Customers still want a desire for great value with enhanced food safety, the new ambience with food. I believe products or services sold need to have this part of their marketing and sales strategy and its more important than ever to make your consumer feel safe with their purchasing solutions in this the age of COVID-19.
Whether it be via supply chain or distribution channels, transportation, back of house, or front of the house operations there will be nothing more important to the consumer as clear concise true communication. Including how you adhere to sanitation practices, food safety and COVID-19 safety regulations techniques.
Modes of Communication:
- Visuals work best- real time photos or current photos, videos, podcasts, YouTube and social media content
- Communicate what you want your image/brand to be known for (e.g. photo of a chef with their mask below their nose ☹)
- Be aware of showing truths and transparencies
- Using #opentable, #yelp, #google, websites and partnering with third party deliver website/mobile sites (grub hub, UberEATS, etc.) in order for your consumer to see the beautiful food, smallware, and plate presentation are and couple that with photos to show how outside and inside dining venues are set up. I know that I look for visuals-photos, video to show how are doing this and it helps decide my dining options. The surroundings, distance between tables, staff and guests wearing masks, heating/ventilation set ups, and where to check in when you get there. Esp. if outside dining don’t make me go inside to check in. Make it easier to navigate so that quick food/dining decisions can be made.
- Daily and/or weekly communications via social media and websites about the owners/managers awareness of current events and how they are handling it speaks volumes to the consumer
After speaking with many consumers, I believe the facilities that show this transparency on an ongoing basis are more likely to get people’s business who have been skeptics and will yield a following post COVID-19.
Another idea that I have started to see on retail online shopping sites is the better use of technology. On-site stores such as wayfair are coming up with providing best-in-class technology (Ad Tech & Customer Intelligence Engineering @ Wayfair), that enables customers to find and discover the products they’ll love. Why not more online personalized experiences with foodservice?
Business partners (manufacturers, consultants, dealers and reps) can also join forces with you to help manage missed opportunities for sales and loyalty from your consumers and take the time to access popular menus items, menu mix and adjust so that you are putting your best foot forward. Check your products and equipment and adjust accordingly to the relevancy to these times. Focus on what is needed versus only what you have in inventory.
Remember we should focus on the known and not unknown. Seeing how others are reimaging themselves, and sharing views from other industries (lodging, gaming, retail, cruises). Whether it is by expanded of dining spaces with outside dining spaces, using windows as walls to open up the feeling of Zen, self-cleaning bathrooms, (enhanced food safety strategies/techniques, robotics, contactless technology. If we use optimism, and inspiration in hospitality now we will be ready for a transformation. During these times keep in mind, realignment and simplification of operations to leverage your strengths.