What do your customers want? This age-old problem has a simple solution: Pay attention to what questions they're asking. Major search trends reveal the answers that diners need when they're trying to decide on a restaurant. Whether you're offering dine-in, takeout, or delivery, your customers have questions, and you need to give them answers. What are the most frequently searched questions about restaurants in light of COVID-19, and how should you answer them?
Are you open?
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's important to make the answer crystal clear. Update your hours every place they appear online, including:
- Your website
- Google My Business listing
- Your mobile app
- Facebook and social media profiles
- Yelp page and other third party listings
Especially if your business has changed its hours of operation, it's important to keep prospective patrons informed about when they can visit your establishment or order items for takeout.
Even if they know you're open for business, customers might not be sure what "open" means right now. Make sure you also provide details about what kind of service you're currently offering: Curbside? Delivery? Takeout? Dine-in? All of the above?
Do you have outdoor seating?
People are interested in opportunities to eat outside and enjoy the fresh air. Dining al fresco has always been popular, but it's also a matter of health now. Outdoor dining has been recommended as a safer way for patrons to visit restaurants and bars during the ongoing pandemic. While the weather allows, it's appealing to a wide range of people.
Guidelines differ by regional areas for creating seating areas on sidewalks, streets and even parking lots. Make sure you know the rules, and then you can be creative on opening outdoor areas for your patrons to eat and drink. If you do have an outdoor area, make it a point to mention and communicate this on your online channels. People are absolutely searching for this information. It could be the factor that helps a family or couple decide to visit your business for dinner.
Long story short: If you have outdoor dining, be sure people know!
What policies do you have in place because of COVID-19?
This question is twofold. First, guests want to know what extra measures you're taking for health and safety. Mention policies like increased cleaning and sanitizing efforts, socially distanced tables, or takeout options. Guests also want to know about your mask policy. That way, they know what you expect from them when they're dining in or picking up a food order. It may be helpful to create a guide of each of these items and share it across your online presence. Make this information easy to find on your website to give customers peace of mind.
What's on your menu?
This question hasn't changed. People are looking specifically for your menus online! Upload digital versions of your menus to use on your website, Facebook, and beyond. That way, people can easily view what they can order for takeout, or what they can expect if they come to dine in. If you have a different menu for takeout, make sure it's clear which items guests can order to pick up and which are only available in the restaurant.
Can I order online?
Even better than having your menu available to view is giving customers the ability to order meals online directly. This eliminates the hassle of requiring staff to multi-task by taking orders on top of their usual tasks. It also reduces the likelihood of errors. Online ordering is also an opportunity to increase sales, since you can take multiple orders simultaneously. The last thing you need is guests calling to order, but your phone line is busy because your staff is on phone with another guest. Make prices and any fees visible so diners know what to expect upfront. By investing in an online ordering system, you can simplify your operations and increase your bottom line.
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Do you have other questions about how to navigate business since COVID-19? Get in touch with us to speak with one of our industry experts to find the best solutions for your operation.