Bring Guests Back to Indoor Dining
As restaurants get ready to reopen at full capacity this summer, they find themselves in charge of a job they’ve never had before: Convincing customers to feel ready for it, too. Sanitation, health and safety measures, and keeping up with new technology will all take a lot of time and effort. Still, just doing the work isn’t enough. Your guests need to feel secure before they’re ready for indoor dining.
Thankfully, some of the work is out of your hands. Regularly, thoroughly sanitizing the restaurant, as well as employees washing more frequently, is common practice. Mask requirements and face shields for servers protect everyone. All of these practices are integrated into day-to-day operations already.
Nonetheless, different states have different capacity restrictions. This will continue to affect public perception about just how safe indoor dining really is. Here’s how to get them comfortable returning to your restaurant.
Indoor Dining in Your Restaurant
How can you make the dining experience as safe as possible moving forward? Continue all the same precautions you took before, like social distance, plastic barriers between tables, and arrows on the floor to direct guests. If you’re only using part of the service floor due to capacity caps, convert the unused section to a pickup area so patrons can safely get takeout. All of this immediately identifies you as a business that’s cognizant of their health, from the minute they walk in.
Continue taking temperatures, too. Signs in the windows will tell customers to come back later if they have any signs of fever, but a thermometer double-checks for everyone’s peace of mind. Also get their phone number and name, for contact tracing if there’s an unexpected outbreak—and this will also help round out your customer profiles, too. The better you know your guests, the more successfully you can make sales.
Better Customer Communication
Transparency is the best way to ease any lingering fears they may have. Open channels for direct communication, so they can always come with questions or concerns. Especially since we’re still learning more about COVID-19 and effective recovery, they’ll need to trust you before they feel comfortable with full service. Use your socials to tell them about when you’re closing and why, summer hours of operation, and anything new they can expect to see.
Reach out to your customers where it will stand out. What’s the best way to communicate with guests?
- Post prominently on your website about the changes you’re making with recovery in mind.
- Email newsletters go directly to their inbox, so there’s a much higher open rate.
- Use social media to get the word out. Even creating fun promotions, like a countdown to the return of indoor dining, will entice customers back.
- Put up signs in the store that thoroughly explain your safety precautions.
Directly connecting with your guests is the best way to ease any concerns they may have. Ease their minds by committing to a safe and transparent experience.
Touch-Free Tech and Indoor Dining
After the past year, people got comfortable with contact-free ordering. Especially during restaurant recovery, they’ll continue utilizing channels like curbside pickup, drive-thrus, contact-free delivery and more. Modern restaurant technology makes it easy: Invest in Point of Sales, Self-Service Kiosks, mobile apps and QR codes for better, contact-free indoor dining.
Innovation, adaptation, openness will guide restaurants through what’s sure to be a tumultuous recovery period. Investing in loyalty programs will convince people to come back to indoor dining at your restaurant, where open communication and cutting-edge tech will then provide a modernized, superior customer experience.
Answers, advice and everything about the restaurant business.