If you’re a bar or restaurant owner, it goes without saying that the last year, 2020, has not been easy. Even still, your business has managed to survive and that is something to be proud of!
We’re sitting down with Steven Fata, an entrepreneur who has been in the bar and restaurant industry for almost 40 years, about all of the new and innovative ways that business owners can adapt in the time of Covid to provide their customers with the best, most comfortable and safe experience to keep them coming back.
- Utilize Outdoor Dining
“This is obviously easier to do in a warm climate, but even if you’re in a cold climate, there are still people who would prefer to eat outdoors, especially if you can’t offer indoor seating right now,” says Steven Fata. Finding ways to continue to serve your customers outdoors, whether by bringing in bonfire pits, renting heaters, or buying “igloos” will have your customers coming back. If you can’t afford the pricey igloos, there are other options, such as pop-up fish shanties, or even better, offer a “drive-in” dining experience. Customers can bring their own fishing shanty (if you live in an ice-fishing area), RV, or even just their car, you’ll be able to serve your customers a dine-in experience in a safe way.
- DIY Meal Kits
Selling your inventory is a great way to increase your profits while providing your guests with a unique experience. After all, the passion for a restaurant is the usually the food, however, the business side of a restaurant is turning your inventory. The more you “turn,” the more revenue you’ll make. This is the reason why McDonald’s has such a high daily revenue stream. So, sell your customers the ingredients to make their favorite meals and drinks, and they can bring it home with them for a date night. There are many DIY delivery package companies like Blueapron.com, hellofresh.com, and gobble.com, so it’s becoming mainstream and widely accepted. “This is a simple way to give your customers the experience they’re used to in the comfort of their own home, especially if you own a bar with certain drinks that your customers are missing,” says Fata.
- Focus on ROI
Look at where you’re going to get the most return on investment. These are uncertain times. You don’t have any other option but to focus on where you’re making the most money. If it’s takeout, focus all of your effort on takeout. “Of course, drinks are going to have the best margins,” explains Steve. “If you’re able to do take-home alcohol in your area, this would be a great time to start advertising that. You’re going to see a huge return on investment from take-home drinks, simply because alcohol has good margins to begin with, and drinks take almost no time to make compared to food.”
- Stay Loud on Social Media
Think about it: we’re all stuck in our homes, scrolling through our phones. Stay on people’s minds. Run promotions and deals on your social media profiles, but even more importantly, post pictures of your food and drinks. When your customers see their favorite food or drink on their Facebook feeds, they’ll start to crave it and order it for takeout that night. “Posting on social media, as a bar or restaurant owner, has never been a more important investment than it is right now,” says Fata.
- Look Into Other Streams of Income
Do you have die-hard fans of your business? Work with a local print shop to create shirts with your bar or restaurants’ logo. You can advertise them on your business’s social media page to promote supporting your bar or restaurant during the pandemic. It’s a great and simple way to promote both your business and another local business that’s probably struggling due to the pandemic. That’s just one option, look around and see if there are any other streams of income that you might be overlooking right now.
Steven Fata is an entrepreneur with nearly 40 years in the bar and restaurant industry. He has opened many sports bars, including Reno’s East, Champion’s, Plum Crazy, and Fadeaway Sports Bar and Grill.