On Trade, Pub, Bar & Restaurant marketing might not be front of mind right now during Coronavirus (COVID-19). However it is, of course, making a massive impact on all industries across all sectors right now, and will continue to do so for many months or years to come.
As a result, for those in the On Trade that are worried about their livelihood, their business, their staff and their future as a brand, the time to act is now.
What’s important now, though, is not to panic.
So, given that we are pub and restaurant marketing experts, YesMore Agency has developed advice below for pulling through this difficult time. This post is focussed on guidance for the On Trade, Hospitality, Pub, Bar & Restaurant marketing industry during Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation.
If you’re a drinks brand looking for guidance please see here for our specific Coronavirus (COVID-19) blog post including a downloadable guide.
On Trade, Hospitality, Pub, Bar & Restaurant marketing industry during Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation
First and foremost, most governments are advising for people to avoid social venues such as pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres. Whilst difficult to digest, we at YesMore strongly recommend following government advice and as such have developed some guidance for what do do whilst closed.
If your bar / pub / restaurant is temporarily closed or closing…
- Run digital marketing campaigns focussed around driving brand awareness and engagement rather than booking or sales-led. See our presentation on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how brands should evolve their strategy. Use this time to grow your eCRM database or social audience.
- Work on improvements to your marketing mix and sales pipeline now to get ready for when we all resume normal service – for example website improvements, conversion rate optimisation on bookings, etc.
- Refocus your energy on planning, preparation and developing business and marketing strategy – this is the time to focus on the big stuff you’ve put off for so long
- Sell gift cards, vouchers and pre-orders to use once social isolation advice is lifted. Check out Dirty Bones who are selling £50 vouchers to redeem £100 of food later when they re-open.
- Live stream cocktail masterclasses and cook-alongs with your chefs, you could consider a pay-per-view model to charge audiences to access your content (IF it’s good enough) – using sites like Only Fans
- Ask your landlord for a pause in rent, or temporary reduction in cost – this helps them in the long run because if you go out of business they’ll lose rent
- Apply for a COVID-19 grant or loan via one of the various initiatives recently set up: Facebook $100m small business fund, Diageo’s £1m fund for hospitality industry, and more popping up each day.
- Take advantage in the government’s relief on Business Rates, see the UK Government Coronavirus Advice
- Contact account managers at the beer, spirits and wine brands that supply you with product and start to plan activations for when we’re allowed to invite customers back in through the doors
- Brief your team on brainstorming too, start thinking up a new menu for when you reopen, develop a super smart marketing campaign ready to launch when you reopen, start planning or creating fresh new content.
- If you really, really have to, ask all your team to take a voluntary reduction in salary in an effort to avoid having to lay off staff
WHEN governments allow pubs, bars and restaurants to reopen again, continue to proceed with caution as that’s what your consumers will be doing…
Please note, this comes with another reminder to follow government advice first and foremost.
- Sanitise surfaces hourly (create a checklist of common touch points)
- Wear gloves and masks if you have them (and change them regularly) or purchase cycling snoods as an alternative
- Prop doors open to avoid people having to touch handles (front doors, toilet doors, etc)
- Double wash glassware (mostly to reassure customers)
- Deep clean back bar, shelving for glasses, cellars, bottles, taps and and pumps
- Supply hand sanitiser and box of tissues (for rogue sneezes) on the bar and selected tables
- Reduce amount of seating (to create more distance between those socialising!)
- Advertise your private dining rooms and secluded booths that are more isolated within your venue
- Offer takeaway, collection and delivery of food, drink and pre-batched cocktails
- Utilise your staff to go (safely and cautiously) go door-to-door to nearby neighbours inviting locals to order directly for food and drink delivery that evening or the next day.
- Invite your social media followers to buy a meal for a local NHS worker, police officer or emergency service first responder via a voucher system
- Think outside the box with your marketing, consider the locals social platform NextDoor.com for reaching neighbours. Think about WhatsApp for business too.
- Wipe down the table & chairs with sanitiser as you seat people in your restaurant/pub – ask them to wait at the doorway for a moment so they can see you do it.
- As customers arrive, ask them to go straight to the bathroom and wash their hands properly before going to their table.
Have we missed anything you’re doing or spotted someone else doing?
Let us know in the comments or via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll update this post.