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5 Restaurant Marketing Ideas Brands Using During COVID-19

In the last 4 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has crushed the hospitality industry brutally as a result of which, many big and small restaurants are on brink of collapse or had already collapsed.

Even after when dine-in are open and the lockdown has been lifted in some part of the world, the restaurants are still not working on their full capacity. Therefore, marketing your restaurant is something that you cannot ignore in COVID-19 especially if you are a local restaurant. 

In this blog, I am going to share some restaurant marketing ideas that brands are currently using in COVID-19.

1. Collaboration and Partnership

It is important for you to understand that COVID-19 is a pandemic, that means the whole world is suffering along with you in this. Understand that not only you but other restaurants are also going through this crisis. 

Restaurants nowadays aren’t trying to beat their competitors, as they are trying to keep their own business running by satisfying the guests they already have.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Right now both you and your competitor have the same enemy. Therefore shaking hands with other businesses would be a win-win situation, as you would be empowering each other.

Some of the brands are already working on this idea. 

Wow! Momo and Cafe Coffee Day

Wow! Momo that owns 2 QSR brands in India – Wow! Momo and Wow! China has got into a strategic partnership with India’s largest homegrown coffee chain, Café Coffee Day (CCD).

Wow Momo and Cafe Coffee Day Collaboration - Restaurant Marketing During COVID-19

To reach to the customers, Wow! Momo has placed its kiosks into Cafe Coffee Day outlets and is offering its menu in all three traditional formats – dine-in, takeaway, and delivery. 

Both CCD and Wow! Momo has devised a commercial model where they will share costs and revenue.

“2020 will be all about collaboration and hyper-bundling of experiences. We find this collaboration a perfect one under PM Modi’s push for encouraging locally grown brands. At one hand we have a brand that redefined coffee drinking experience in the country, and on the other hand, it is Wow! Momo, which has created a national chain and a category out of a roadside snack like momo,” said Sagar Daryani, Founder & CEO, Wow! Momo.

“We believe collaborating with Wow! Momo will give us the right synergies to offer our young consumers the experiences they are looking for under the same roof and give them another reason to enjoy their favourite snack and coffee, with safety,” said Vinay A Bhopatkar, CEO of Cafe Coffee Day.

You can call it the next generation QSR or QSR 2.0. Many big and small businesses have started coming together and taking QSR and Restaurants to the next innovative level. So, you should try to reach out to the business with whom you can collaborate. 

Wouldn’t you enjoy getting your 2 favourite dishes from one place?

 

2. WhatsApp to Place Order

Many places are still under a lockdown or even if dine-in is allowed the customers are still avoiding dining experience like in case of restaurants in New Delhi, India. Thus, delivery and takeaway are the only 2 things left to focus on.

Food aggregators apps like Zomato and Swiggy are good for receiving delivery and takeaway orders but they do not provide a personal touch with your customers. 

“Consumers who order from aggregators are our customers but we don’t own them.”, Sagar Daryani, CEO and Founder Wow! Momo.

So, the brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wow! Momo has launched WhatsApp numbers to connect with their customers directly. 

Starbucks India take orders from WhatsApp number, following which the consumers can pick up their beverage from the store.

“WhatsApp is already an intrinsic part of our daily lives and allows connecting with the consumers in a personalised manner”, Sagar Daryani.

You can also provide a WhatsApp number to your customers for direct ordering. Customers can place the order by just typing and sending the name of the food of their choice. 

This will help you to be in direct touch with your customers, you can update them easily regarding any new offers, discounts and keep them updated regarding any changes in operational timing because of COVID-19.

 

3. Reaching Out to Influencer Marketers

Restaurant and QSR brands have always been known for their marketing through celebrities and well-known influencers.

Remember that Pizza Hut Ad featuring the famous YouTuber Bhuvan Bam of BB Ki Vines?

Many brands are still putting their money on influencers for their restaurant marketing during COVID-19 to gain customer’s trust in regards to food safety and hygiene.

Right now selling the trust is the highest priority for the restaurants in this COVID-19 era and what else could encourage the customers more than watching their favourite influencer enjoying a meal in a safe and hygienic environment. 

Restaurant Marketing During COVID-19 - Influencer Marketing

Even if you are a small business then also you should get in touch with micro-influencers. They can be anyone from food bloggers to small YouTubers or an Instagrammer with good reach within your locality.

It is more cost-effective and will fit into your tight budget.

 

4. Going Live to Customers

The best example of going live to the customer is of Roseate House, New Delhi, India as it is the first-of-its-kind in India.

Roseate House started providing live access to kitchen camera to customers. Customers residing in or out Roseate House can watch chefs preparing their order in real-time on their smartphones via live streaming.

Roseate House Doing Restaurant Marketing During COVID-19 by Live Streaming

On the other hand, some restaurants are taking advantage of live streaming on social media by:

  • Conducting live cooking shows
  • Sharing some delicious recipes
  • Showing how the restaurant is following safety & hygiene practices
  • How they are coping up with the new normal
  • Sharing behind the scene moments

Facebook Live videos have grown over 330% since 2016. There’s a large audience that is waiting for you to reach to them right now.

Go! grab them.

 

5. Social Media to Get Attention

The world was already going digital before COVID-19 but this pandemic has escalated that process. People are spending way more time on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook than they ever used to.

Taking advantage of this, the burger giant Burger King launched “Whooper Dance Challenge” with TikTok. Which helped customers to get their favourite whooper in just $1.

All they have to do is a dance on whooper theme song according to the instructions and upload the clip on their TikTok account using #WhooperDance.

Burger King successfully regained the attention of its customers with the help of a social media platform and this is exactly what you should be doing too. 

  • Create accounts on different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Twitter etc.
  • Create and share eye-appealing content.
  • Add stories and behind the scene moments on Instagram.
  • Use trending hashtags which are relevant with your posts: #SaveHospitality #VocalForLocal #OpenForDineIn
  • Engage with the audience in the comment section.
  • Run Ads through Instagram and Facebook in your area.

 

A quick recap of restaurant marketing ideas that we learned to use during COVID-19:

  1. Collab with the businesses with whom you can establish understanding and are beneficial.
  2. Use WhatsApp to connect with your customers directly for ordering.
  3. Reach out to influencer marketers who have good reach in your locality.
  4. Connect with the audience through live streaming.
  5. Create attractive content, run ads and engage with the audience on social media platforms. 

 

Conclusion

Things have changed a lot in the last few months. You need to connect with customers more than ever to boost awareness that you are up and running. Use these restaurant marketing strategies and keep going with a positive attitude.

 

By Rishabh K Sharma

Rishabh is a hospitality professional with a pinch of marketing.

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