Updated: May 30, 2020
Are you worried the overheads accrued in the lockdown period are going to crush you?
That the customers are not going to trust eating out for a while even after the pandemic subsides?
We know the crisis has hit the economy and every industry badly, but the F&B space specifically is going to take one of the biggest hits.
In this period, what should you do? Should you cut all costs, stop communicating to your customers and wait for things to get better? No.
I know, it's hard to hear that we can get good things out of a crisis like this. But I'll say it anyway: It's going to get better. And once the economy reboots, it's those who adapted, who will have an advantage.
In a land of chaos, the one who adapts wins.
As you may have noticed, during a crisis everything changes too quickly! In China, some of the first companies to recover looked proactively at the market and anticipated changes. To cite an example, in the early stages of the outbreak, Master Kong (a brand of instant noodles and beverages), focused its efforts on daily analyzing the regions affected by the virus and reorganizing its logistics. With this, the company was able to anticipate the accumulation and lack of stock of its products in different regions, managing to be present where its competitors had not yet arrived. As a result, the company's supply chain had already recovered by more than 50% just weeks after the outbreak.
Be Proactive, not reactive.
Although it is impossible to predict the impact and duration of the crisis in India, China's experience brings us optimistic thoughts. Only seven weeks after the initial outbreak, the country appears to be on the road to recovery. Gradually, consumption grows again and from now on we will see two types of business: those who prepared their flight plan and those who were complaining about the storm. Your “forced quarantine” can help you in planning a little more calmly what your actions will be going forward.
During the storm, plan your flight plan.
Plan and take precautions.
We cannot stress on how important it is to avoid any repercussions of this pandemic. Don't just take surface level measures to make it look safe. Go the extra mile to establish the wellbeing of your employees and customers.
Work with the least number of staff possible.
All the materials in use are rinsed
Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers for staff and customers.
Ensure all staff members wash their hands regularly and thoroughly.
Check their temperatures daily and let them take leaves when sick.
Make sure everyone representing the brand wears masks and gloves where necessary.
Ensure all the premises are sanitized and disinfected thoroughly, especially the kitchen.
Do not ignore the local authority norms for when to keep your establishments open.
Bring innovative ways to implement contactless deliveries.
*This list is not exhaustive. Keep looking for more safety measures and implement them.
Sense the sentiments.
Understand the customer's perspective and then address that. Trying to show your product or service to the public amidst the chaos is a challenge. It is natural that your Instagram post will disappear between fake news, updates on the epidemic and memes.
People want to feel safe, find confidence and trust in a brand before they buy anything right now. Cater to that sentiment in any and all brand communications.
The first thing you have to keep in mind is that it is not the time to make money but rather focus on regaining trust and doing crisis communication. Any attempt to profit from the topic can be misinterpreted by your customers. Do not try to reduce the dangerousness of the virus in your communication but at the same time, spread positivity.
Keep people informed. Promote good practices. Make the mood lighter. Do a good deed and get noticed.
Here are some of our examples:
Focus on retention.
Reach out to your past customers. They are the ones who already have faith in you. Reiterate how you are taking all the precautions to ensure their safety. Dig out that database of numbers and emails and find the most effective messaging that will make them come back to you. Find niche ways to get their guaranteed attention e.g. WhatsApp or Instagram DMs.
Double down on deliveries.
People would be worried to be in public spaces and dine-out again soon. So, deliveries are going to account for most of your sales in the next few months. Try to route them through your own website/calls to cut aggregators' costs.
Tip: Make the delivery experience more harmonic with the current times. Insert a personalized letter comforting the customer about their safety again.
Lastly, if you need personal guidance
We are here for you. Till this crisis ends, we have made our consultancy and strategy services free to help you in the tough times. If there is any value we can bring to you, you can feel free to reach out to us or call us at 9987595805.