The Corona virus has finally made it impossible to continue a purely offline approach. If we are honest, hardly any company still operates solely with paper and mail in the 21st century. Even those companies that previously operated on a purely in-house basis – i.e. restaurants, cafés and bars – at the very least advertise their offline services via online channels. Most are active on Facebook, Instagram and in the World Wide Web, where they post their menus and opening hours.
Make more out of your online presence
Extraordinary times require extraordinary ideas. This is the motto that many retailers are already creatively applying, advertising the latest fashion collection via Instagram, for example, and making the items available to order directly – complete with free home delivery. But what can the gastronomy industry do here? Firstly, engage the online community. After all, many potential customers now have more time to scroll through their timelines on social media regularly. Why not ask them what they would like to eat? There’s no cheaper and easier way to interact with your potential revenue source. And then you have to get creative: Create and advertise a Corona menu with specials for those lonely evenings in front of the TV or superfood to strengthen the immune system. There are no limits to the ideas here: The menu could be presented personally by the chef as a live stream, with a thermometer next to him to prove to customers that he’s healthy and the food is safe to order, or with a normal post to be shared offering a 10 % discount on the value of the order.
Your place or mine?
Then there’s the question of whether the food should be delivered or collected. Here too, it helps to increase the use of social media. Do people want a delivery service, particularly in these troubled times, or are they grateful for the opportunity to get out of the house, even if it is just to the car or the bicycle to collect the food? A delivery service could also protect the jobs of the waiters and waitresses, who are still able to work – the journey between the kitchen and the customer has just got a little bit longer and possibly a little bit colder.
Safe, safer, contactless!
Remember: #socialdistancing also applies to delivery services. Some online platforms are therefore now offering contact-free deliveries. In this case, the service provider accepts the order online, processes the payment via a digital partner and then delivers the food to the door. A quick ring of the door bell and a push notification on the cell phone informs the customer that the food is waiting at the door – unaccompanied! The only disadvantage is that the delivery service staff lose out on their tips. A Chinese delivery service is going a step further: The company is measuring the temperatures of the chef and delivery staff and including this information with the delivery. In addition to increased safety, this also means that customers can trust that the food has not come into contact with anyone who is infected.
Selling anticipation is another potential source of revenue. By closing the “normal” gastronomy industry – i.e. reducing it to take-away only, the biggest revenue drivers for gastronomy businesses has been removed. Although many customers are willing to support their local restaurants, they often don’t want to buy food to take away. Some restaurant operators are therefore selling vouchers that can be used once the restaurant is reopened. This generates some revenue at least to cover some of the ongoing fixed costs. There are already online platforms where a voucher can be purchased for a registered local restaurant via random generator – this will also bring in new customers in addition to revenue.
How to…for you!
Star-rated chefs are also getting creative in the crisis. They are filming cooking tutorials for professionals and hobby cooks and explaining how they like to prepare individual dishes step-by-step. They also give away their secret tricks and then publish the videos on various social media platforms. Admittedly, this doesn’t bring in any direct revenue, but it increases their reach and awareness, which will certainly have a positive impact in the future.
The only thing that remains to say is: being creative pays off now in particular and can safeguard the existence of your own business. As Albert Einstein said many years ago: “Creativity is intelligence having fun” – and we have the added advantage of online media in 2020. It couldn’t be easier to continue working towards success even in times of crisis.