The following information is a guide of suggestions and recommendations to help owners and operators in these challenging times.
- If legislation allows it , and you can remain open, plan immediately to communicate your increase safety efforts
Many operators are demonstrating cleaning regimes even if it means a temp halt in services every 30 minutes
Share your trading messages with customers on notices and use social media to assure confused customers of your status. Visually reassure passers-by that perhaps you are the safest stop on the street.
- Diversify to meet the new needs of consumers and fitting around your own restrictions
Examples could include a click and collect where you phone order and it’s brought out to your car to be placed safely in the rear seats or boot
Delivery services- help your local customers who perhaps are in isolation with a local ‘no contact’ option delivery service. If you are a roaster- extend a free super-local delivery to offices and homes- maybe ground coffee/cakes and filter?
Reduce your menu to a simpler one with less resource and lower wastage potential – every little help.
- Consider cashflow and offer pre-paid vouchers – perhaps with a top-up
Share the message that the money now, service later, is to enable you to support your staff through quieter periods. Loyal customers will want to help.
- Consider subscription services and special bundles
Maybe reduce the normal number of coffees to qualify for a free coffee, or offer a 5% discount on food spends over £10 if people subscribe to a £10 monthly discount card by direct debit. Can you collaborate with a local dairy/bakers etc and become a nominated collection point? If you can do this safely, become a ‘hub’ then you boost spending chances.
Simplify your set up to minimise contamination risk. This may be counter eco but do so. Consider only using disposables where hygiene is easy to control. Remove sugars, milks, cutlery from customer self-service, and add as required specific to each order. Maybe just offer one dairy and one plant milk-cut custs where you can
SEE WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING AND COPY
Get on twitter/Linkedin/ facebook and see what’s working for other businesses. It’s a great chance to earn goodwill. Offer pensioner discounts, or an hour of service just for over 60’s. Or free soup one day a week for your first 30 home isolated customers. Be creative, caring and sharing. It will bring you more of your share of business both now after post-crisis.
REQUEST A FAN BOOST
Use your social media to request reviews and mentions online. Ask in situ customers to share insta pics of you live and trading. Exploit goodwill at every opportunity to reach a larger audience and assure people you’re still the place to visit. People will be wary- great chance to reassure them.
IF THINGS ARE DESPERATE, TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES
You can ask your loyal customers to help either your business or specific members of staff you are forced to let go. There are apps and digital platforms to help people donate – Ko-fi is one , paypal.me is another. If twenty customers gave Jenny a £3 coffee, she might have enough money for one week’s shopping. It’s happening in US shutdowns- don’t think of it as begging- it’s community support and resource redistribution.
BE KIND, COMMUNICATIVE AND COMMUNITY SPIRITED
Long after this situation has passed, the local perception of how you dealt with things could make or break your reputation.
Keep up Governmental pressure – write to your local MP and sign the petition supporting the Hospitality Industry. Support @UKHospKate