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Community Outreach and Restaurant Marketing During COVID-19

Resources, Restaurant Operations, COVID Resources - April 29, 2020 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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The COVID-19 crisis has completely uprooted our lives in a way that was just unimaginable a few months ago.

As we fight through this together, our thoughts and hearts go out to those who are struggling and to those brave frontline essential workers who are helping those in need.

We are all still trying to understand what the ‘new normal’ is and how to build morale. But, we must remember - this crisis will come to an end.

With that being said, we have a few recommendations on how you can stay connected with your local community, whether your restaurant or bar is still operational or not. Success is not all about restaurant revenue, it's about engaging with your local community. 

Keeping Your Closed Business Visible

Even if your business is closed, there are still ways to keep your restaurant or bar visible within your community. If you were already part of a lively neighborhood community, you might be able to find ways to re-engage with neighboring businesses.

One way is to watch out for each other, by keeping in touch with your nearby business associates who may be going through the same pain as you. Can you check in with them, even remotely, and see if they need anything that you might be able to help with?

Maybe there’s an opportunity to collaborate on something, like setting up a neighborhood watch and checking the security for each other's premises, making sure there’s no vandalism or property damage. It never hurts to take a look at their place every so often, report back to them and they will do the same for you.

Helping Essential Workers In Your Community

Another idea is to find a way to help frontline essential workers and their families. These people live and work in our community, they’re feeling the stress and they’re putting their safety on the line every day to help keep us safe - so let’s help them out.

There are some really inspiring stories out there about bars and restaurants helping supply food and service to those in need. For example, a restaurant created a delivery service for local essential workers, offering the public the opportunity to purchase and donate a meal or gift card for them. Maybe you can get creative and offer a similar ‘pay it forward’ promotion on Facebook around this idea?

Engage with Your Community Digitally

Whether or not your restaurant or bar is closed, it is still important to engage with your fans and followers. Social media is free to use, so use it to keep your visibility up while your business is closed! Keep in touch with your followers and share your community content - this will help position you and your business as an engaged and active community leader.

It is also important to keep your followers up to date on how the business is doing and what plans you have for it once you’re able to reopen. You could also share a cooking video showcasing one of the popular menu items from your bar or restaurant. By sharing these posts you are showing that you are caring for your customers from a distance until you’re all able to meet again at the local spot.

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