President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday, March 23, of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) came as a shock, but we need to be proactive about our businesses.

The restaurant industry will be severely affected by this pandemic. But there are still some steps you can put in place to limit the damage that it will cause to your establishment. In this blog, we take a look at a few crisis management strategies.

Make an assessment

For a restaurant, a crisis could be a health issue, a public relations issue, a customer service issue or a natural disaster, according to restaurantengine. The website advises that the first thing you need to do in a crisis is to get the full picture. Your main goal is to have your restaurant up and running as quickly as possible after the crisis, so make an assessment on how this is going to be possible with your brand image intact. This could also mean thinking about your relaunch. Ask yourself what you can put in place to improve your restaurant, for example, improved restaurant software.

Get ahead of the story

One of the golden rules of public relations, reports Forbes Magazine, is to get ahead of the story. Don’t wait for someone else to bring a problem to light on social or mainstream media because if you can get there first, you can have control on how the story is broken to the public or, as they say in PR, “the spin”. You can communicate with customers through traditional methods including news conferences or press releases or go digital by posting a message on your website and social media platforms and also sending it out to your email list. Ensure that you double-check the tone and grammar of this message.

Control the narrative

This is another cornerstone of PR, again recommended by restaurantengine. It means taking the lead in whatever is affecting your business so that you can shape the conversation around it. Keep a cool head and make sure your communications are concise and in line with your overall strategy. Monitor social media and put up a Google alert so you are aware of every mention of your brand. Be proactive, take responsibility and apologise if necessary.

As you are planning your relaunch, remember that Pilot’s Point of Sale solution is designed with you, the restaurateur, in mind. Our restaurant software provides you with the tools to reach the ultimate levels of productivity throughout your establishment.

To find out how valuable data can give you the competitive edge in the restaurant industry, you can download the definitive 21st-century restaurant playbook, our free guide to using restaurant data effectively.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst