality industry has suffered tremendously from state-mandated bans on dine-in service, but there are still numerous options that grow off-premise sales. Some third-party delivery apps have responded to the crisis by eliminating, suspending or reducing commission fees for restaurants during restaurant closures. By implementing and adapting to change with the right tech, many businesses will navigate this shifting terrain, build customer confidence and emerge stronger.