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How Restaurants Should Communicate Reopening with Customers

No matter what, don't lose your brand voice.

Photo by @newyork_eyes

After the restaurant industry scrambled to implement operational changes that would comply with new social distancing rules and keep revenue coming in, we’re faced with what seems like the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, as states, counties, and cities begin lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening dining rooms, restaurants are once again ready to quickly shift operations and get back on track.

Meanwhile, as these turbulent times unfold, customers still have many questions and wonder if it’s safe to eat out again. It can seem daunting for a brand to communicate during this uncertain time but, simply put, the solution is clear and concise communication. In these unprecedented times, consumers are searching for an authentic brand that will, ultimately, show them your goal is to earn their trust and adapt alongside them.

Share a concise message on safety protocol.

First thing is first: safety has to be the main message shared, accompanied by a straightforward strategy of what the business plans to do to help keep communities safe.

Be conscientious that people are going to be hesitant and a little afraid. Enticing them with a promotion or discount offer will not change that. Lead your conversation with safety protocol and they’ll come to you when they’re ready.

Have a crisis plan in place.

A great place to start is by training your staff on how to properly respond to customer questions and potentially prevent complaints from escalating. Some customers still expect the same fast service they got used to pre-pandemic despite restaurants working under very different circumstances. Meet these concerns with messaging that is evergreen, adapting it for social media comments and online reviews, as well.

Don’t lose your brand voice.

While it’s still important to clearly communicate necessary safety protocols, restaurants should feel comfortable to do so their way—even if that means having a little bit of fun. We could all use it.

Be open to feedback.

Which brings me to my final point: be open to feedback! This is new terrain for customers, as well, and, as they explore reopening alongside your brand, they’re bound to have some feedback. Be open to this and provide proper channels of communication, such as online surveys.

Marketing Reopening Checklist

  • Let your customers know your reopening timeline and communicate any setbacks or changes with them via email, social media, and your website.

  • Keep promoting gift cards via online ordering and in-house.

  • Start creating social media images and content you can easily roll out automatically once you’re up and running again to save time. 

We’ll be sharing more tips about how to market your business during this time through our newsletter and on our social channels at @4theinsta

Have a question? Send us an email or a DM!

Stay positive, stay productive, and most importantly, stay connected!

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