Restaurant Business: Strategies to adapt to the new normal

Hospitality is one of the sectors with the most challenges to face in the way of the pandemic. Because of its nature of service, often located in a specific place to which the customer moves, the challenge to quote you in the restaurant or bar can be complex. Especially in the short term.

In order to improve the 2020 season, we have compiled nine interesting practices to overcome this crisis with recovery in mind during 2021. Having an eye on the future will be essential.

Boost your training

The Covid-19 health crisis has added more uncertainty to an already dynamic and changing sector. In this context, taking advantage of the situation to promote training with specific programs aimed at gastronomy professionals is essential. On the one hand, it allows you to grow your kitchen with new techniques and on the other, it allows you to anticipate trends and know some management tools that are more necessary than ever. In addition, programs such as the Master’s Degree in Gastronomy and Culinary Management of Gasma offers you the ideal framework to reflect on your business thanks to the participation in the program of chefs, managers and entrepreneurs of reference.

Organize food events

The organization of gastronomic events is a consolidated practice in the hospitality sector. Events such as Degustatapas or the Official Tapas and Pinchos Championship of Spain, both with mahou’s collaboration, have been successful in previous initiatives.

However, a municipal body or sponsor is not always necessary. The premises themselves can organize each other to set highlights and attract customers. That said, being careful with the new capacity. To prevent consumers from going from place to place to try everything, an alternative would be to exchange tapas between premises, rather than people.

Apply menu engineering

Menu engineering consists of analyzing the profitability and popularity of dishes, prioritizing those whose cost/benefit is most profitable or the most popular. The idea is to take advantage of the tickets of recent months to find out what is asked for more and with what we maximize the profit.

Once we have this information, we will be able to redesign the menu to highlight those dishes that interest us and our customers the most.

Let’s say we have a bar where we serve a large selection of tapas and rations, with croquettes as a star dish. One possibility would be to increase its variety and diversity, offering croquettes of various types. Another, create ration steps based on the number of croquettes so that the most cost-effective option for the user is to order 7 instead of 4, to give an example.

Prioritize open spaces, if possible

Studies in China, which is already reopening its activity, show how some habits have changed. One of the most outstanding in hospitality is the prioritization of the terraces over the interior space, as well as the most open interior space. During these days we have seen all kinds of strategies in this regard:

  • Some hotel associations have sued their respective town halls for increasing the area and schedule of the terraces. These  can  be an  interesting  attraction.
  • Some town halls, such as in Gandía (Valencia), have suspended terrace fees and increased in size. As a  municipal  competence,  each  consistory will  have  to  decide.
  • In other cases, hoteliers have chosen to innovate and increase the distance between diners by reducing the number of tables. At least during the transition months to normal.
  • In addition, exterior windows are being transformed to provide services such as take away and thus attract the customer who prefers not to enter an enclosed space.
  • Terraces, interior courtyards or gardens will be key elements over the coming months. At the same time, items such as take away windows or outdoor bars may be more attractive to customers who have an enclosed interior space. Elements such as bulkheads are still being shuffled, although there is no official guideline on this.

Union makes strength: hotel associations

Hotel associations will be a key part of materializing proposals like the ones above. Historically, associations and collectives have had more bargaining force than each of the companies separately.

Entrepreneurs form committees and associations not only to negotiate new conditions, but also to innovate together. And to be together in complicated situations like the current one. As you can show, the ‘Save the hospitality sector’ initiative, promoted by Gonzalo G. Colomer, president of Bentley’s Burger group, and with the collaboration of Mahou San Miguel.

In addition, knowing which strategy the local next door will follow usually benefit both, and the reason is in the ‘cluster strategy’ (grouping). For the customer to identify our area as a hotel space is key to many businesses that would counterintuitively lose customers if they closed the competition. Hence, now more than ever, “pineapple” between premises and with the rest of the value chain is an essential element.

Adjust  purchases

José María Rubio, president of the Spanish Federation of Hospitality and Restaurant Business (now Hospitality of Spain), commented that 60% of the declines are generated at the time of the purchase forecast.

The data was detached from the recommended report ‘5 Keys to improve the day-to-day life of the hoteliers’, of Unilever Food Solutions, and was especially careful in the calculation of the average ticket or the calculation of the cost per plate (scandal).

Do you have an online marketing budget?

Many microcompanies do not have an online marketing budget. However, in a world where virtually everyone searches the internet before attending a place, it becomes increasingly important to be able to launch ads in environments like Facebook, Twitter or Google, or simply have a website. To do this, it is important to consider which monthly item we will dedicate.

Have the customer give you a 10

If our virtual presence is supported on platforms such as Google Maps or Tripadvisor, we want to rate them high. And if the goal is to reach the coveted five stars, we can ask loyal customers for a positive review. Either through cards with links or QR codes or directly talking about the application in question.

Loyalty cards

Loyalty cards are an old but functional strategy. It can be as basic as a card where we are sealing consumptions or as complex as the development of an app. The advantage of this form of loyalty is that the customer earns ‘points’ by going to your place. Possible ideas might include:

  • “The tenth is paid for by us.” When the customer has accumulated 9 drinks over time, the tenth is at the expense of the venue.
  • “5% discount on the next consumption”. If a customer spends 10 euros today, they will be issued a bonus of 0.5 euros for another day.
  • “+25% on the lid for frequent customers”. When a customer brings a ticket less than a week ago, they access more generous rations..

Source: Excelencias Gourmet