As we've seen in the last few weeks the government mandated rules around social distancing and coronavirus prevention measures for businesses will be changing regularly going forward.
This could mean that some of these measures are loosened but it is not guaranteed that they will not be getting tightened back up again in the event of a spike in cases.
Even though the severity of the measures imposed will vary we can be confident that the types of rules that people will expect to be in place will remain more or less stable.
Let's see what are some of the changes a restaurant will be a expected to make to continue doing business in the new coronavirus paradigm and how your proactive attitude in this realm can be used in marketing.
What is reopening a restaurant in London post lockdown going to look like?
One of the fundamental changes that will have a large impact on restaurant is the need for social distancing both on the customer and employee side.
The details of this have been changing as we have moved from the two to one meter rule in June 2020. But as we can see in other countries on the continent even if the social distancing rules are more relaxed most restaurants tend to not be allowed to open to 100% capacity.
There are many ways this can be implemented on the side of the owner of the restaurant. To avoid the restaurant looking empty and scaring customers away interior design can do wonders.
Separating tables with larger plants, bookcases or vases can have a big impact on how pleasantly the space feels. Removing 30% of tables from the restaurant and leaving empty spaces between what is left is not going to be an option.
New Hygiene Standards
As we move forward into 2020 many of the measures that you might want to put in place will be voluntary rather than government-mandated.
Providing hand-sanitizer to all clients as they walk into the restaurant can be of great help in developing a sense of comfort among your clientele.
As the odour of alcohol-based sanitisers can be quite unpleasant keeping the sanitising station by the front door and in the toilets might be necessary.
If you run a restaurant it is given that your hygiene procedures are excellent. The kitchen is clean and so is the front of house and dining room. This is obvious.
In the post-lockdown London customers might however be more sensitive than usual. Using sanitising products on all surfaces regularly and informing clients of this fact can be very valuable.
Sanitising each table and changing the table cloth at after every customer might be a one of the procedures that can be put in place to make sure that even the most squeamish clients can relax and enjoy their meal.
No restaurant owner is going to be happy about this new development but sadly it is here to stay. The push for food delivery and takeaways over the last decade has changed the London food world quite a bit.
This trend has also been sped up by the arrival of multi-national technology companies pushing delivery apps and after gaining control of the market aggressively squeezing the profit margins of restaurants.
Food deliveries have been a part of the London food landscape for a long time but they have never taken up this much of the businesses and they've never been controlled by an outside business shaving off profits.
The fact that food delivery services and takeaways are not going to fall in popularity among the London customer post lockdown and will instead grow can be expected.
This means that some of your marketing will have to adjust to the new reality. Dominating the food delivery market in your area can be difficult as there are limited avenues one can take when using the delivery apps that are available.
Let's have a look at what marketing changes you can make when reopening a restaurant in London post lockdown.
Marketing and talking to your customers
Let's start by talking about the food delivery apps. One of the main disadvantage of the apps lies in the fact that they list you together with all of your local competition with no chance for you to stand out.
You are reduced to a food-type and a 1x1cm logo. On top of this most restaurants have professionally made photographs of their food and they all tend to look very similar. In this environment you simply can't stand out.
The logical solution to this is to fight for higher position in the app listings. This mostly means just paying more money to the app provider and moving up a few spots. This is problematic for obvious reasons.
We at The Private Postman have been recommending our restaurant clients to stay on the apps (as there is really no other option) but to move their marketing to other channels.
We specialise in leaflet distribution in London so that is what we are going to be talking about today.
There are some physical realities of a leaflet that you can take advantage of. An A5 leaflet is massive compared to an 1x1cm icon on a food delivery app. You can use this to your advantage and use the whole size to print a professional photo of one of your signature dishes on it.
You can also control your branding much better and use a unified colour scheme and font selection across all of your materials like leaflets and menus. This way you can develop a real design identity and people can remember your restaurant better.
Leaflet distribution also allows you to reach every single household in your local area. There is no other marketing method that will guarantee you reaching every home within a radius of your business.
Local newspaper ads, social media advertising or google ads each reach only a certain demographic. Leaflet distribution actually allows you to make sure that every household within your delivery area receives your leaflet.
With modern logistical methods employed in leaflet distribution you can also plan a multi-drop delivery campaign where your leaflets are delivered to the same homes repeatedly with carefully designed break period between each drop.
This means that you can deliver your leaflets with unified branding to the same households multiple times over a pre-determined period and develop mind-share in a way that almost no other marketing method can do.
Marketing largely works based on repeated exposure on the side of the customer but it is rare for you to have the ability to avoid over-saturation.
TV ads, Social Media ads and Billboards all work but they all run the danger being intrusive and by repeating constantly annoy your potential customers.
You do not run this danger with leaflet distribution. You simply select the area of London that you want to target with your leaflets and control the exact number and frequency of drops that happens in this area.
Advertising your anti-covid measures on your leaflets
Employing the procedures we have mentioned in the beginning of this article in your restaurant is important but it is equally important to let your potential clients know that you are doing so.
We at The Private Postman have developed a series of graphics and logos that can be used by our clients on their leaflets and other marketing materials.
These include mentions of social distancing being put in place at your restaurant, the fact that all your surfaces are disinfected regularly and that your staff use PPE wherever possible.
Even though some of these might seem like common sense only stating the fact that these measures are in place at your restaurant can help put your potential customers at ease and give them one more reason to order from you or visit your location.
We hope that this blog about reopening a restaurant in London post lockdown has been helpful. If you have any questions or if you'd like to book a leaflet distribution campaign please feel free to get in tough here.