What steps should you follow to relaunch your restaurant?
The pandemic has dealt a harsh blow to entire economic sectors and catering is among those most severely affected. Partial reopening in the summer can however provide the possibility of relaunching a restaurant or pizzeria, as long as one’s work is adapted to the needs imposed by Covid-19.
Through good organization it will in fact be possible to work at a fast pace, managing to provide a quick service that will not only allow to use the tables for more than one customer per evening, but also to cope with a large demand for take away or delivery products.
We had already talked about how to relaunch a restaurant in another article in our blog, focusing on the possibilities offered by a renewal of cooking tools. We will now once again take up some concepts that we had illustrated mainly in relation to the planning of the renewal of the activity, while adapting ourselves to the context of the pandemic.
In this article we will see how to align your restaurant business with the working methods imposed by the pandemic, providing some tips to make the most of the summer and the opportunities we can create to work well.
We will start by talking about the two fixed points on which to base the work in this particular period, namely the efficient use of outdoor spaces and home delivery service.
We will then explore a strategy to relaunch a pizzeria, trying to provide useful ideas to improve the situation of many companies in difficulty. The strategy we will provide includes four steps to follow to renew a restaurant business, which consist of redesigning your organization, the offer of products and services and your image.
In this way, it will be possible to work efficiently, managing both to adapt to the needs imposed by the pandemic and to lay solid foundations on which to grow once the health emergency is overcome.
Covid-19 and catering: how to work during the pandemic
The closures caused by the pandemic have forced restaurants to greatly reduce their work opportunities (and in some cases to close completely).
The only opportunity to work during lockdown periods is in fact through take-away or home delivery services, which in some cases can be quite complicated to manage.
The reopening scheduled for the end of spring, however, may allow you to start working again even with table service, yet only if outside. Making the most of outdoor spaces right away can prove to be the winning card to recover the ground lost due to closures, but we will have to carefully plan every detail of our work.
As mentioned in the introduction, for a successful relaunch of our business we need to start over from two fundamental pillars, which are:
- Taking advantage of outdoor spaces
- Organizing efficiently delivery and take away services
Do you want to find out which oven is best suited for your needs?
Let’s look more closely at the two points in order to understand how to make the most of the work opportunities during the summer.
Taking advantage of outdoor spaces
Outdoor spaces are an extremely precious resource for catering activities, as it will be possible to start again through table service by taking advantage of the outdoor spaces. In fact, science indicates that the likelihood of contagion is significantly reduced outdoors as opposed to indoors; a reason that led to this choice for the reopening strategy.
Those who can, should therefore take the opportunity to organize their spaces as efficiently as possible, in order to be able to work comfortably even in the event of high demands.
As far as the operational aspects are concerned, the efficient management of outdoor spaces takes form in a series of choices to be made based on the setting up of the exteriors that we wish to provide to our restaurant.
It will obviously be necessary to respect the regulations to mitigate the pandemic, which consist in providing hand sanitizers at the restaurant entrance, equipping staff with masks and providing distanced tables by at least one meter.
Furthermore, we will have to try to arrange as many tables as possible based on the geometry of our spaces, taking into account the design and style we wish to give to our restaurant.
One last tip to make the most of the outdoor spaces is to also entertain customers with the pizza chef’s show-cooking, thanks to outdoor cooking tools that are not only capable of capturing the attention of customers but that also enable to properly cook a large number of pizzas professionally.
Outdoor steel ovens suitable for any context, from the most modern and elegant room to the most rustic, can be found. High-performance professional tools that can withstand many years of hard work outdoors.
Organizing efficiently delivery and take away services
The second pillar on which to base the restaurant business during the pandemic is certainly an efficient organization with takeaways and deliveries, as we have already mentioned.
We have dedicated an article on our blog to this topic, providing a guide to make the most of food delivery. We can summarize the key points by saying that it is possible to organize efficiently the work with takeaways and deliveries starting by intelligently managing orders, trying not to accumulate too many pizzas in a short time.
As for the logistic management of deliveries, you can choose whether to organize the service internally or to rely on specialized external platforms, such as JustEat or Deliveroo.
Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages. Relying on external platforms in large cities is usually preferred (due to the high number of customers that can be reached) and above all to avoid the burden of organizing deliveries, yet at the risk of losing contact with customers who might be more difficult to retain.
The internal organization of deliveries is certainly much more demanding, but it allows us to have a direct relationship with the end customer and increase profit margins, as long as we manage to organize ourselves efficiently. In fact it’s quite important to try to optimize courier deliveries, that is, trying to deliver multiple orders with a single trip (optimizing transport time and costs).
Making the most of outdoor spaces, while at the same time managing delivery efficiently, is the key to being able to work well during the summer. The goal is to satisfy both customers seated at the tables and those who order takeaway or home delivery, as we need both to recover the losses caused by the closing periods.
How to relaunch a pizzeria in 4 steps
The advice we gave in the first paragraph regarding the organizational changes imposed by the pandemic may already be enough to get started effectively and work well. In order to have solid and lasting results, however, let’s now explore a complete strategy for relaunching a pizzeria.
Let’s start by saying that each case is independent and there is no perfect solution for everyone. Furthermore, not all activities start from the same situation since everyone works in a different context and has different needs and objectives.
Another fundamental factor that can make the difference is also the different spending capacity that each activity can dedicate to its renewal project, more or less in-depth.
The relaunch strategy we propose is based on four sequential steps, that is, they should be implemented progressively and not simultaneously, moving on to the next step only after having finished the previous one.
The four steps to follow in order to renovate a pizzeria or restaurant are:
- Analyse the initial situation
- Design the business innovation
- Satisfy attracted customers as much as possible
- Stimulate demand with promotional initiatives
Let’s see, step by step, what our strategy to relaunch a pizzeria consists of.
Step 1: Analyse the initial situation
The starting point of a good strategy should be an accurate analysis of the context in which we work and the characteristics of our business.
Regarding the first point, we can start with an analysis of the market in which we work. This is fundamental, not only to understand what potential needs to be exploited, but also to study what our competitors are doing, selecting them both on the basis of the location of the premises, and on the basis of their style and what they are offering (what type of products they sell and at what prices).
We will also need to try to understand what types of people they are aimed at (families with children, young couples, children’s gatherings etc.) and identify our market niche, to be addressed with carefully thought-out products.
For example, we may decide to start serving gluten-free pizzas, as we realize that the closest pizzeria to us that sells them is thirty kilometres away. Another example: we could introduce organic ingredients or slow-food products, to attract people who are concerned about environmental issues and are looking for quality products (and are therefore willing to spend a few more euros).
Looking instead at the internal analysis of our restaurant business, we need to consider the type of pizzeria or restaurant we currently are and what we want to become in the future.
We need to think about the many different aspects that make up the experience of our customers and make sure to entice them to come back (bringing other people who will bring others in turn, if we are good at satisfying them all).
Every single situation will need to implement different measures, which can range from a complete renovation to the simple arrangement of some details, with an infinite number of intermediate means.
Step 2: Design the business innovation
After analysing the context in which we work, and once we have clarified what changes we need to make to our organization, it is time to design the innovation of our restaurant business.
We will need to think about several factors, which affect both our operational needs and the needs of our customers.
As previously mentioned, our culinary offer has a significant impact on the creation of the brand, because we can distinguish ourselves from the competition starting from the food we offer.
In order to implement a good renovation project for a restaurant business, we must first understand what we need to make all the dishes we want to serve, identifying the right tools and the best way to place them based on the geometry of our spaces (internal and external).
To learn more about cooking tools, we have dedicated another article, found on our blog, on how to choose the right oven according to your needs.
However, at the same time, we also need to think about the image of our business, which in addition to our dishes is also characterized by the choices related to the design of its environments (both internal and external) and to a series of other considerations, such as personalized t-shirts for employees or customized boxes for take-away or home-delivered pizzas.
Every choice, even the apparently most insignificant detail (such as the standard phrase for answering the phone or the type of bill holder), must be studied with a view to making our customers feel good. We need to create a welcoming and characteristic environment, in which the restaurant’s soul and the passion we put into our work can be perceived.
Finally, in order to carry out a complete renovation project for our restaurant business it is necessary to implement digital tools in the organization. There are many types and with different purposes, from software for operational management (for example dedicated to the warehouse or staff), to web marketing tools such as the website or social networks.
The former can help to manage structured realities accustomed to large numbers, while they are not very common in small restaurant businesses. Digital communication tools, on the other hand, are extremely widespread among all types of companies and in particular in our sector. Given the large number of people who use them, they have now become fundamental communication tools and people expect to be able to choose different means to contact us.
In addition to communication, it is possible to digitize other processes of our work, for example, by facilitating customers with the possibility of paying with electronic money even at home or by providing a geolocation service for the pizza delivery clerk.
Creating a good project means having a clear idea of how you want to organize every aspect of your work, choosing the most appropriate solutions based on your objectives and your working context.
Carefully planning a complete improvement strategy therefore means enhancing your practical organization while at the same time renewing the brand.
Step 3: Satisfy the customers
The third step of our strategy is to put into practice the changes planned in the previous phase. We will therefore put our strategy into practice, trying to adopt the innovations we intend to implement quickly and effectively. They might concern both operational aspects and aspects related to the renewal of the brand, which we have mentioned previously.
Our initial goal is to fine-tune every aspect of our work, in order to fit every gear in the right place and be able to guarantee an excellent level of service and product.
By doing so, not only will we be able to slightly increase the average price, but it will also improve our image, if we are able to make customers perceive the leap in quality we have made.
If the problem is the long wait by the customers, it may be useful to take a look at another article on our blog, with suggestions on how to increase the hourly production of pizzas.
Do you want to find out which oven is best suited for your needs?
Step 4: Make yourself known
To use a metaphor, the last step in our strategy to relaunch a pizzeria or restaurant is to fill up with petrol once we have fine-tuned the car.
Once we are able to efficiently manage the innovations we have introduced, and have reached an excellent level in our service, it is time to start launching our promotional initiatives.
We mentioned that the phases of our project should be developed in sequence so as to avoid that the initiatives carried out with the utmost enthusiasm may prove to be not only useless, but even counterproductive.
This is a classic case, for example, of activities that launch promotional offers in the initial days of the week, to counteract the decrease in work compared to the weekend. What could happen though, is that a very tempting offer will enable us to receive many more requests than we are able to manage, generating considerable chaos in the kitchen, long waiting times and dissatisfied customers (very difficult to recover).
There are numerous ways to make your business known and there is no better time to invest in advertising than after having renewed your image and your offer, for example to recover those customers that you haven’t seen in a long time.
We previously mentioned the great usefulness of digital tools, above all websites, smartphone apps and the social channels. In addition to being a free showcase, these tools have sections dedicated to paid advertising, easy to use and which require much lower investments than traditional media (for example, various types of logos and radio, TV or local press advertisements).
They not only allow us to reach a large number of people, but they also enable to carefully select the people to whom our message is destined, choosing those who are most likely to become our customers.
In addition to these tools, it is also advisable to use other platforms dedicated to the world of food, such as TripAdvisor (widely used in tourist cities) or The Fork (for promotions), which are also very useful for reaching a large number of people.
It is always necessary to consider the type of activity we have set up and the characteristics of our customers in order to be able to carry out effective promotional initiatives. While we tend to advise restaurateurs to embrace modernity and digitize their business, it doesn’t mean traditional advertising isn’t effective. In some cases it can prove to be a winning feature, if studied properly, and you can also alternate both types of promotional tools.
To learn more, we’d like to point out another article in our blog dedicated to how to attract customers to a pizzeria and stand out from the competition.
Find out how to relaunch your pizzeria with a professional Alfa oven
By following the proposed strategy, step by step, you can renovate a restaurant or a pizzeria, while managing to both modernize your image and facilitate your operational management.
As we’ve mentioned several times, the changes to be made and the innovations to be implemented vary according to each case and the degree of restructuring needed (more or less profoundly). If, for many, a few tricks may be enough to be able to improve the quality of products and services, for others it may be an opportunity to completely rethink their business, starting from the menu and then from the cooking tools.
In many cases, in fact, the pizzeria relaunch project is based on a new oven, especially if we begin to realize that it is time to change the old one. You can take stock of the situation regarding your instrument by consulting our check list of the aspects to be evaluated in order to decide whether to change a professional oven.
For a relaunch in grand style, and in order to take advantage of outdoor spaces, it is advisable to choose an outdoor steel oven, with which to amaze customers with your show-cooking.
The range of Alfa professional ovens allows you to find the perfect solution for every context, enabling you to choose from eight models which can be customized, as far as finishes are concerned, and which are available in various sizes Our professional pizza ovens are high quality cooking tools, which can boast excellent thermal performance and high production efficiency with reduced fuel consumption (wood, gas or hybrid ovens).
This is made possible by the great care in design we put into the construction of our ovens and by the technological innovations we have developed over the years, with regard to the excellent quality of the materials used and the extremely refined design, which makes our ovens capable of furnishing environments (both internal and external).
The strategy we have suggested to relaunch a restaurant or a pizzeria can help many businesses that are going through a difficult time and we greet you by wishing all restaurateurs to be able to work to their fullest during the summer, hoping to return to normality as soon as possible.