It may literally feel like yesterday that the first wave of restaurant and business closures swept across the United States, but here we are - almost a year later. Restaurant operators have gone to great lengths to create safer dining experiences. More than ever transparent communication is the key to smooth restaurant operations. Trust20 has discussed how operators can create cohesive teams and properly support them in executing the restaurant’s health and safety solutions. One of the major remaining challenges is restaurant operators need to balance perfecting their health and safety methods with their diner communication strategies.
The country remains in various stages of reopening and fluctuating safety mandates prompt restaurant operators to think carefully about how they are fostering diner trust and enforcing their safety solutions - even when faced with disgruntled diners. Industry leader, and Trust20 Certified Restaurant, A. Marshall Hospitality set the standard early on:
When customers walk in the door, they have to notice the clean. Our restaurants have a “noticeably clean” standard. Our team tracks social media trends, and like many others, we have noticed the word “clean” has jumped up in restaurant reviews. Service used to be the buzzword, but now it’s clean. Clean is the new service for restaurants.
Restaurants not only need to BE and LOOK clean, but they also need to communicate exactly what their safety solutions involve. Signage at the entrance or a greeter can remind diners of the expectations the business holds to support a safer dining experience. Educating diners on safe practices can go a long way to making sure everyone follows the health and safety measures that have been established. Reminders such as those provided by the Trust20 Digital Marketing Tools can be provided throughout the business and sanitizer stations can be utilized to create functional use of social distancing. Additionally, we have seen restaurants across the country encouraging diners to practice social distancing in fun and creative ways.
As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, restaurants who have embraced technology and dedicated their efforts to creating a digital presence are reaping the benefits of the work they put in early on. A cohesive digital presence directly relates to a positive diner experience and paves the way for diners to clearly understand the social contract a restaurant asks its guests to agree to. A strong digital marketing strategy sets the stage before your diners even enter a business. Parky's Smokehouse, a Trust20 Certified Restaurant, sets a great example. Visitors to the Parky's website are greeted with a pop-up that outlines their health and safety solutions, asks for diners to make reservations, and shares the operator's Safety Commitment to their diners. Other restaurants have utilized their robust social media followings to make announcements and asks to their diners.
Our partners at Back of House have shared some restaurant marketing tips to help you solidify your plan or bring in some fresh content ideas.
When in doubt, restaurant operators should defer to communicating more. Transparent, empathetic communication will greatly benefit businesses and diners in the months and years ahead. The social contracts we engage with are changing just as rapidly as the regulations and the only way to navigate them is to being willing to talk about them. It is unfortunate when restaurant employees are faced with pushback from diners who do not respect the industry's new safety measures, however operators should not waste their energy worrying about negative reviews. Check out Hopleaf in Chicago and how they have graciously handled disgruntled diners with grace - through straightforward and honest communication. It is just as much a restaurant operator's duty to create safe dining experiences for their diners as it is to protect their employees. Encouraging diners to comply with a restaurant's health and safety solutions is an essential part of the equation for a safer dining experience.
Trust20 is the new standard of restaurant safety and diner comfort, based on 20 tactics by health and safety experts. Supported by Gordon Food Service and General Mills, Trust20 provides an independently verified certification of restaurant practices, training, and other resources to help restaurants create safe, healthy, and welcome spaces for diners.