The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on restaurants. Across the States, local regulations and restrictions vary greatly. Some states have kept their restaurants open with little disruptions while others are implementing safety distancing and reduced capacity. But as the vaccine rollout is reducing risks, more and more restaurants can open safely and welcome guests. 

Unfortunately, a lot of patrons remain cautious about dining out. That’s precisely where a promotional campaign can help attract customers to your restaurant again. Yet, running promotions and targeted campaigns could harm your business rather than help grow it. Indeed, it’s important that your promotional strategy also considers the current covid-anxiety. Customers are worried about going back to restaurants again. Therefore, your marketing activities will have to focus on encouraging them to come back. 

Incentivize promotions

Promoting your activities and food is often a one-way road. You create content for the benefit of your audience and customers. But how about you let your customers create reviews that promote your restaurant? Incentivizing reviews, using a solution such as Rewards Network reviews, allows restaurants to combine promotional activities with advocacy strategy. Indeed, incentives encourage customers to leave a review. As they do, they earn rewards with partner restaurants. Therefore, from a business perspective, it’s a win-win activity. As a restaurant, you can leverage the influence of brace customers who come back after the pandemic. They will be creating reviews, which you can share with your audience. At the same time, reviewers can benefit from discounts, freebies, or giveaways that are arranged by the restaurant to nurture their loyalty. It’s a unique strategy that ensures that nobody gives anything for free, whether it is the restaurant or the customer. 

Partner with influencers

Influencers can drive your restaurant visibility further. According to marketing surveys, 71% of customers are likely to buy when they’ve seen your brand referred on social media, and 77% of people value Instagram photos over commercial content when considering a purchase. Additionally, 30% of young adults would choose to avoid a restaurant that doesn’t have a strong Instagram presence. In other words, you can’t afford to miss out on influencing marketing. Reaching out to an influencer is about building a trustworthy partnership. An influencer who is genuinely passionate about sharing their experience and enjoying food will increase your brand reputation. Remember, the most difficult part when working with an influencer is to pick someone relevant to your audience and can convey the right message about your brand.  

Takeaway loyalty schemes

Takeaway orders are likely to remain popular even as restaurants are fully ready to open. Indeed, vulnerable individuals who are worried about health repercussions are likely to carry on order food deliveries for a little while. Restaurants need to create a loyalty program that can gradually attract those customers back on site. Ideally, you don’t want to cancel your takeaway menu even if you are open to dining in. It would be beneficial to gradually reduce the delivery menu and incentivize online orders to head back to the physical venue. You can introduce a loyalty discount they can use when ordering in the restaurant, for instance. 

Reopening your restaurants to customers is a long process that requires targeted marketing campaigns. Indeed, loyal customers who are worried about covid-19 will need more time and effort. Therefore, it’s a good idea to introduce promotional programs that encourage them to come back at their own pace, including influencers’ posts, sharing reviews, and using loyalty schemes. 

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