Brendan Corkery Discusses How to Turn Your Restaurant Management Around During the Pandemic

Brendan Corkery

November 20, 2020

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a major impact on the retail and service industries – including restaurants. Safety regulations forbid patrons from sitting closer than six-feet apart and you still have to take into account the health and safety of your employees. Many restaurants have found ways to survive like offering pickup or delivery options, creating outdoor seating areas, and rearranging their indoor seating areas to allow for a safe distance. 

But surviving isn’t thriving, says Brendan Corkery, long-time entrepreneur, and restaurateur. After helping turn dozens of struggling restaurants around in his career, Brendan Corkery has learned that you have to shoot for the moon to land among the stars. 

Increase Communication With Customers, Says Brendan Corkery

Marketing is more crucial now than ever says Brendan Corkery. Traditional (and by that we mean up until this March) wisdom tells us that interruption marketing has to be handled with care. You want to keep people’s interest, but you don’t want to inundate them with messages and overwhelm them. That’s the fastest way to “unsubscribe”. Or it used to be, says Brendan Corkery. 

People have less to do right now than ever before. They’re spending more time on their computers and phones, checking their email and social media more often, and generally indulging in digital distractions. But what they’re focused on are their family, friends, and personal health in the face of the pandemic. They’re not thinking about your restaurant. You can change that by reaching out, keeping them up to date on your hours, delivery and pickup services, outdoor seating options (with heaters!), and special offers. 

Even though there are fewer people going out, competition with your fellow restaurants is even more fierce. Publicity and open communication through the platforms your customers are using are crucial in the fight to keep your doors open and your people paid, says Brendan Corkery. 

Get Creative Says Brendan Corkery

Don’t throw your hands up and blame it all on the pandemic, admonishes Brendan Corkery. There are restaurants out there that are thriving despite the pandemic. And it’s because they are adapting to the new normal – loudly. 

Use your parking lot for outdoor seating. Offer blankets and free hot beverages as it gets colder. Have masks available with your logo or tagline printed on them. Offer pickup and delivery specials like – “Get a free pick-me-up with your pickup order!” and offer a free coffee with breakfast purchase. 

Whatever you come up with, blast it on social media, call the local news stations, send announcements to the paper – you want as many people as possible to see how brave your restaurant is and how hard you’re working to serve your community. This will draw supporters and create loyalty around your brand. 

It’s not easy to thrive during the pandemic, says Brendan Corkery, but running a restaurant was never easy. Rise to the challenge and work to save your business.