Jennifer Schmidt

Canberra product photographer

5 ways you can pivot your business to survive the COVID-19 pandemic

With COVID-19 social distancing rules in place, a lot of business owners have been forced to re-think their business in order to survive.

The speed  and spread of the outbreak has forced businesses to think quickly about how they might be able to adapt their business in light of the new normal, of social distancing, that we’ve been presented with. We’ve seen some amazing, seemingly overnight transformations that have been successful and innovative.

So how can you move quickly to stay afloat over the next difficult months? Below are 5 ideas that will hopefully inspire.

1. Meal delivery

While customers may not be able to visit your restaurant or cafe, they still have to eat, so consider meal delivery. Front of house staff can turn into delivery drivers and offer no-contact deliveries of your delicious food, or alternatively, consider no-contact pickups, where customers supply their car registration number and staff deliver the meal to the car.

Think meal delivery won’t work for you? Consider the fact that Attica, ranked as one of the worlds best restaurants has already successfully implemented this with Attica delivery. If they can do it, you can too.

Another option is registering with well known delivery platforms such as Menulog and UberEats. The downside of these platforms is the fees associated with these platforms. Thankfully, in times like this, UberEats have listened to feedback and are offering some support to restaurants and food businesses. You can read more about UberEats response here.
Menulog is currently waiving onboarding fees and says it is investing $3 million dollars in marketing for local restaurants and reducing pickup fees by half.

DoorDash, which launched in Australia last year, is waiving commissions until April 30 for new restaurants registering on the platform. It is also onboarding new restaurants for free and has waived the fee restaurants usually pay for pick up orders via the app, and  has also waived the delivery fees customers pay in the hope of encouraging higher sales for restaurants.

2. Weekly re-heatable meal delivery

An alternative to hot meal delivery is offering weekly meal kits with pre-packaged meals that customers can reheat at home.

With the amount of time people are spending at home as a result of the social distancing rules, offering re-heatable meals can turn the repetitive task of cooking dinner each night into something special to look forward to.

Consider your restaurants current menu and look at the food you are known for and consider ways in which you can offer those meals in re-heatable packages. Plan out your menu (or even multiple menus taking into account different dietary requirements) and list your menu on your social media platforms and website so that customers can order a delivery for the following week.

3. Recipe boxes

Another option is offering weekly recipe boxes, complete with recipe cards and ingredients.

We know this model is successful with examples such as HelloFresh. In this model you could offer recipe cards of make at home versions of the meals you are known for along with all the ingredients your customer needs to make the meal.

Another way to step this up is to consider offering online video classes demonstrating your chefs actually making the recipes on the recipe card. This accomplishes two things, it connects you on a deeper level to your customers (meaning they are more likely to remain loyal to you and revisit when you open again) and is also a way of offering a premium option which you can charge an additional fee for.

4. Gourmet produce boxes

Utilise your great relationships with your suppliers and partner together to offer gourmet produce boxes to your customers. These can include ingredients you use in your restaurant and even wine or alcohol.

5. Sell products online

Is your business known for it’s amazing pasta sauces or marinades? Why not consider offering those items for sale via your website? Consider shelf stable products such as pasta sauce, marinades, cakes, cookies, crackers, homemade pasta or even bread via delivery of click and collect.

Need images to assist you with pivoting your business?

Given the unprecedented times, and the fact that every business is struggling to stay afloat at the moment, I’m offering my services at a significant discount at the moment. 

All you need to do is ship your food or products to my home studio. Or if you can’t ship them, tell me what dish or dishes you need photographed and I can cook and style them from my home studio. We will then get together via video call and discuss your image requirements and your images will then be available for download from an online gallery.

Serving you as best as possible in all this (and keeping safety top of mind!) is my goal. If you are in urgent need of images please contact me.

Stay safe everyone, we can get through this if we all help each other.

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