According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry suffered sales losses of approximately $240 billion. More than 110,000 foodservice companies and restaurants closed their doors to customers in 2020, resulting in the loss of 12.5 million jobs.
Nine out of ten restaurants in the U.S. have fewer than 50 employees, according to the report. Nearly seven out of ten restaurants are operated independently. This has caused a lot of changes for restaurant operators. The key to planning budgets, staffing, marketing, technology, and menus is to pay attention to industry trends.
A step-by-step guide to operating a restaurant effectively in 2022 will help operators mitigate the harmful effects of Covid-19 and make the changes they need to streamline their operations in 2022. All restaurant brands are facing challenges in 2022, according to research.
This guide will help you establish or revise your restaurant business plan so that you can operate effectively and keep your doors open. With this guide, you can prepare for overcoming challenges and exploring new opportunities in 2022. Read on!
Step 1: Create Or Revise Your Plan
Focusing on your planning is the first step in revising your restaurant business strategy. There is no substitute for a well-structured plan, which makes it easy for your stakeholders to follow the guidelines.
The purpose of a comprehensive plan isn’t for you to write or develop one because if your team doesn’t understand it, the plan isn’t going to work. Therefore, start Write a plan that outlines the strategies, methodologies, and tactics that you will implement in 2021. Make sure to focus on these essential strategies!
The Business Verticals
Which are your business verticals and revenue generators? Would you like to revise your strategy to include grab-and-go, family meals, catering, takeout, and delivery? Make sure the revenue generators you choose are in line with your business and brand.
A Staff That Works Well Together
Evaluate your business strategies, especially your staff. How qualified and experienced is your staff to follow the new guidelines and practice the new-normal protocols? How will you train your team and what are your wellness and safety programs for 2022?
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, unpredictable lockdowns, and social distancing, what changes will you make in your business? List the number of changes you will implement in 2022. Are you planning to update your capital expenses budget? What is your plan? Are you going to take current and forecasted revenue into consideration? Make sure you answer these questions in your business plan.
The public relations approach is a sophisticated way to create advertising and marketing strategies. Creating a reliable, effective, and customer-friendly reputation for your restaurant business is the goal. What are your public relations and marketing strategies for 2022? What marketing medium will help to make your restaurant more successful in 2022?
There is one factor that constantly changes at restaurants, and that is their menu. In 2019 and 2020, your menu was different, and it will be different in 2022. What are some potential business verticals and trends you can incorporate into your menu? Do your supply chain channels pose any challenges?
A Projection Of Cash Flow
Operators of restaurants will be more likely to eliminate various non-essential services in 2022 due to a lack of resources and budgets. Is there a plan for removing and keeping some of your services to support your business operations? The projection of cash flows is very important. Which parts of your business generate the most revenue?
Step 2: Determine How To Generate Revenue
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the restaurant industry to undergo unprecedented changes, causing operators to think and act creatively to create new revenue generators. Have you ever heard of restaurants selling flour bags and toilet paper before the pandemic?
Considering the challenging times, restaurant operators came up with these wise ideas. These ideas have helped streamline restaurant revenue. People take desperate measures in desperate times and adopt strategies that are best for business.
The things that are going to last long-term and lead to higher revenues are the following: Restaurant traffic declined before and during the pandemic due to lockdown measures. While authorities have allowed restaurants to offer dine-in services on a limited basis, it is difficult for operators to develop a long-term strategy.
Choices Of Delivery
We recommend focusing on takeout and delivery options if you want to keep your restaurant open for business. These strategies are effective for both fine and casual dining establishments. Alternatively, you can use a drive-thru or off-premises sales to close the delivery gap.
Self-delivery is another viable option for restaurant businesses since third-party vendors’ delivery fees will remain unsustainable. Technological tools and apps will expand self-delivery in 2022. As technology advances in self-delivery apps, small restaurants will become more efficient and competitive in the marketplace.
Consumers often dine at their favorite food outlets and restaurants. In 2022, takeout will continue to grow rapidly as consumers become familiar with curbside ordering services from different restaurants. Consider taking advantage of this strategy if it fits your needs.
The decline in catering has led to restaurants focusing more on individual meals instead of usual buffets. It is designed to maintain social distance and ensure small gatherings remain in effect. Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, catering was one of the most effective revenue streams.
Despite the decline in catering, consumers still enjoy social gatherings and group activities because they are integral to the social fabric. Government and state regulations will play a large role in reviving catering as they relax group size requirements and social distancing restrictions
As a restaurant operator, you must decide whether grab-and-go and selling pantry items are right for your business. Assess your options to ensure they complement your brand. Grab-and-go is an effective strategy to increase takeout sales in 2022 because customers prefer value and convenience.
Restaurant businesses are removing pantry items from their menus since consumers are more inclined to shop from curated lists of items from specialty retailers and restaurants. Meal kits and take-home meals are back in business in 2022, and their popularity will grow even more. As a result, think about selling meal kits if your budget allows.
Step 3: Revisit Your Staffing Plan
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment rates have surged for the last year. Restaurants should prioritize the health, wellbeing, and safety of their employees and customers in 2022. Business models for restaurants will undergo significant changes in 2022, so you should focus on training and insurance for your employees.
Restaurants are likely to see health and job security concerns from their employees in 2022. Reforming your culture and communication strategy should begin immediately.
If your company’s culture matches your employees’ values, your employees may want to work for you. Focus on proper communication channels and align your brand’s external and internal messaging.
Since the restaurant industry has shrunk, operators have been unable to staff their businesses with open positions. There will be an increase in unemployment among middle management. Our recommendation is that you ensure the job security of your employees so that they remain loyal to your company and that your business operations will be optimized.
Furthermore, you should invest in employee training to ensure the development of new skills. By doing so, you can enhance your business culture and streamline your relationship with your employees.
An educated employee will save your restaurant time and money, leading to increased productivity and profitability. Every member of your workforce, including chefs, waiters, and managers, should receive continuous training to remain proficient.
Step 4: Change Your Restaurant Design
Remodeling your restaurant design depends on your budget and resources, but it can prove beneficial in the long run. Take advantage of this opportunity and remodel your kitchen and dining room if you have the means. You should keep in mind that social distancing will affect your dining room capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic and in the future. Here are some suggestions:
Upgrade your HVAC Systems
Installing ultra-violet (UV) filters and HEPA filters on your heating and cooling systems will enhance indoor air quality and eliminate the transmission of microbes including bacteria, viruses, and even SARS-CoV-2.
Sinks That Integrate Contactless Technology
Dining rooms in your restaurant should have contactless and hand sinks. In addition, make sure your service area has them as well. Your staff should wash their hands in these contactless sinks as well. That way, you can demonstrate to your customers that you follow all hygiene protocols. Therefore, you can earn your customers’ trust and expect more word-of-mouth marketing.
Expand Kitchen Space
As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, restaurant designs will continue to change as fewer customers eat in dining areas. Therefore, you should shrink your dining room and expand your kitchen in order to keep up with this changing trend. Moreover, restaurants will likely adopt smaller footprint strategies in 2021, and this trend will continue through 2022 because dine-in guests are unlikely to rebound to numbers before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Integrate Touchless Solutions
You should consider touchless solutions for sinks, doors, windows, and other areas of your restaurant. By incorporating sanitizer stations for your staff and customers, you can revise your design strategy.
Having more takeout areas in your restaurant will change your “in” and “out” pathways. Additionally, install exit-only doors to prevent your customers from getting infected with Covid-19. The popularity of outside dining is expected to grow in the coming months, so you should provide practical and safe outside dining facilities. Determine how to incorporate pick-up or drive-thru windows if you run a fast-casual restaurant.
Step 5: Check Your Marketing Plan
A restaurant marketing campaign will keep your existing customers loyal while attracting new ones. Show your customers that you value them and offer them the best meals by marketing your business in this manner. Here are some marketing strategies to consider.
Social Media Marketing
Hire a team of professional social media marketers to handle your campaign. According to Statista, 190 million people use Facebook, and according to Backlinko, 120 million Americans use Instagram.
In the same way, video marketing can be used on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Videos will make your potential and existing customers addicted to your restaurant business.
By using YouTube or social media sites to market your restaurant, you are able to showcase the features of your restaurant and integrate photos of your kitchen and dining area, food-related music, and fun graphics that will attract people.
Take advantage of these social media channels to generate more customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Introducing your business to people who are creating new habits and adopting new ways is a fantastic opportunity.
To reach your target audience, ensure your digital marketing team conveys an attractive, compelling, and relevant message. You can increase awareness while focusing on new trends to establish your business on social media and drive new customers.
Your Restaurant’s Policies Should be Communicated
The important thing is to communicate your restaurant policies to your potential and existing customers no matter what marketing methods you use. Be sure to emphasize the health and safety of your customers in your message. Consumers are more likely to shop at your business or order food from it when they feel you adhere to the Covid-19 safety protocols and sanitation standards.
- Post your policies on your website
- Share videos on social media
- Use YouTube to communicate your message
- Offer promotional incentives and offers
Meet with your marketing team to discuss how they will communicate these messages on your website, third-party sites, social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and merchandising materials.
Develop Traditional Marketing Strategies
Out-of-home advertising, such as advertising on billboards, has resurrected during the Covid-19 pandemic because it can drive more customers to your takeout and dine-in business.
You should combine both traditional and contemporary (digital) marketing methods to maximize your marketing mix, unlike other restaurants that focus mostly on digital marketing. You should communicate with your customers on all levels.
Your target customers can also be reached through cable ads. The effectiveness of cable advertising in targeting a specific demographic in the local market can’t be overstated. Additionally, integrate loyalty programs with your POS, online ordering, takeout, and delivery platforms.
Step 6: Research Trending Menus
There have been many changes in the business world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the retail and restaurant sectors. American businesses are adapting to this new normal rapidly. The restaurant menu you had last summer will be different this year.
As a result of the pandemic, rapid paradigm shifts have been experienced by restaurant operators, and menu changes will continue to affect many businesses in 2022. Converge your old and new menu strategies as you move forward by adapting to the right mix of menu items, value, and price points. The goal is to increase the appeal of your menu for existing and potential customers.
Flexibility Of Supply Chains
The government’s supply chain constraints have led to record-high prices in the beef and pork markets, which might affect your menu design at first. Even though this will level out, it will have a significant impact on availability, prices, and profits.
Therefore, we suggest you consider supply chain problems and bring flexibility while focusing on your consumer demand. Because customers will see evolution in their interaction with your restaurant as you open dining rooms, people get back to work, and children return to schools.
Maintain A Balanced Menu
Businesses, including restaurants and foodservice providers, have to offer more value to consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some consumers are concerned with finding value, while others are looking for indulgent items that are difficult to prepare at home. Consider balancing these two aspects in your restaurant’s menus in order to attract both types of people – the value-seekers and the people who prefer your favorite food items
Step 7: Make Your Financial Strategy More Effective
The management and control of cash flow, expenses, and sales projections are challenging for many restaurants. In addition, these challenges will not diminish throughout the year 2021. Focusing on the expense side of the profit and loss statement can help you resolve these problems.
In order to determine your sales channels and evaluate the effects of the pandemic on your changing business conditions, you must first determine your sales channels. Depending on the option you choose, the provision paycheck protection program will have an impact on your business. We recommend:
- Focus on cash flow forecasting
- Budget for each season
- You should not rely on credit
- Management of inventories
- Utilize multiple vendors
- Consider reducing overhead
- Accounts should be followed often
A pandemic like the Covid-19 pandemic makes it hard for restaurants to produce consistent and reliable sales. If you want to grow your restaurant business, this 2022 guide to operating a restaurant discusses strategic planning, design, marketing, menu development, technology, and more evaluations. The tips above will help you optimize your business development strategies in 2022 and enable you to operate your restaurant successfully.