The restaurant industry is going through a bit of a rough time. The cost of labor has gone up, and the new Omicron variant has just started to explode. While some restaurants were able to adapt in the midst of the pandemic, many had to wait it out. So what can restaurants do to survive now? If you want your restaurant to stay open, these five steps will help you get there.
Offer Outdoor Seating
One of the major lasting effects that people will carry into 2022 is germaphobia, which is a personal fear of germs. With a new variant still around, many do not feel comfortable being close to others in a confined setting or touching objects that may have been touched beforehand due to this fear of germs. Outdoor seating and digital menus became a hit for restaurants in middle of the pandemic and allowed them to continue operating while many had to wait for conditions to get better. Outdoor seating gives people the comfort that they are safe (or safer) at your restaurant.
Although the pandemic has had its ups in downs in terms of how bad the spread is, restaurants cannot go wrong with outdoor seating. It would be a wise investment for any restaurant to obtain some extra tables, seating, and other necessary equipment to expand their seating. If this is not possible though, the second best option would be to set up good airflow with open windows, fans, and very spaced out tables. Even when the pandemic dies down again, playing off of the habits people have acquired over the past two years will place your restaurant at an advantage.
Use an Order Voice-bot or Phone Order Outsourcing
Restaurant employees are extremely stressed out and overworked due to the staffing shortage caused by the pandemic. The staffing shortage especially hurts restaurants that have a large portion of revenue come in through phone orders, since employees have to focus on in-store needs as well. Employees also have to take extra precautions in store when abiding by new COVID rules, which takes up extra time.
Some restaurants have turned to using a voice-bot to take phone orders and send them to the restaurant. Using a voice-bot is a very effective solution and cost friendly once it is fully implemented, but it is difficult to develop and can typically take a long time. Others have turned to human Phone Order Outsourcing, which basically the human version of the voice-bot. Instead of a robot, order-taking specialist at a restaurant call center answer the restaurant’s phone orders and send the order to their POS system to be processed. Some restaurant call centers, such as OrderSolutions, even provide up-selling services and other special offers for their restaurant clients. See more on OrderSolutions here.
Hop on the Food Truck Trend
The trend of food trucks has been in full swing. This new way of dining will help your business stay relevant by offering a quick, fast-paced, and casual dining experience. It also plays off the whole “outdoor seating” point made above. It gives customers a way to feel safe by eating outside instead of in a small restaurant.
Besides more COVID protective advantages, food trucks really help strengthen restaurant brands by expanding their presence. In particular, food trucks are appealing to millennials as they provide an opportunity for them to eat outside on their lunch break. They're also a good way to increase revenue during slow times when you're not open for business. This trend is definitely one that you should tap into if you're looking to expand your restaurant's customer base and develop some additional marketing for your brand. Your food truck is an advertisement on wheels, and people cannot just swipe it away like they can on their phones. Having a travelling, physical presence is one of the strongest things restaurants can have right now.