Many states have been given the green light to begin their opening phase as early as June 1st, which means the learning curve for providing a safe, distanced environment will keep plenty of restaurants busy. While the CDC provides rules and suggestions for a dining room re-opening, it does not touch on how to properly communicate with patrons once the doors swing open. While we begin to work with clients again, one thing is for certain - everyone will have a different opinion and view on what is going on in the world. Safety will look different for everyone. The most important job you will have in the reintroduction phase is to make your clients feel that you’ve thought of every measure to assure their safety and you’re prepared to address any concern they have. With this in mind, consider the following as you begin to reach out to guests for either private events:
1. Provide Reassurance. It’s something every customer will be seeking as they begin to make plans again. Get ahead of your customer’s fears by offering a clear and simple list of how your restaurant is complying with CDC regulations. This includes:
Social distancing guidelines
Guidelines with staff
Handling of food
2. Lead with Kindness. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about hospitality, but think about that word for a moment. To be in this business is to be hospitable. In this climate, it is more important than ever to show kindness and understanding to your customers. Just like many of you, they will be nervous to go out again. Be sensitive to that. Sometimes listening to their concerns can open them up and make them feel at ease. Kindness can dismantle fear quickly.
3. Listen & Acknowledge. Open those lines of communication like you never have before. By listening to guest feedback, you may find additional ways to make a better customer experience. Keep in mind that guests have never dined during a pandemic! We’re all learning, so we should all be listening. Acknowledge your customer’s concerns and let them know they are being heard. Sometimes acknowledging issues is half the battle is winning a guest over.
4. Actively Follow Up. It is so important to be checking in on your guests following any dine-in experience. Hearing how their evening was can help you to properly adjust your strategy based on feedback. It’s also important to follow up on any symptoms your guests might have. If they were sick during the time they were visiting, it’s important you inform your employees that were around that individual.
How are you implementing new communication practices at this time? Are rules different now or is it business as usual for you? If you want to learn more about planning private events during this phase, check out our Re-Introduction Guideline, which is free at www.shesaidcelebrate.com. Our guideline includes suggestions for communicating with clients, setting up private dining rooms with CDC guidelines in mind and tips on training your team as they come back to work.