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Marketing Now - Use Your Downtime Well

Barry Walker – Paperchase Marketing Manager, suggests the best way to spend your lockdown time is by planning for change!

During this lockdown, what is the most productive way you could be spending your time? The face of our industry is changing and any return to near normal, pre-Covid, may not happen until 2022 or 2023. Social distancing may be with us throughout the entire year of 2021, and as a result capacity and covers will be reduced. The summer may give us some respite, when we can eat in the open air, if your restaurant or bar has that capability, but you still need ways to create new levels of business.

My number 1 tip would be to plan for a different future, a future that focuses on delivery and online ordering, a survival future. It may not be the way you set your business up, but it is the way your business could ride the storm and survive. And it is the way the cautious consumer is preferring to engage. Delivery services revolutionised the market during the third quarter of 2020, with over 46.4m food delivery orders in the UK, and an increase of 43% over the same period in 2019. The writing is on the wall. Uber Eats have seen their business double since lockdown, and Just Eat is now a £6bn business, with Deloitte predicting the delivery market to grow to an estimated £19bn by 2023.

Offering delivery extends the capacity of your restaurant. It creates a safer environment for your customers, and you can return to a previous business model when near-normal returns. There are many platforms out there that can take orders online and can link with your EPOS system, making it easy for the customer to buy from you, and for you to get paid. Delivery services are changing with local operators charging the customer a fixed delivery fee, taking that fee away from the food service provider, making it more agreeable to you.

There is no guarantee that lockdown will end on 15th February, it may well be extended, so in the next 6 weeks, develop your online strategy. There is funding now for projects like this, so apply and use it well. Create a new 'delivery' menu with robust dishes, that travel well. Speak to your EPOS supplier for assistance, and source your 'delivery' partner.

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