“Adapt or die” became a reality for many restaurant owners who now have no option but to find ways to change their business model and diversify their income to survive. This should have been a priority before now, however, and it’s a shame that it took a black swan event of this magnitude to show how important diversification is. Some businesses have been able to pick things up in their stride and find ways to leverage their brand, and most established restaurants can as well. Let’s take a look at a few ways restaurants can pivot during times of crisis.
Adapt Your Menu for Deliveries
One of the most obvious options is going for deliveries. However, this might be easier said than done for some high-scale or sit-down only restaurants. In this case, they might have to rethink their menu.
They might want to go for things that are more accessible or eliminate products that don’t travel very well. Things like steak, for instance, might have to be replaced by sandwiches. You also have to make sure that your packaging and containers reflect your brand, so you might want to go higher than non-descript Styrofoam containers. These could end up cheapening your brand and ruining the experience for your regular clients.
Run a Ghost Kitchen
Another thing you could do is change your menu completely. Heck, you could even change the whole branding thanks to ghost kitchens. Ghost kitchens are optimized for delivery and only exist online. They may be shipped from your kitchen, but all your clients will see is the brand displayed on delivery services. This could allow you to repurpose your ingredients and offer more affordable meals without them being attached to your primary brand.
Sell Derived Products
While starting a delivery service is one option, it does have its drawbacks. For one, you’ll most likely have to go through a delivery service if you weren’t doing delivery before, and this comes with fees. Not everybody can afford those, especially if you were operating on thin margins. What you could do instead is find a product closely related to your brand and sell it.
If you sell burgers, then selling your secret sauce could be a great option. Or, maybe your shop is known for selling great coffee. In this case, you could sell your own proprietary blend.
Packaging is not as complicated as it seems either. In this case, you could keep costs low by using flexible packaging. If you don’t know what this is, you can check out this article. It explains exactly what flexible packaging is and why it would be perfect for something like a coffee blend. You could also use this type of packaging to sell something like branded cake mixes if you own a bakery, for instance.
Your installations will need to meet certain standards if you want to do the packaging in-house, or you could work with a third party to package and ship the product. This could not only become a good additional stream of income, but your principal source of revenue.
Things might be rough for the industry, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Those who aren’t afraid to think outside of the box and take risks have greater chances of surviving than those who are too rigid or scared to make changes.