How to Encourage Diners to Dine Out in Again in a Post-pandemic World

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In what seemed like an eternity, people are finally allowed to dine in restaurants again. They weren’t exactly shy to show how much they missed their old lives. Back then, they can stop by their favorite restaurant without a care of who’s coughing or sneezing there. They used to enjoy dining in or taking out food. But when the pandemic happened, even the simple act of ordering takeout food became a chore. We got scared so much of going out that we’re either having food delivered or just whipping something at home.

When governments started allowing restaurants to accept their patrons to dine in, no one thought it would be easy. And it is not, indeed. While many tried to go out and enjoy their lives as before, a lot of restaurants are also having a hard time convincing their loyal customers that it’s okay to dine in again. At least, it’s okay if the restaurants follow the minimum health safety protocols.

Show Steps You’ve Taken to Ensure Their Safety

The best way to convince them to dine in again is to show the steps you have taken to ensure their safety. This means publishing and posting on your social media pages and websites a video detailing the health protocols in your establishment. The minimum requirement is for you to place tables and chairs six feet apart, and to reduce the number of tables indoors. As much as possible, you should offer outdoor dining. If you do not have access to outdoor space, install ventilation or open windows and doors to let the air circulate better.

Open at Specific Time of the Day

The best time to open your doors is when there are a few people out. This might encourage your customers to dine in. This is why encouraging diners is easier for a breakfast franchise. It can start operations at around 5 AM when the night-shift employees are going home, or the early birds are hitting the road.

Diners feel that being the first ones to dine in your restaurant that day is far safer than dining at night. For one, you have just sanitized the entire store from the previous day. Second, you haven’t had to deal with that many customers yet. The risk of infection is lower when only a handful of people have entered your establishment.

Offer Incentives to Diners

Even during this time, customers love incentives. You can offer a range of discounts that you have never before offered to your customers. Set meals are popular now for those who want to dine in with their families. But if this is not possible, you can slash lunchtime meals even lower. Extending cocktail hours is another way to invite patrons to dine in again. Getting free desserts and drinks is always a welcome treat for anyone who wants to try dining out again.

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Make an Effort for Your Al Fresco Setting

What’s the atmosphere in your indoor restaurant before? Is it an Instagrammable café? Why not do the same thing for your outdoor seating? Some restaurants make the mistake of just putting tables and chairs outside, thinking that’s all their diners need. It’s more than haphazardly throwing tables outside your door. Make an effort to transform that alfresco space into something similar to what they can find indoors. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, but you have to keep with the theme. You will likely see diners lining outside your restaurant.

Create a Sound Reservation System

Reservations will quell the fear of your diners that there’s going to be a lot of people in your restaurant. When they know they have to fight toe and nail to get a table, then that will tell them that you’re carefully selecting the number of people who’ll be allowed to dine in. However, make sure to have a seamless reservation system. The least you can do this time is to make your services convenient. If you succeeded in doing this, you could expect that people will start filling those seats.

There are more changes this year than you’ll ever see perhaps in your lifetime. The new norm hasn’t set in yet, but people are already demanding better policies and services. How do you see your business keeping up with these changes? How can you convince people to trust your business? Know what your market wants. Do not hesitate to effect changes when needed. This is probably the best time for you to stay ahead of the competition and carve a path to success.

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