While restaurant owners across the United States are reopening their dining rooms, and statewide coronavirus pandemic restrictions are being lifted, the transition is not quite as simple as switching a neon “open” sign to the “on” position.
Between social distancing guidelines that could very well be in place for the foreseeable future and concerns over proper hygiene of high-traffic touchpoints — such as menus, door handles, and touch screens — most restaurant and bar owners and managers are making some serious shifts in their standard business practices to ensure staff have safe work conditions and customers have a safe dining experience.
Here are a few notable items to consider as you open your doors to the public once again:
- Direct-mail campaigns. It’s time to spread the word about your grand reopening through Prisma’s Direct Mail 360 solution, a combination of integrated marketing strategies (aka, Optichannel marketing) designed to enhance your results by an average of 23-46%. By saturating the area surrounding your restaurant’s location with messaging specifically crafted to recapture the business of loyal customers and introduce yourselves to new ones, you’ll quickly be back on everyone’s radar within your service area. Direct mail is also a great way to let patrons know about menu changes, specials, new hours, and other important information (such as the measures you are taking to ensure your restaurant is clean and safe).
- Outdoor signage. Over the last eight weeks, countless restaurants around the country ordered new outdoor signage to place around their buildings, letting customers know they were open for takeout or drive-thru orders. Now, you’ll want to be prepared to replace those with new banners, retractable banners, sidewalk signs, window clings and other graphics to let loyal and prospective customers alike know that you are, indeed, open for business once again.
- Indoor signage. It’s also important to install social distancing signage indoors, in the form of floor graphics and wall hangings, that remind patrons to stand 6-feet apart at all times. And, aside from updated employee training on new cleaning/disinfecting protocols and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), you’ll also want signage directed toward your staff that offers reminders of these new procedures. To help determine your specific needs, refer to the CDC’s Decision Tool for Restaurants and Bars, which is meant to help reduce community transmission of coronavirus.
- Disposable and alternative menus. Speaking of new cleaning and disinfecting protocols, it’s a wise move to rethink the current format of your menu. It’s crucial that this item — which is touched by potentially hundreds of staff and customers each day — gets disinfected regularly. If your restaurant currently uses synthetic menus, they may be problematic because the ink can wear off with the use of harsh disinfectants, such as bleach. Similarly, it’s impossible to thoroughly disinfect certain sleeved options, as well. We recommend switching to either one-time use menus — but feel free to select an inexpensive paper stock to help cut costs — or alternatives like laminated menus or sleeved menus that can easily be wiped down. Do you own or manage multiple restaurant locations in various markets? Prisma’s web-to-print dokshop solution helps produce and track multiple versions of your menu from layout and proofreading to data management and distribution so you can remain focused on your day-to-day operations.
- Contactless menus with QR codes. If you’re interested in eliminating tangible menus altogether, QR codes (or Quick Response codes) are a user-friendly option that’s been around since the mid-90s and is gaining even more popularity on the heels of this pandemic. If you aren’t familiar, QR codes are square, two-dimensional matrix barcodes that can be scanned with any smart phone. Once scanned, your customer can view a digital version of your menu on their own device — not only eliminating the paper waste associated with disposable menus, but also the risk and hassle of having multiple people touch and clean standard menus. Prisma’s QR code technology allows restaurants to create multiple versions of their menu, resulting in a flipbook-style digital menu your customers and staff are sure to embrace.
We understand that this situation is rapidly changing and we’re here to help you navigate this uncharted territory. Think of Prisma as an extension of your team while you’re busy rebuilding your staff — let us take indoor and outdoor signage, menu printing, QR codes, and direct-mail campaigns off your plate, so you can focus on putting the delicious food your customers miss on theirs.
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