5 things to boost your restaurant sales after a COVID lockdown

5 things to boost your restaurant sales after a COVID lockdown

Restaurants: Welcoming your customers back after lockdown

People across the UK ate 352 million fewer meals out than they usually would have during the first three months of lockdown.

Now restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes are opening up again across London; you may be wondering what you can do to welcome your customers back, and how to get back to normal.

Here is our guide to how you can encourage customers (both old and new) to your venue, and what the future of hospitality will look like in 2021.

Why you should scrap your pre-lockdown dining menu

If you are looking to reopen or have recently reopened, you may be tempted to revert to the exact same menu you had in place before March 2020. After all, it’s all about getting back to normal… isn’t it?!

We recommend that this is an excellent opportunity to change up your menu. This will not only encourage your existing customers back, but help welcome brand new clientele too.

Here are some of the reasons why you should change out your menu in the weeks to come.

People are eating out less

Even though restaurants are now open in London (at the time this article was published), people aren’t eating out as much as they used to. Currently, the percentage of seated restaurant diners is 54% lower than it was this time last year.

What does this mean for your business? It means that restaurants need to give customers something extra special to entice them to come out. This can be anything from an exquisite tasting menu, exciting new cocktails or delicious sharing platters that people can share with their social bubble.

People’s eating habits have changed

Lockdown has changed the way people not only eat, but procure their food.

People are now more interested in seasonal food and locally grown produce. 65% of people are now more supportive of local shops and suppliers, agreeing that they are an essential part of the UK’s economy and something that needs to be protected.

This means adapting your menu to include more locally grown goods could result in more sales for your restaurant. Sourcing your fruit, vegetables, eggs, honey and bread from local businesses will not only encourage more customers, but help reduce your company’s carbon footprint too.

On another note, using more seasonal and local food in your kitchen could also be beneficial when Brexit comes into play at the start of next year.

People are keen to eat healthier

People used lockdown as a time for self-improvement, with many taking the opportunity to make positive changes in their diets and lifestyles.

As an example, the demand for plant-based food increased this year, with a 246% increase in vegan meat-substitute sales. Keto, a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet, was popular with people as well.

If your customers have made a move towards veganism or other healthy-eating trends, it would be a fantastic opportunity to incorporate some options for them on your menu. For example, vegan burgers, pizzas and ice cream are popular choices with customers.

People are now interested in a range of different foods

People developed an interest in new and exciting foods during lockdown, with people keen to cook and eat comforting foods like cheesecake, trifle and bread and butter pudding. For example, purchases of rice pudding went up 67% since the start of lockdown!

You can look at incorporating these changes into your new menu to complement the new tastes that your customers have. After all, if you make food that they enjoy, they will keep coming back to try everything on your menu!

Market research is very important – ask your customers what they have been enjoying making and eating during lockdown and what they would like to see on your new menu!

Will ‘Eat out to help out’ be making a return this year?

During the November lockdown, there were rumours that the subsidised dining scheme would be making a comeback during the Christmas holidays. When it debuted in August, over 100 million meals were claimed across the country, providing a well-needed boost in profits to restaurants across London and beyond.

Unfortunately, this has not come to pass. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hinted at reintroducing the scheme at the start of 2021 to help restaurants with the spending slump usually seen after Christmas.

In normal years, pub and restaurant sales are lower in January because people have less money and are trying to curb the excesses of Christmas with initiatives like Dry January. However if the scheme does return, people may find the call of low-priced food hard to refuse.

In summary

Although people were reticent to do so in July when hospitality venues started to open up again, more people are now keen to return to their favourite restaurants. Research carried out by Kantar shows that although only 15% of people were willing to eat out at the start of August, 23% of people were happy to eat out later on in the year.

With people now more confident in going out, give your customers the nudge they need to come over and enjoy not only your delicious food, but the wonderful ambience that you provide.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to keep your customer’s experience safe and secure with protective measures in place.

Want to know more about the latest trends in the restaurant industry?

Crowbond has been providing London restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes with delicious fresh produce for nearly forty years.

We’re thought leaders in our sector and keep ourselves up to date with all the latest trends and developments in the restaurant industry. We do this so we can pass what we learn to our customers, helping them to choose the best food and drink for their needs.

Visit the food trends section of our website to learn more about what is happening in the industry, and keep coming back to find out about all the latest news.





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