Brand building and customer communication: operating in hospitality post lockdown

The future of the hospitality sector is unclear at the moment, and many businesses are starting to trial opening their doors again. As they look into how they might change their business model and operate post-lockdown, we’re looking into some of the key areas that you can start to plan for now.

Businesses are having to be flexible. Their spaces have to adapt to any new social distancing rules, and this is a significant change. But one thing has stayed the same: communicating with your guests and staff in order to continue building on your brand is incredibly important for the long-term.

One thing we’ve seen come out of the pandemic is hero and villain brands, and we know which side you’ll want to be on. It’s important to share what you are doing behind the scenes to support your staff, as well as positive stories, innovations you’ve made, and any initiatives and charities you’ve been part of along the way.

 

Campaigns to refill restaurant tables
For many brands within the hospitality industry, this will involve looking at marketing to customers as if they’ve never been to your restaurant before. It will be a gradual process wherein customers will be getting comfortable with new social distancing rules and eating out again. As part of this, educating your customers about new health and safety procedures you have put in place will be part of it, as well as encouraging customers to come back and enjoy what your brand and restaurant experience is all about – an experience they loved and will have been missing!

Beat the Blues digital campaign to increase footfall

Whether it’s a social media campaign giving out treats to loyal customers to encourage them back and increase footfall, creating a logo to advertise a new service or offering, encouraging customers back with an promotion or enticing passing trade and engaging with the local neighbourhood in order to provide delivery services or get them eating and drinking within your space.

All of this will help to encourage customers to come back to enjoy your business in person..

Good Food Fast logo for Bill's restaurants

Communicating with your customers inside your space
Social distancing has the potential to prove tricky in some areas within the space, for example queuing safely and bottlenecks like corridors to toilets, so it’s going to be important to communicate practical advice with your customers throughout the space with clear signage.

Simplified and paired back menus might be essential to your business managing the fluctuating footfall. You could also look into more functional menu designs that allow you to dispose of them after each customer’s visit. These small changes will be important for health and safety.

Menu design for The Carvery

Introducing technology into your customers journey
Some restaurants and cafes are looking to offer online payment systems allowing customers to order and pay via an app, therefore relieving the need for waiters at these points of contact. The app we designed for Bill’s allowed customers to pay online and rewarded customer loyalty.

Loyalty and payment app for Bill's restaurants

Engaging with your staff on a regular basis
Ensuring the wellbeing of staff is at the forefront of most brands’ priorities as they develop a safe and positive environment for them to work in. As part of this you will need to ensure you communicate your new health and safety procedures, expectations and guidelines with your staff clearly, this could be by updating manuals or sign-posting around staff areas, the kitchen, and serving points, or by communicating regularly with your staff via newsletters, making them aware of changes to the business, positive stories, new services, and more.

 

Developing new products and services
From takeaway meals to pantry staples, brands are looking to make additional income from their business model. Branding and marketing for these new products and services are increasingly important to differentiate your brand.

Social Pantry's range of own-brand food products that we designed
Bill's restaurants takeaway packaging design

Collaboration is key
We’re always willing to have a chat about how we could help you and your brand get through this difficult time and prepare for the challenges ahead. If you need help getting your business post-lockdown ready, get in touch via michelle@studionoel.co.uk

further reading