The world may be opening back up, but the FSR industry will not go back to normal overnight.
There will be a period of adjustment for restaurant staff, coming back to work and handling increased table numbers, more food orders, and busy patios.
There will also be a period of adjustment while consumers get accustomed to new freedoms following social distancing regulations, mask wearing, and isolation.
What does this mean for FSRs?
Building confidence will be key to get things “back to normal’.
As in-person dining resumes, we expect there will be a heavy focus on familiarity.
Patrons will want to visit their favourite restaurants, as well as restaurants they feel comfortable in and feel they can trust with their safety.
In many cases, this trust will come from past positive experiences with the brand, positive reviews online, referrals from friends, and general credibility within the food industry.
Did You Know?
Franchise owners are at an advantage as their customers have come to know and expect the highest quality service, food, and well established safety protocols and regulations.
With that said, franchises will need to keep an eye on online chatter and reviews during this transition, ensuring all feedback is heard and acknowledged — especially if the feedback is about safety.
Let’s face it. People are lonely, bored, and they miss human connection. Therefore, as in-person dining resumes, we expect there will also be a heavy focus on sentimentality.
After almost two years of lockdown, hitting a buzzing patio will evoke a mix of emotions. However, along with this anticipation and excitement, customers may also feel some anxiety.
It then becomes the job of FSR staff and operators to step up with communication, attentive service, and enforcement of regulations.
It’s more important than ever to remind customers of just how important their support is, and how thankful you are that they have come to eat at your restaurant.
“Bars and restaurants are the cornerstone of our communities and play a critical role in bringing Canadians together.” – Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s VP of Legal and Corporate Affairs
Restaurants are a big part of a community — so don’t lose sight of the important role you play in the customers’ return to some sense of normalcy.
There is no better place to keep up with your audience than online — via your website and social media. Whether your FSR uses Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, leverage your online platforms to provide an up-to-date, behind-the-scenes look into what you’re doing to keep patrons and staff safe.
To ease concerns, post policies and all important updates on your website, ensuring potential customers have access to all of the information they might want to know.
Did You Know?
By showcasing cleaning crews, safety procedures, socially distanced tables, and safety signage, loyal customers and account followers will be able to get a sense of their personal safety before showing up at your door.
Posting updates with transparency will go a long way in building customer confidence.
Once dining is fully back, online orders will continue… and that’s ok!
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, digital ordering and delivery has grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. This is largely due to the pandemic, but also advancements in technology — the ease of online ordering has become more convenient than ever before.
Did You Know?
So, while FSRs need to build customer confidence in-person, building trust via the online experience remains just as important.
Keep those orders coming!
Despite the massive challenges that the restaurant community is currently facing, the Recipe Franchising Team would like to extend our message of reassurance. Having been in business for over 137 years, we are confident we can get through this challenging time just like many others in the past. We take pride and ownership in the well being, health and safety of our franchisees, associates and customers. Recipe Franchising is looking towards the future with hope and continuous growth. With the challenges at hand, The Recipe Franchising Team has adopted a new process that we like to call "Frictionless Franchising", a way for you to meet, research, investigate and explore new franchising opportunities with us from the comfort of your home. We want to make sure that we are always here to answer your questions, inquiries, and help anyway we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
Stay healthy and stay safe.
The Recipe Franchising Team