Here at Restaurant & Café Magazine, we want to provide foodservice businesses with practical tips and information for these tough times ahead. From keeping your customers and staff safe to ideas for future-proofing your brand.

Today’s tips cover how to lockdown, not shutdown. Think to the future.

Voucher Economy

To keep your business churning through the lockdown offer vouchers to your customers that they can buy now and redeem later.

Most Kiwis want to continue to support their locals, give them this opportunity and incentive to spend with you by throwing in something extra, perhaps a $30 meal voucher gets a free coffee.

Make sure you are aware of the resources available to help you with this. The Well Foundation chairman and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise projects general manager, David Downs set up SOS Cafe on Monday. It is a website that offers restaurant and cafe vouchers online that can be redeemed when things return to normal.

“Our cafés, restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues are suffering badly from the Covid-19 isolations and shut-downs. If you are in a position to help them, it may help them survive through this tough time. Buy a voucher for a future visit, and give them the cash they need now,” read a statement on the SOS Cafe website.

To help with promotion, here at Restaurant & Cafe we have teamed up with the great people at Good Cocktail Co. Good Cocktail Co is giving businesses free product so you can promote your business with offers such as ‘get a free cocktail mixer with the first 20 voucher purchases’.

For more info on our Good Cocktail Co collaboration, click here.

Stay Connected with Customers

It is important to let your customers know you’re still around so now is the time to up your digital game. If you don’t already have a Facebook or Instagram page, create one. Share your story, keep it positive and stay connected with your fans.

Remember to invite ideas from your community and customers, help them feel empowered by letting them communicate to you what they want and need, they may think of something you haven’t.

Consider the Virtual Space

All over the world people are connecting in virtual spaces from the safety and comfort of their home. Could your business benefit from holding a virtual get together? It’s a great way to stay connected to your customer base.

Take cues from our global counterparts. BrewDog in the UK has announced it will open 102 bars online. The idea is to replicate its physical bars across the world and allow customers to continue to support their local.

BrewDog will be offering home-brewing masterclasses, pub quizzes, music, comedy and more. In a post on its Instagram BrewDog noted that “Staying in is the new going out.”

In the US Chipotle has invited its fans to join its virtual lunch. The quick service chain will be offering Chipotle-inspired presentations, celebrity appearances and the chance to win food vouchers.

It’s important that people do not feel isolated during self isolation, virtual spaces are a great way to show your customers that you care about them, and for them to show their loyalty and support to your business.

Making sure you keep your brand in the minds of customers during the lockdown is vital for future success so stay connected, embrace digital technology and allow your customers to support you however they can. It is vital to implement these ideas now to help your business weather the storm.

Stay tuned for more tips, including menu ideas, delivery options, and advice from around the globe.

For more Industry Tips and up to date information for the foodservice industry click here.