Who knew we would be sitting in the middle of a pandemic in 2021? We all have officially gone a full year of navigating through lockdowns, job loss, shutdowns, sports being canceled, events caboshed, and going extended periods of time without seeing loved ones. It has certainly been an odd year for all of us. The restaurant industry as a whole is down 48% over last year which is an astronomical number. Many of the restaurants around us have shut down for good with no reopening in sight. It's looking fairly dismal for the future of restaurants in 2021 or is it?
While many restaurants have completely shut down others have made huge leaps and pivoted to cater to the growing needs of the consumer. Normal sit down restaurants adopted an online ordering system and pushed the takeout business very heavily. Takeout restaurants also leveed the online ordering platforms and delivery services to increase their business. These are just a couple examples of the fascinating ways that restaurants were able to stay alive during this off kilter year. If you were among the brave and wanted to be the ones charging through the storm rather than waiting on the shore for the storm to pass then you kept seating people inside. This wasn't to endanger customers or their staff but to pay the bills that would still be stacking up during the pandemic and to keep things feeling as if they were normal.
This pandemic was the perfect time to make massive changes in the business to capture more customers and grow a loyal following. We ourselves made some very big changes while the pandemic was happening to ensure our survival during this time. Here is a list of those changes we made.
-Flipped our buns upside down for a good laugh and delicious side benefit
-Invested in better POS systems to streamline operations
-Invested in a better ordering app for customers to utilize
-Rebranded our products to better suit our customers
-Started building a new expansion to house more people
-Sourced better ingredients to produce a better burger
-Updated our website to create a more tailored experience
-Started a blog to share our tips and expertise with our customers
Many of these changes have grown our customer base by over 40%. Many other restaurants also have grown their customer base by using this time to make some massive changes in their businesses. So this begs the question of, is it a terrible idea to open up and maintain a restaurant during a pandemic? We absolutely think so. The best time to go on offense is when everyone else is receding back to their corners. We are all in this together though and make sure to support your local restaurants because who knows, they might not be there the next time you go through town. Stay strong my restaurant friends! Also a huge shout out to our customers for being so awesome through this time and taking us to another level.
-Rock Store Grill