The impact of COVID-19 has catapulted a restaurant’s need for a delivery service into the forefront. If your restaurant has always prided itself in your dine-in service, directing your business to an online delivery model can be overwhelming.
While this shift might be straightforward for restaurants or fast-casual businesses who already have a delivery service in their arsenal, the same rules might not apply to high end, fine dining brands, or restaurant bars who are completely new to delivery.
How do you bring the restaurant’s hospitality experience to a diner’s home? A restaurant marketer plays a big role in ensuring a brand sticks to its ethos, keeps diners coming back, and stays afloat. Here’s a checklist of best practices for marketing your delivery during COVID-19:
1. Ace your product
While you might not be able to replace the 360-degree experience of hosting your diner, you can try to replicate some elements of your unique dine-in service. This isn’t restricted to food quality alone.
- Consider food safety and presentation of dish components: Raw items might not be as palatable after the journey it takes from your restaurant to the diner. Ensure that you separate sauces, broths, and garnishes, so that items maintain their bite.
- Personalise your service: Slip in a ‘Thank you’ message in the meal packaging, addressing the diner by name.
- Incorporate interactivity: Include an information card with instructions on serving, reheating, and plating. Include a breakdown of ingredients and inspirations behind the dish to make up for the lack of dining host who does the same at the table.
- Ensure the packaging reflects your restaurant’s brand: You’re literally sending the diner an image of what your restaurant stands for. While packaging can never replace the art of plating, first impressions are still important. Top tip: Ditch the plastic.
- Simplify the process: With the right delivery partner, make it easier for your diner to search for your product, place an order, and have it delivered to their doorstep with ease. Chope’s new beta delivery service, Chope On, can do this for you.
2. Extend your products
Beyond dishes from your food menu, what else can you provide? Make the most out of your kitchen and produce by adding new line items that can serve as pantry staples.
- Fresh produce: If your restaurant has an in-house garden, consider selling your produce, highlighting why it’s special.
- Pantry extras: Make the most of what’s already in the kitchen, such as homemade bread, preserves, jams, sauces, or broths.
- Food platters: Create fuss-free packages and sets such as wine and cheese platters, charcuterie sets, or appetiser/mezze sets.
- Alcoholic beverages: Working exclusively with a small batch producer, or heritage maison? Offer these as an add-on to food items.
- Takeaway cocktails or DIY cocktail kit: You can still bring the bar experience to the comfort of your diner’s home. Whether you bottle them up or separate each component in ziplock bags, inject the craft behind the concoction in information cards to make your diner feel included in the process. Cocktail bar Jigger & Pony offers delivery of their drinks via Chope On, our beta service.
3. Create content for the right social media platform
Tailor your content to suit the platform. What works better for Instagram, and what draws diners to Facebook? When do you boost an Instagram story?
- Boost Instagram Stories: You only have 15 seconds to make a good impression. Heard of the thirst trap? Post images or videos that truly highlight the texture of your dishes so it tempts the diner into hitting that call-to-action button.
- Utilise Instagram posts: Get into the nitty-gritty of your delivery menu, with highlights, discounts, and how-tos.
- Update Instagram profile: Ensure you update this to include delivery availability and links.
- Engage in Facebook groups and Telegram channels: List your menus and offers on Facebook groups that rally support for restaurants, and keep an eye out for when your cuisine or service is mentioned so you can continue engaging directly with potential diner acquisitions.
- Have fun with it: Not every piece of content has to be tactical or promotional. Share behind-the-scenes kitchen snippets, recipes, ASMR videos, or even templates that diners can use and share — make your diner be the boost itself. Humpback and Regent Singapore provide great examples of this.
4. Tap into your diner database
Appeal to your most loyal diners who you trust, and who trust you. Be honest and transparent about the struggles your restaurant is going through — talk to them authentically as a person, as these are the folks who’ve been through your restaurant’s growth.
- Ensure an open channel of communication: Engage with feedback across all your platforms in a prompt manner.
- Tailor messages based on what diners have ordered before: POS integrations with your diner database would come in handy by housing order history. Use this opportunity to inform diners that these specific dishes are now available for delivery.
- Pivot your USPs temporarily: If your restaurant’s claim to fame has always revolved around the social aspects of dining, such as ‘best ambience’, ‘best service’, or ‘best buffets’, tweak the copy to highlight the inner workings of your kitchen and cuisine instead.
5. Revisit existing third party partners
Take this opportunity to revisit existing partnerships your restaurant currently has, whether it’s with third party applications, event venues, clubs, or memberships.
- Plug your delivery services into existing online third party platforms: On top of plugging your delivery offering on your website and social media, reach out to partners like us who will list your delivery offering so that you can reach more diners!
- Launch small-scale advocacy campaigns: Revisit your relationships with key opinion leaders by sending them deliveries with a small appeal to share your new service on their social media feeds.
- Tap into leftover marketing budget for public relations: Public relations personnel have taken to hosting online video tastings and events for media and bloggers, so try this out by yourself or with your existing public relations retainer. This will also give you a much needed “face time” with key media and bloggers.
Access our COVID-19 Resource Centre for restaurants, with guides, infographics, and advisories to equip you with managing and operating your restaurant.
Is your restaurant currently offering delivery services? Tell us about your experience — we’d like to help.