Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Restaurants and bars are slowly beginning to open but information is still constantly changing. As someone who does social media for these establishments, I know how overwhelming the past couple months have been. I've provided a few tips to help your biz stay relevant and keep your customers updated during these unprecedented times.
WTF IS HAPPENING?
A question many people are thinking, the goal is to not have them thinking it about your bar/restaurant. Since you're probably busy, ya know, running a biz during a pandemic, I'll make this quick.
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS
STAY ACTIVE: You don't need to post on your feed every day if it's not sustainable. But you should AT LEAST be posting on Instagram stories every day you're open for service. Include current hours, menus, contact information, delivery information, and anything else that should be relevant for someone to order from you.
SHOW WHAT YOUR PROCESS LOOKS LIKE: Are you offering curbside? What should people expect when they arrive at your place? Show them in stories, pictures, posts, and make sure your staff is following CDC guidelines while you're doing so.
KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS UPDATED: Be transparent about your plans moving forward. If you plan to open soon, let people know. Will you be taking reservations only? Will you be offering curbside for those who aren't ready to dine-in? Keep your Instagram bio updated at all times with relevant info.
STAY ENGAGED WITH LOCAL ACCOUNTS: Every city has local sharing accounts, ex: in Louisville, a couple we have are @thingstolou and @hellolouisville. These accounts are great about re-sharing local information. Tag them in relevant information so they can help spread the word about what your biz is up to.
STAY ENGAGED WITH FB GROUPS: Louisville also has a fantastic FB group called "Louisville City Dining Club." This group allows owners and customers to both exchange helpful information like specials, hours, and places to try. If you are a bar/restaurant owner you need to be in this group and/or look for a similar one in your city and engage accordingly.
GET SOME GREAT PHOTOS: Photographers like myself are wanting to help right now. You can offer a trade for some beautiful images or encourage customers to take photos (and use the good ones with the proper crediting).
MORE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY
SELL GIFT CARDS AT A DISCOUNT: Many people are still hesitant to dine-in, but want to continue supporting local. Ex: you can do a special where gift cards are 20% off for a limited time.
FAMILY MEALS: Family meals are a great concept for parents to wrap their head around. This should be more cost efficient than getting separate meals for each person in the household.
SET UP A BODEGA: Setting up some standard household items (paper goods, coffee, snacks, etc.) keeps people out of grocery stores and giving back to locals businesses.
OFFER DELIVERY TO AVOID THIRD PARTY FEES: If this can be a sustainable option for you, it's a great way to cut back on a few fees even if the delivery range is small.
OFFER COCKTAIL KITS/READY TO POUR DRINKS: There's many advantages to being able to offer cocktails to-go. Take this as a time to roll out some new drinks, you can offer pairings with food, or you can switch up what you offer each week.
SELL MERCH: Have etched glasses catching dust? Now is a time to clear some space and make some money. Talk to your local printers about having branded shirts (or masks) available as well.
LIVE/ONLINE VIDEO ENTERTAINMENT: You can introduce staff members, highlight unknown ingredients, how-to’s on crafting a cocktail or one of your well known dishes, the origin story of your business and/or menu items, and more. Anything to keep your customers engaged.
KEEP OFFERING SPECIALS: Just because we're in a pandemic doesn't mean you can't be rolling out food/drink specials. Make sure you give plenty of notice of what they will be so people can plan ahead.
WRITTEN BY JESS AMBURGEY HELPING RESTAURANTS CRAFT DROOL-WORTHY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS. @jess.amburgey