The restaurant industry suffered a lot during the pandemic. Around 110,000 restaurants closed as of December, and 2.1 million lost their jobs from February 2020 to November 2020. Despite this, small businesses remain optimistic, especially with the vaccine’s ongoing release in different parts of the United States.
If you’re a restaurant owner who’s planning to reopen the restaurant after the pandemic, you should consider some things before finalizing your decision. Here are the things to take into account when you’re reopening a restaurant after the pandemic.
Check Your Market
The first thing you need to do is to check your market. You should remember that the situation has changed and that your market might not be the same as it was before the pandemic. Some things you can check are the places around the restaurant that can generate the market for you, including a tourist attraction, a mall, or a cinema.
While movie theaters’ fate is still up in the air, a mall or tourist attraction can be a good demand generator for your restaurant. You should also look into expanding your market to offer more than just dine-in services. You can include delivery services to take advantage of the market of people keen on having food delivered to them.
Expand Your Customer Base
Another thing you can do is to expand your customer base. You can do this by either looking into attracting the customers of your competition or simply tapping into another demographic. For instance, if you used to cater to the fine-dining crowd, you should consider attracting the casual dining crowd.
Expanding your operating hours also allows you to tap into a market that you might have overlooked before the pandemic. For instance, if you only opened in the evening, you can attract the lunch crowd by opening the restaurant for lunch.
Moreover, a take-out counter also gives you another selling point for your products. If your products need a longer preparation time, you can set it up in such a way that customers can pre-order and pick up their orders at a later time.
Check Your Menu
At this point, you might want to review your menu and try to see if you need to remove or add items to increase your market. If you’re planning to have a delivery service or a take-out counter, you can add items that can be easily prepared. This will reduce the waiting time for your customers to receive their orders.
Similarly, you might have to remove any items that weren’t quite popular in the past. You can replace these items with better dishes that can appeal to your customers. There might have been some people who want the items you’re planning to remove. To appease them, you can offer something similar but is appealing to a bigger part of your target market.
Since you’re reviewing your menu, you should also evaluate your suppliers. You should look for a supplier who can give you the lowest price without sacrificing the ingredients’ quality. Moreover, you should negotiate better terms for the restaurant.
Evaluate Your Employees
If the restaurant closed for a long time, some of your former employees might have already found a job somewhere else. Due to this, you should check who is available to work with you again. But if you need to hire new people, you can use employee background check services to ensure they are as good as they indicated on their resumes. Using the services allows you to focus on ensuring your employees’ training program focuses on productivity and teamwork.
When you reopen the restaurant, you shouldn’t expect the crowd to be at the same level as before the pandemic started. Due to this, you should also look for ways to save, especially when it comes to the payroll. You don’t have to get a full complement of waiters and cooks. You can start with a few people and work to increase staffing once business picks up.
Market the Business
Marketing the business is quite important to ensure your target market knows that you already reopened. It also allows you to tap into a new market targeting the new items on your menu.
Since nearly everyone is online, it’s a good time for you to increase your online presence. Setting up a website and a social media account is a good start. You can also advertise through social media or use search engine marketing to reach your intended customers.
The restaurant industry experienced a downtrend during the pandemic. But if you play your cards right, you might find yourself on the top of the industry once the situation has improved.