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This edition of “Give An Ovation” featured Danny Klein, the Director of Digital Content at Food News Media, the company behind FSR and QSR Magzines. On this episode he dropped some timely, amazing insights with host Zack Oates on where the food service industry is and where it’s going:
1. We Don’t Really Know
Danny interviews a lot of people in the restaurant industry, and pointed out that even if some may claim to, no one truly knows what the future holds. Things may be back to normal within a few months, or not until next year. So it’s important to prepare yourself for a number of outcomes.
2. Keep Digital Channels Live
One of the ways to keep your options open is by avoiding the temptation to stop offering take-out and delivery options the minute dine-in is allowed again. As Danny noted, “We don’t really know if customers are going to be eager to dine-out.” Surely some will, but many might be hesitant and will have grown accustomed to online ordering.
3. People Are Starting To Think Brand-First
Pre-corona virus, the restaurant marketplace felt saturated with an overflowing amount of apps, promotions, and loyalty programs. While it is unfortunate that some restaurants have closed their doors, the upside is that there’s a little more brand loyalty to go around now. Whereas before customers might say, “I’m feeling a burger”, now they’re saying “I’m feeling Five-Guys”. Danny put it this way: “This current COVID landscape and the days to come are going to provide a real opportunity for restaurants to earn trust.”
4. Poll Loyal Users
There isn’t suddenly going to be a “new normal”. It’s going to happen incrementally, resulting in the restaurant experience potentially varying wildly from county to county. Therefore it’s critical to keep an ear to the ground and know what your customers are expecting and hoping to see from your location. Danny suggests sending an email out to your loyal fans and asking questions such as, “What safety measures do you feel comfortable with?”, or “do you want us to keep curbside?”
5. The New Currency Is Trust
There’s a different set of expectations for restaurants now; in someways it’s simpler to win a loyal customer than it used to be. People really just want to have a comfortable experience. If your online ordering experience was easy, relatively affordable, and didn’t spread COVID-19, you’re going to have fans.
Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole podcast, as well as other interviews with restaurant/business gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation” on YouTube, podcast.ovationup.com, or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.
For more from Danny: visit qsrmagazine.com & fsrmagazine.com, or reach out to him in LinkedIn or email@example.com.