The impact of COVID-19 on brands and consumers has been swift and drastic, with a new reality altering all parts of everyday life. Restaurants have found themselves on the front lines, with many wondering how to best reassure customers.
The situation is quickly developing, but the one thing we do know is that Order for Pickup is not only an option, but in many cases, the only option to serve your customers and possibly save your business. The good news is that Order for Pickup is also the most profitable channel.
Over just the last few weeks, our survey data showed a 2X increase in the number of consumers planning to use delivery and Order for Pickup services, while dining rooms are closed. Highlighting an opportunity, with many consumers still committed to supporting their favorite local places.
The thing is, to make it work, customers must trust you when they order. They need to feel comfortable when ordering and picking up. Is my food safe? How many people are on-site? Are employees washing their hands? How often do they sanitize? According to Datassential, over 45% of consumers currently put “clean and sanitary” as their top concern when choosing a restaurant.
To build this trust it is critical to communicate loudly with customers. If you’re not communicating boldly enough, customers will shy away and go to restaurants they trust more.
The better you can make customers feel about their own safety and that of their food, the more likely you will stand out with new and loyal customers. It will be what gives your business a chance to survive now and in the long-term.
So it is critical to reassure customers and explain the restaurant policies around high-frequency handwashing, social distancing and other required health measures.
Here are a few things you can do immediately:
Share with customers that you’re open and what is being done to keep them healthy. Leverage all the available channels to communicate your updated policies and procedures. Use Facebook or Nextdoor, send emails or texts, update your website and include in-app notifications. Try offering incentives or discounts to entice customers into ordering so they can test the experience for themselves. Remind customers you are local, an active part of the community and understand their concerns.
Almost 38% of consumers surveyed would be motivated to use Order for Pickup, during this crisis, when combined with a discount.
Operators also need to highlight policy changes that are happening on-premise. Increase on-site signage, designate employees to guide customers and make social distancing changes. Communicate how each location is reducing seating or increasing spacing between places to stand. Tell customers what steps are being taken to minimize the handling of each order among employees. All of these are necessary and will help build trust for customers who have placed orders.
We also recommend the next segment in the Jolt Webinar Series:
Date: Tuesday, March 31st
Time: 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET
Limiting contact is also critical. Make sure to accept only online payments and add hand sanitizers for customers and employees. Find ways to support your business without customers needing to come to the restaurant, like offering curbside takeout, or contactless delivery. Many restaurants are selling gift cards for later use or even providing guests with a “digital tip jar,” where guests can send money to support the restaurant’s staff instead of ordering, if that is what they prefer.
With 51% of consumers still planning on ordering from restaurants, now is the time to build trust, by communicating more transparently than ever, to protect your brand, reassure customers and keep the business alive for now and the future.
We are here to help. Rakuten Ready is available to talk through our technology or just help guide your brand with advice.