Although American consumers are eager to get back to the life they knew, including the enjoyment and convenience of restaurants, we all know that it will take time to rebuild comfort and trust as we get back into the habit of dining out.
In a recent study by Datassential consumers were asked "How do you feel about going back to dining in at restaurants and bars when COVID-19 eases?" (Link here):
67% Will dine in cautiously
12% May never go back to dining in
21% Will dine in normally
This indicates at least 67% of people need a new normal in order to feel comfortable returning to what was a once a normal activity.
Restaurant operators will not only need to follow guidelines about sanitation and social distancing; they will be called upon to assure customers and employees that their health and well-being is priority number one by preparing for various customer needs, such as special senior seating or designated hours, physical barricades and directional signage.
Whether your reopening strategy includes expanding take-out, delivery or curbside service, or opening up for in-store dining, here are some product ideas to consider as you prepare for the days ahead.
Single Use Items for Dine In Customers
Eliminating multi-use high touch items and replacing with single use gives the 37% of patrons that would be extremely or very worried about getting sick from other customers reassurance (Eating 2020: How COVID-19 Will Change Consumer Engagement With Food, Inspire Group)
Disposable Menus | Placemats | Tray Covers | Tablecloths
Extra Protection for Food Delivery Packages
Reassurance isn't only needed for in restaurant dining. While carry out is expected to decline by about 6% in the next two months, this method will play an important role in re-engaging with your patrons (Eating 2020: How COVID-19 Will Change Consumer Engagement With Food, Inspire Group). Consider using tamper-proof durable labels for your food delivery and take-out packages.
Highlight Health and Safety Practices with Signage
Don't just put measures in place, communicate them with customers throughout the establishment.
Consider displaying safety and hygiene signs & cleaning/sanitizing instructions. Additionally, communicate your operating hours, where to go for curbside pick-up, closed off areas, ordering instructions, to name a few.
Social distancing reminders
Place floor graphics throughout to guide your customers to mitigate the perceived threat posed by other customers. 68% of diners would like restaurants to have at least 6 feet between tables, social distancing is key to diners comfort level when dining in (Eating 2020: How COVID-19 Will Change Consumer Engagement With Food, Inspire Group)
Protect Employees and Diners & Promote your Business
Use stylus pens for touchscreens or POS system for diner and employee safety
Disposable Protective Equipment
Keeping your employees safe and healthy is at the core of remaining operational. Employees will have similar concerns about their health and safety. Consider providing branded personal protective equipment (PPE).
And don’t forget to let your customers know that you’re open for business!
Send out postcards, menu mailers, direct mail special offers and coupons and let your loyal – and new- customers know that you’re ready to serve them… safely.