In March, when businesses in the U.S. were starting to shut down or go remote, a great storm of change enveloped our country. The pandemic has forced many businesses to conform and adapt to survive. Restaurants have since evolved to better tread these rough waters until life can go back to some air of normalcy.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for many in the restaurant industry: forced shutdowns, easing of capacity restrictions and re-tightening of same. However, there are many restaurants that are booming, especially a number of fast-food restaurants who were already set for pick-up service and had a strong loyalty program with their customers. Domino’s sales increased 16% in the last quarter, while Wingstop and Popeye’s grew over 25% during the same period. The common denominators in these successes is pick-up service and marketing. Many casual dining restaurants have added curbside pick-up and delivery services. The latter often via companies like Grubhub and Uber Eats. Even having restaurants going digital with their menus.
Those who are succeeding in this industry have enhanced their websites, added delivery and increased frequency of promotions. Those are the most obvious ways. In addition, some are focusing on promoting themselves through social media, email, and even calling their customers (who have called in previously to place orders). Some foods do not travel well so some have limited their pick-menu. Adding product is often the way to increase sales, so many have actually increased their offerings, giving the variety seekers reasons to call again.
Rich Hollander is a retail expert with over 40 years in the industry.