How technology can help restaurants during COVID-19

Many hospitality businesses have opted to offer food delivery and take-out services, in a bid to continue supporting their local community in a safe way. But to do this successfully, businesses need to communicate details of their new offering and related protocols in an effective way and this is where SMS can help.

30 March 2020

Friday 20th March 2020 saw an announcement by the Prime Minister on behalf of the government ordering all cafes, pubs and restaurants to close in a bid to slow down the spread of coronavirus. 

While there are measures being put in place to help financially support these organisations, a question raised by many, is how hospitality businesses can continue to operate responsibly and support their local community.

One of the ways highlighted by the Prime Minister is the ability to offer a take-out or delivery service to their customers. 

But how can you communicate the details of your new take-out service? We’ve seen many people take to social media over the last few weeks to promote their business and detail how they are adapting and continuing to support their customers during this challenging time. 

Social media is undoubtedly a fantastic channel to promote your hospitality business, with channels such as Instagram favouring delicious pictures of food and drink, enticing customers to visit your establishment. But when the entire concept of your business changes and you need to create and emphasise higher levels of hygiene, social media can become less effective. Furthermore, our news feeds and media outlets are full of stories surrounding COVID-19 and consequently, your message around new delivery and hygiene standards could get lost.

During these challenging times, personalised communication can help ensure your message gets noticed. Channels such as email, phone calls or text messaging are effective mediums to communicate personally with your customers and offer you the ability to communicate in more detail your new delivery or take-away proposition. 

It seems that communication has never been more important. As a business messaging company, we can speak knowledgeably of how hospitality businesses can best use and implement SMS into their communication strategy. Consequently, we’ve created a quick guide below of the top use cases.

  1. Communicating time-critical information.
    By sending an SMS with important information such as a new payment approach, ordering process or take-out opening times, you can be sure that your message will be received and read. Text messaging is famed for having a 95% open rate, and 90% of all messages are read within 3 minutes
  2. Communicating in real-time.
    Sometimes the information that you need to share with your customers requires a little more space than is available with a standard SMS. This is why utilising SMS Long Numbers can be so useful. It allows recipients to reply to your messages, so you can have a real-time conversation and explain anything which isn’t clear. Thus ensuring your message is received by your target audience and enabling you to communicate a more complex message
  3. Order updates.
    Whether you’re offering a take-away service or delivery, SMS can be used to update your customer on the status of their order. It can also detail specific criteria such as “Your delivery driver will arrive within the next 10 minutes, they will ring the bell and leave your order on the doorstep.”

No matter which channel you use, the important thing is that you continue to communicate with your customers. If you would like to discuss further, how SMS could help to support your communication, please email [email protected] or call 0845 122 1302.

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