Empty restaurant closed for covid-19

Right and left it seems like restaurants and businesses are closing their doors, hoping they weather the storm of COVID-19/Coronavirus. However, some businesses are finding new opportunities to grow their brand, create new business solutions, and stay strong during the panic. Ovation CEO, Zack Oates, spoke with Ethan Cisneros, Founder of Thirst Drinks to learn what he’s been doing to keep his business going despite closing down three locations in recent weeks. Here are his top 5 tips to come out of COVID-19 with a stronger business and brand: 


1. Get on the Offensive


When asked what his primary strategy for keeping his restaurant alive during COVID-19 closures, Ethan says he is taking the offensive. Staying ahead of the curve and in the consumer’s view by adjusting their online presence. Ethan explains that rather than focusing on pushing product on social media, they are instead staying relevant and entertaining with memes and funny videos.


2. Start Building Content and Brand


Alongside maintaining a social presence, Ethan recommends to fellow business owners to start being creative with the situation. During down times, he’s decided to start building out branding and new marketing strategies and campaigns with his team. They’re choosing to keep communicating with their customers and using this opportunity to establish their branding/customer relationships. Additionally, with consumers primarily staying home and quarantining themselves, one of their primary sources of entertainment will be social media and consuming content, so it’s up to business owners to produce content to stay in front of the consumer. 


3. Utilize Delivery Platforms


With businesses being forced to close down their dining rooms to prevent the spread of coronoavirus, new delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Door Dash are becoming essential tools for restaurants to keep revenue coming in. Ethan explains that he decided to utilize every possible delivery app/service even if it meant taking a dip in revenue, “I don’t want to create any friction for the audience… I don’t want them to have to search around to find Thirst”.

4. Take Things Curbside


Even if you have a sit-down style restaurant, it’s important to be flexible right now. Ethan tells Zack, that even though their doors are closed, offering curbside pickup and service still allows them to keep business coming in. 

5. Be Creative with Your Menu


Getting creative with your menu doesn’t mean you have to abandon your brand or the heart and soul of your restaurant. Look at this as an opportunity to expand your menu/products and find new places to occupy in your consumer’s mind. Partnering with a fellow restaurant owner, Ethan is launching a Coronavirus Survival Meal Kit service where customers can order a kit online including food from various restaurants and have it delivered to their door.  



Yes restaurants are closing their doors, yes the game has changed, but that doesn’t mean you automatically lose. Look around at what other restaurant and business owners are doing to adjust to the new rules of the game and start taking some chances. Afterall, all you can do is try something new during this crisis. Who knows, it just might work. 

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