Updated: May 4
It's been nearly 5-months since the U.S. was hit with a Federally mandated quarantine order for more than 330 million US residents. And despite some kickback from each individual State, by the end of March 2020, most states decided it was safer to close shop. Now since the enforcement of the quarantine, no industry has gone unharmed and the restaurant industry is near the top of that list.
Regardless if a situation is good or bad, the lessons that we learn will come from the experience and Covid-19 is one heck of an experience!!
Most of us are powerless to do anything about the current situation so our only option is to watch and wait. Well.... sorta..... we actually think now is a great time to learn how to operate under pressure, explore new ideas and be more resilient!
So with that being said, here are a couple of ideas that we believe should survive well after Covid-19 is gone.
Barcodes and Digital Menus
In response to Covid-19, all restaurants were forced to take a look at how they do business and make changes that would help prevent the spread of the disease. The use of barcodes to replace the customer menus was one of the most notable changes!
Allowing users to access your menu via barcodes makes a lot of sense in this day and age when almost 90% of the U.S. population has a mobile device that can access the internet. Yes, we understand that some people would prefer the good old fashioned paper or plastic menu but consider this. A barcode can do more than just promote your menu, it can help you better understand who your customers are, where they come from and why they decided to visit you in the first place. In addition, those little barcodes can give your customers access to a full suite of customized features that can make their experience at your restaurant a bit more entertaining, and here's how.
Barcodes simply provide access to a website and the barcodes are fairly easy to make. Now all you have to do is redirect your barcode to the decision tree and let the data start rolling in. For example:
Events coming up at your restaurant
Social Media signups
Email signups for coupons and promotions
To Go Revenue
If your restaurant had a bit of to-go success during the shutdown period, welcome to the Big League! We've personally witnessed far too many restaurants lose out on thousands of dollars in potential to-go orders simply because "it's not what they do".
The larger restaurant chains have known for a least the last decade that catering to curbside pickup can provide a real bump in sales. Even before the pandemic, you would see parking lanes transformed into convenient parking spaces for these to-go patrons.
In 2019 Dominoes Pizza generated $3.62 billion dollars in annual revenue. Papa Johns reported $1.62 billion during the same year while Uber Eats reported $1.4 billion. In addition, statistics show that more than 60% of US households will order delivery or takeout at least once per week even before Covid-19.
Still not convinced that people will get out to pick up their order? The vast majority of the fast-food industry sales will come from pickup orders and in 2019 the QSR industry reported $273 billion in total revenue.
We obviously can throw statistics at you all day but to make a long story short..... restaurants should invest more time, money and effort into the to-go business of their operation!
So in short, we all can learn lessons from anything that's thrown at us, we just can't give up!