The team at "Halal Food" have been focused on working with Restaurants, Food Outlets and range of other stores over the last two months.
A small part of our involvement to support these Businesses is to share the great ideas and practices that are being used with success by others. Now these Venues can be in the neighbourhood or on the other side of Australia.
1. Communicate with Your Customers Many Restaurants and Operators are fantastic at managing information to their customers. This is because of a strong appreciation of Social Media and Online Markets. As many of your customers are faced with their own challenges of finding somewhere that is "open". Many venues are still working through the minefield of compliance. A common trait of Good restaurateurs is that they know how to talk to their customers. Things have changed a lot since the bustle of a Friday night pre COVID, but the idea remains the same.
DO Greet your diners at the door of your website with an announcement that catches their attention this can be achieved with a lightbox feature on your site that is activated after a short time or on an action point (website visitor clicks on Open Hours or Bookings), the aim of this announcement is so you can quickly notify them of your current offerings.
DO consider the value of writing a blog detailing what you're doing to keep your clients safe, or update your social media for quick communication.
DO ensure that if you are processing online orders yourself (rather than dealing with the Delivery Platforms out there) For orders, a default confirmation email is sent to customers when an order is made. To communicate with a more personal touch, send a personalized email using Mail Chimp or other Mail Integrator - what you are looking for are trigger based emails in the offering package from these providers.
DO consider adding a badge to your site. It's a great way to let your customers know that it's still business as usual, or communicate restrictions by adding a badge to your site.
2. Keep your Business Details Updated It is important to consider that everyone is following updates from many sources some are reliable others miss the mark completely. The amount and quality of information can be Hit & Miss within the Australian Hospitality Landscape. Each Australian State is running with their own defined COVID-19 Guidelines, Regulations and Rules.
DO ensure that the right information is always available to your customers consider regularly updating your Operating Hours, Booking or Dining Restrictions which are applied to your business. If you do refer to any compliance requirements be sure to include a link to the Authority so that people can Fact Check themselves.
DO check that your business location and business hours are up-to-date. This keeps your customers informed with current and accurate information. If you are maintaining a takeaway only service, be sure to pause your reservations.
DO consider using a personalised email marketing campaign to inform your regulars of the changes and outline what you are doing to make their experience with you a safe one.
3. Manage Your Orders Online There have been regular Media announcements being made that actively promote initiatives from Restaurants, Food Outlets, Manufacturer's and even Football Catering Kitchens (Optus Stadium in WA). Though the seating capacity and income was severely diminished those that took to early adapting of Delivery and Take Away services benefited the most. While your traditional Delivery Platforms were benefiting from major increases in online ordering at the end of the day it was a challenge for Venues to continue paying commissions on dwindling revenue streams. Some Venues donated their Kitchen Facilities to support Community Groups in preparing Food Packs for the disadvantaged, elderly or even the Front line Emergency Service Staff (Big Thanks and Clap for the great work done by you all - its appreciated).
DO consider adding your own online Ordering system to manage your orders. The cost to implement a website integrated with its own Online Ordering System, Menu System and more can vary but would fall into a range of $300 - $800. This gives your customers more time to select from your menus. Having your own Online Ordering service supporting your Restaurant lets you manage your order both on desktop and through your Mobile Phone.
It is important when considering this option that you take into account the total cost of bringing Online ordering in house. You need to consider the delivery cost for in house services. When you do take all this into account draw up a spreadsheet to calculate the real cost savings over a given period of time with your current Delivery Platform Providers.
4. Offer Pick-Up and Delivery Options Offer your customers the choice of picking up orders or getting them delivered by your own inhouse team. You can also offer pick-up as the only option.
Pick-up: Enabling the pick-up only option is easy. Set the desired hours and days you currently offer service. Let your users know how long to expect their orders to be ready to avoid queues.
Delivery: You can help people who have difficulty leaving their homes. Review your present delivery areas and set them up accordingly. Add an expected delivery time to manage customers' expectations.
5. Pause Reservations and Booking Systems Pause your reservation system when not in use. When paused, the Reservations widget will remain visible, however, guests will not be able to complete a booking.
6. Accept Secure Online Payments DO consider letting customers pay and tip with all major credit cards.
DO promote contactless payment by encouraging online payments or, if possible, using a contactless card-reader. Be sure to check that a payment provider has been enabled so payments are completed successfully. Tip:Select the Tip on card checkbox to allow customers to add a tip to their credit card payment. 7. Enable Express Checkout and Future Orders Set up flexible ordering by offering express checkout for your regular customers. For customers who are planning ahead, you can take orders up to 7 days in advance. Tips:
When setting up future orders, keep in mind the "To" is the earliest a customer can order and "From" is the furthest in advance of order completion. This feature will take into account the days you offer pick-up/delivery.
To allow same day orders, adjust the Day to minutes or hours.
8. Manage Phone Orders Enabling Phone Ordering lets you place orders and manage them for pick-up and delivery directly. This should also be integrated into your Card Payment Processing.
So there are some small changes that some Outlets have adopted throughout Australia to evolve into a new streamlined and aware venue of the COVID-19 era.
We look forward to hearing more ideas to share...