How Restaurants Can Stay Connected to Customers During COVID-19

With customers confined to their homes and restaurants operating on take-out or delivery systems, the personal connection that comes with eating in a restaurant can feel lost. As a restaurant owner, interacting with customers during these uncertain times is crucial to maintaining and building strong relationships, as well as providing the great customer service that sets your establishment apart.

Luckily, social media gives you and your restaurant a unique opportunity to interact and connect with your strong customer base through online platforms, and even generate new business. Customers are searching to feel that connection online, with 64% of consumers wanting brands to connect with them. So, here are some great tips on how to use social media during the quarantine, so you can stay connected while your customers stay home!

Weekly Promotions 

If your restaurant provides take-out or delivery food options, offering a weekly promotion on a menu item is a sure way to get customers connecting with your restaurant! Posting these deals on your social media will drive customers to your page, excited and hungry to check out your latest offer for their next meal.

Using Facebook or Instagram, you can post a tasty-looking image of the dish with a caption that offers customers a discount or promo. This will grab your followers’ attention and influence their decision to order from your restaurant, because 54% of diners will choose the restaurant that offers a discount or coupon for their next meal! For example, if one of your specialties is tacos, you can offer a “Taco Tuesday” percentage off discount, and with an appealing visual of some fresh tacos combined with a tempting discount, your customers won’t hesitate to pick up the phone and order.

Staff Spotlights

This quarantine phase provides your restaurant a great opportunity to feature your hardworking employees and recognize their talents! Your followers and customers on social media will love the personal connection and the chance to learn more about the friendly faces behind their favorite spots.

Once a week, post a photo of a member of your staff (with their permission, of course!) in action. Let your customers get to know them, their story, why they enjoy working at your bar or restaurant, and their favorite meal from the menu.

This friendly post will help your customers feel like part of the team, and they will love the personal connection that comes with learning more about your all-star employees.

Regular Updates 

A lot can be going on behind the scenes at your restaurant, and it’s important to keep customers in the loop! Your followers will love to see what’s in store for them when they can visit your restaurant or bar, and during their time at home, checking up on your social media page will become part of their daily routine.  

Your restaurant’s followers will thrive on aesthetically pleasing photos of new menu items, skillful new creations, or any new interior transformations from East Coast Chair & Barstool! Even if your bar or restaurant is spring cleaning or donating food to the community, your regular activity on social media will keep your restaurant’s name fresh in the minds of your customers and show your commitment to serving them.

Food Features 

One way to stay connected with customers during this time is to post content that features a beloved dish or ingredient from your menu in a way that’s new and exciting to your customers. They’ll love the fresh, creative ideas and might even try experimenting for themselves!

Try choosing one item from your menu to feature on Facebook or Instagram about once a week. Shoot a simple video with a member of your staff talking about the selected ingredient or meal, the health benefits, and show them cooking with it. Allow your staff member the creativity of making something new from the ingredient or putting a new twist on a classic meal!

Creating a how-to or recipe video is another great way to make your customers feel connected to your restaurant staff and your menu, even while stuck at home. It gives them the opportunity to experiment and cook like their favorite place to eat. Plus, with the average engagement rate at 6.13% for video content, they’re more likely to interact with your post online!

Engage & Save 

Interacting with customers on social media might not be the customer service your restaurant prides itself on, but it’s certainly a great way to maintain the connection your guests love! Online social platforms are designed to open a two-way conversation that allows you to engage with your customers just as much as they engage with your restaurant.

Offering a discount to customers who share your posts, tag their friends in the comments, follow your page, or feature your restaurant in their latest post will boost engagement with your restaurant and help drive traffic to your page, which will ultimately generate some take-out order sales.

Be sure to respond each time a customer interacts with your page to make them feel like more of a friend than a consumer. They’ll appreciate the personal engagement and feel connected while they’re at home!

Conclusion 

Building and maintaining great relationships with customers is a pillar to any successful restaurant or bar. Customers love feeling connected and in touch, and 64% of consumers say their loyalty increases when they feel connected. But when your restaurant customers are stuck at home, staying connected can be a challenge.

Luckily, social media gives restaurants and bars a unique opportunity to interact and engage with customers with new content that they will love! Keep your customers up-to-date on the latest news, give them the chance to get to know your staff, offer some great deals, and keep them engaged to maintain a strong connection and generate business during these uncertain times.

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