Here’s Why Restaurants with Strong Brands Will Continue to Delight Customers This Year
Restaurants have had a rough go in 2020 – with constant changes to safety regulations and massive ebbs and flows of demand throughout the past several months, instability has come to flavor the business. At the same time, customers are beginning to find ways to adapt to our new normal and establish new habits, comfort levels, and methods of engaging with restaurants. Restaurant marketing should evolve alongside customer expectations so that customers are kept in the loop about how things have changed, what reopening means, and what and how the experience will feel (and taste!)
For restaurant owners, customer trust is the north star and should guide all decisions and transitions. All newsletters, social media posts, and website updates that discuss how a restaurant is adhering to safety guidelines should act as a protective message that can frame a customer’s expectations and prevent disappointment. Surprises – unless they involve free stuff – are not what diners want when they come to you for a meal. Messaging needs to be orderly, professional, and honest – and should be echoed in the physical restaurant space with signage. Restaurant staff should also be able to clearly explain how and why policies are being used. A sense of humble authority will bring your customers comfort and security. The more a restaurant can visibly reinforce this message, the better.
With that in mind, restaurants are brands – and brands are successful when they have consistent, unique personas that make them special and memorable. Perhaps there’s room in your brand to include some of your transformed operations and protocols around cleanliness and social distancing. Bringing some levity and playfulness to the table never hurts – especially in these heavy times.
Finally – as exciting as it is to reopen a dining room, it is important not to oversell it – both because customers may grow tired of hearing about it and because (like it or not) the situation may change as the pandemic continues to unfold. A cautious, measured approach that celebrated re-openings without going overboard is more likely to excite your customers.
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