We’re back in lockdown and clearly we’ll be in and out of this ol’ routine for a while. We’re old hands now! Since we last posted about tactics the hospitality industry can utilise to keep their audiences engaged while it ain’t biz as usual, some things have changed. For one, it’s likely that this patch will be over soon. Secondly, we know customers are still hungry and want to hear from you, and are very open to new things and innovation. So, as a restaurant, bar, cafe or F&B retail operator whose venue is either closed, or open just for takeaway or delivery, what can you do to keep your customers engaged during a lockdown, and maybe even attract some new ones at the same time? Here we go:

 

Utilise your EDM channel to update and entertain your audience

If you’ve put the work into building up your newsletter database, you should have a strong list of subscribers by now. Put that list to work! This is your most direct, and valuable asset in terms of communication. Use it to do two things:

  • Update your audience on what’s going on - are you open or closed? Offering takeaway or delivery? Do you have anything new to share?
  • Entertain and engage them - people open newsletters more often when they aren’t distracted by other things (going out and living their damn lives out of lockdown), and so they not only want to know what’s happening with your venue, but they want to read something interesting. So, link to recipes, prescribe some relevant movies to watch, podcasts to listen to. Try to think about what your audience would want from a brand like yours. This boosts your authority, but it also is just fun. We want more fun in our inboxes, pls.

 

Spotted:

  • Paranormal Wines’ EDM: They’re communicating that they’re open, but they’re also telling you about the new UFO report from the Pentagon. Wild. 
  • Sunday Potts Point’s EDM: There’s a sexy new truffled chicken pot pie on the menu, but they’re also suggesting the top five condiments to take to a desert island (if we ever get off this island).

 

Bring back a classic or create something new

If you have a very strong following already, why not test a few new menu items, brand and package some goods up for sale, or hey, pilot a whole new concept out on your customers? So many 2020 test runs grew into fully fledged new businesses in 2021 – Ragazzi launched a wildly popular fresh pasta shop, Fabbrica, for example, which sprang from their pasta takeaway service last year. It gives your customers a little thrill, it’s novel, and it might be fun for you too, to break out of your mould for a bit. Hey, it could lead somewhere...

 

Spotted:

  • Dear Sainte Eloise launched a primo beef burger with blue cheese sauce for this lockdown. Next minute - it sells out, but their date-night packs are even better.  
  • Fratelli Paradiso is offering 10 William Street’s famous pretzel take away! Love to see it.
  • Bar Suze has pivoted completely, transforming into a takeaway fish and chipper with crispy fish sandwiches, crumbed sardines and more. 

 

Connect directly through face-to-face video

This may feel strange for some, but for the right brand, it can work so well. Try addressing your audience directly on social - using Reels, grid posts or Stories to talk straight to camera about what you’re offering during this lockdown. It’s hyper effective at connecting with your customers, and a friendly face can be super reassuring during times like these.

 

Spotted:

  • The fellas at Ezra scored the best-performing post of all time on their account with their direct-to-camera update as lockdown hit. These guys are super close to their extremely loyal customers, so it worked well. 
  • When Jovan Curic opened Publife Kitchen three weeks before lockdown, the swift closure was a pretty bad hit, but we’ve loved his personal video updates (and his killer burgers and Serbian-influenced lockdown menu), which have ensured fierce community support to keep the lights on. 

 

Real-time updates 

Are you offering cocktails to-go? Date-night packs? A special cook-at-home menu? Post about it! Show those fancy drinks being shaken or bottled, flaunt the produce, show off customers who have bought it already. Display what you’re working on behind the scenes, and better yet, involve your community in the decision-making process by using polls and question stickers on Instagram. If your customers have a stake in what they’re going to be served, they’re more likely to participate and come get it. 

 

Book a Creative Consult

It’s easy to get stuck in the right-here, right-now, and fair enough, but once your ducks are in a row, why not use this time to hit refresh on your content strategy with some new ideas. Buffet offers a range of strategy and ideation packages to help you think outside the box and get noticed. Get in touch to see how we can help.  

 

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