The pandemic has left restaurants battered to say the least. Apart from surviving financially, one of the biggest challenges has been the change in customer mindset. Their behavior has been reshaped by their fears and the newly available options such as pickups. Health has become the new wealth for customers, and not just the food but also the process of it reaching them is a matter of importance. As restaurants slowly resume services, hygiene and safety are at the forefront of customers’ minds, meaning the premise of your relationship with them has evolved too. It is important for you to understand these shifts, segment customers accordingly and tweak your marketing strategies to cater to them.
The emotions of customers vary from eager, excited and to scared. You need to put yourself in each of their places and create a plan that will win their trust. In this article, we’ll cover the different types of post-covid customers and ideas to tailor your marketing to win them each!
We can broadly categorize your customers into four:
These are customers who are tired of sitting at home throughout the lockdown, and can’t wait to get out. Or, they are fed up with the effort involved in making their own meals and the chores that follow. And finally, they’re probably customers that are actively looking to order from you and support you during these times. While their reasons might be different, the thing common to them all is their eagerness to avail your services.
Now these customers are the ones who are tired of their home-cooked meals and want restaurant food but they're not to sure of dining out or depending on others for delivery. Although, they’re comfortable with the food you prepare and ready to pick it up themselves.
This group of customers are similar to the pick-up gang, they’re tired of home-cooked meals also. While they’re not confident enough to visit you in person and dining out, they’re confident about the food you prepare and are okay with the minimal contact involved in delivery.
Last but not the least, these are the ones who haven’t found solace in any of the options that you provide. While they’re craving your food and services, their fears are weighing them down. They’re waiting for the pandemic to subside before they venture out at all.
In a time where business is already slow, every customer is essential to the survival of the restaurant, hence making it unaffordable for you to focus on a particular segment only. In a bid to attract one type of customers, say for example just the early adopters, you might lose the trust of the paranoid ones who may think you’re not taking necessary precautions.
Thus, it’s critical to consider all types, think of each of their expectations and fears when you’re thinking about marketing. The idea is to come up with communication that caters to one but is accepted by all.
Before you begin planning your marketing, it is essential that you figure out what type of customers you have. You can do this by simply looking at your customer activity on the Hashtag Loyalty dashboard which tracks walk-in customers as well as those ordering online as well.
In case you want to know more about how your customers feel about eating out or ordering, simply ask them! Set up a simple feedback form that helps you get answers and build an hypothesis.
Here are some ideas to win the trust of each types of customers:
These customers can’t keep calm and they are eager to experience normalcy. Highlight safety measures but also the closeness to the experience they remember and are expecting. Give them something to look forward to, highlight your menu specials, especially food and experiences that can’t be delivered.
Try creating some noise around your reopening and reel these early adopters in with some added incentive. If you have a loyalty program in place, cook up offers for your Regulars and VIPs.
Engender a feeling of unity and resilience, try and attach your reopening with a cause close to you or one that resonates with your brand. Highlight the importance of giving back, by setting an example yourself.
Last but not the least, ask these customers to leave a review and post about their experience online! This will build up confidence for the others who are still on the fence.
They’re ready to come to you, but don’t make them wait. Put in place a robust online ordering system, simplify pick-up orders and ensure a smooth experience for these customers. Ensure you promote your online ordering services well.
Put in place a special menu for takeout and delivery, make sure you get the word out and build a hype to get these customers excited for it.
Apart from prepared food, venture into finish-at-home meals and kits. Make an online event out of it and have your chef prepare the items live on social media.
Ensure these customers order from you directly. It is for your own benefit to implement an online ordering system if you haven’t yet. Let them know how it helps you if they order from you instead of aggregators.
Instead of running offers and discounts on aggregator platforms and acquiring customers for them at your cost, run your own campaigns and ads using Hashtag Loyalty and truly acquire customers for yourself.
Make the delivery special for your customers. Add a handwritten note, send a playlist like Americano, throw in some fortune cookie and personalize their experience.
Highlight the safety and precautions you’re taking, to reinforce their confidence. Talk about minimal contact delivery and push customers to post their experience on their social media.
Last but not the least, pay utmost attention to your packaging. Ensure your food travels well, tastes excellent and the experience of it is retained when it reaches them. Include your branding on your packaging, so they can flaunt it on social media.
Make your safety measures the focal point of your communication to them. Keep building their confidence till they’re actually ready to visit or order from you. Be the first one to come to their mind when they’re ready by keeping your presence and communications regular.
Highlight the precautions you’re taking on social media and invite questions from them to put them at ease. Take baby steps, promote pick-ups and deliveries to them before jumping onto dine-in.
It is essential that your restaurant is prepared to resume services as well. These are just some ideas to win every customer possible. Implement your own online ordering system for pick-ups, deliveries and table ordering today using Thrive!