1. Communicate to attract new customers and keep your regulars around
If you’re wondering how to attract customers in uncertain times, don’t forget that communicating with them has always been important. But during lockdown this has become even more of a focus.
- 71% of consumers think it’s important for eating and drinking out venues to communicate with their customers during the COVID-19 outbreak 1
- 4 out of 5 consumers are more likely to visit venues that they receive communications from 1
Tailoring communications to consumer preferences ensures greater consumer engagement, with those aged 18-34 having different priorities vs those aged 55 and over.
- 39% of 18-34-year olds will be interested to know where venues source their ingredients from post lockdown: indexing 12pp higher than the GB average. This is less important to the over 55s who index 6pp lower than average 1
- 18-34-year olds will also be scrutinising what they eat more carefully than before: +5pp vs the GB average. The over 55s see this as less of a concern, ranking 6pp lower vs the average 1
- A venue’s charity initiatives and causes rank higher in terms of importance for 18-34 year olds: 6pp higher than the GB average level of interest 1
All consumers will be interested in a venue’s hygiene standards, however a higher number of the over 55s will be more concerned with cleanliness: +6pp higher vs the GB average.
2. Understand your channels and how they might attract customers
With people looking for reassurance, brand websites will be one of the first places they go to for up to date information, so keeping content up to date and relevant is important for attracting customers.
- 55% of consumers would like venues to communicate their initiatives via their website 1
Email and social media are also key, with over a third of consumers receiving communications from food or drink venues via these channels. Although social media works effectively with younger age groups, statistics show it’s not as successful with the over 55s, although this could be due to notification preferences and brands of interest 1.
- 33% of consumers receive communications from food and drink venues via Facebook, but for the over 55s the number is 16pp lower than the GB average 1
Using a mix of communication channels ensures messages will be received by a wider mix of consumers, but across all ages email seems to rank one of the highest. It’s also worth considering how print (direct mail, leafleting) might attract customers, especially for the older generation and when promoting an offer, as this can be a great way to grab attention and connect on a more personal level.
3. Think quality over quantity
When thinking about how to attract customers take into consideration the quality of your offering as a powerful reason for customers to come back. Food quality is the most important happiness indicator in the mind of the customer and taste and quality trump size of portion when it comes to likelihood to return. After an abundance of home cooking, eating out again will be a treat and expectations are likely to be high.
- Post lockdown, 45% of consumers say the quality of food will become more important than before 1
It may not be realistic for the size of the menu to be the same as before, with social distancing rules likely to be in place for the foreseeable future and kitchen restrictions limiting the number of dishes. Some businesses are also considering takeaway and delivery as a long term offer to support their venue if customers are reluctant to return for a while post lockdown; reviewing the best dishes to be transported.
- 85% of businesses see operational changes being a major challenge for recovery 2
A short but balanced menu including high margin crowd pleasers will help with speed of service as well as ensuring key messages that need to be communicated aren’t missed. Offering a good level of choice as well as the top sellers will help attract customers back and receiving regular feedback will help ensure the menu can be adjusted to meet changing demands.
Next, discover how consumer behaviour might change post Covid-19 in our top predictions article.
- CGA Consumer analysis, April 2020
- CGA BrandTrack April 2020 – Covid-19