As of Monday 27th April at 11:59pm, the lift on restrictions in New Zealand will now enable food service operators to re-open. Although restaurants, cafes and bars will be closed for the dine-in experience, businesses can operate via take-away and contactless delivery, which opens the door for new ways of working and connecting with customers.
We understand that not all establishments are in the position to re-open and offer take-away and delivery services. However, for those that can we explore the importance of communication and within this article are sharing recommendations based on what's working successfully locally and overseas.
COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
It's important to clearly communicate how you're business is responding and meeting Government guidelines. This is essential in handling and preparing food, with varying components across safe work practices to good hygiene. Instill confidence in customers by communicating in writing and visually how you're meeting these guidelines. You can do it digitally via your company website and social channels, capturing what you're doing within the physical space. These are covered further on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.
CAPITALISE ON FOOD DELIVERY
Up your delivery game
With the traditional dine-in experience not available, it's time to temporarily rethink menus and set up online takeaway options for those at home. Explore delivery partners such as UberEats, MenuLog, DeliverEasy or OrderMeal to promote your food options to customers.
'Home Delivery' Solutions
We've seen in it through well known foodservice distributors such as Bidfood Home and Service Foods, who've expanded their offering by launching into contactless residential home delivery services, aimed at meeting the stay-at-home needs of New Zealanders. Meal kit solutions are in demand as consumers are at home more, and are experimenting more with cooking. We've seen My Food Bag, HelloFresh, WOOP and supermarkets also moving to offer fresh fruit and vegetable boxes for consumers to make meals themselves at home.
The DIY Take Home Boxes
Differentiate your business by offering deconstructed meal boxes. This trend has been greatly received by our neighbours in Australia, as it's a great way to sell off basic ingredients and allow for a greater consumer experience by cooking inspired recipes from your establishment at home. Offer these ingredients in portion packs and keep it simple, along with step by step recipe guides to follow. No cooking required from you - so less resources needed!
See examples from Prince of York in Sydney who are offering at home packages for family feasting, Pourboy in Brisbane offering a delicious 'Reuben Box for 4' and SPADA Kitchen & Bar in Sydney putting forward an excellent DIY Pizza Kit for kids - a great idea for the family.
Simplify your menu and provide cost effective food offerings
Be selective with your delivery menu and offer your high margin dishes only. You don’t have to offer your whole restaurant menu for delivery, just items with lower food costs, such as pasta, pizza or noodle dishes. Look into vegan and plant-based dishes as these can often have a higher margin.
See below the example of Peach's Hot Chicken in Auckland, who've converted to a Take-away only site, offering online orders. They've stripped back their menu to include fried chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles!
Provide a unique experience
If you have a unique cuisine, capitalise on what you can offer that other's can't! For example, Sid at the French Cafe, is offering 'a slice of luxury' with an at home menu. By offering diners an interpretation of five classic French dishes for a special price of $45 per person, they're serving up delicious traditional food for those in Auckland!
EXISTING INITIATIVES TO GET BEHIND
SOS Cafe gives people the opportunity to buy vouchers for listed businesses around New Zealand which can then be used at a later date when the business reopens. They are offering smaller businesses from a vast variety of locations across NZ to sign up and get involved - simply sign up at online at the SOS Cafe website.
Other existing initiatives are continuing at pace including Eat My Lunch which has broadened its offer so that customers can now buy fresh essentials knowing that for every pack purchased free lunches will still be given to Kiwi kids in need.
INCREASE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE & ONLINE ACTIVITY
Continue to maintain your online presence throughout. Be active across social media such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube where you can provide helpful information and even demonstration videos on cooking techniques. By doing so, you might just gain a whole new audience and following.
Here is an example of Kelly's Hotel in Melbourne, Australia using videos on Facebook to encourage customers to Order and Pick-Up! Using a bit of humour and connecting with customers to show what they're doing.
If your business can provide an online food offer, make sure you list your restaurant or café across the various promotional online platforms. The Restaurant Association of NZ’s website has a list of these types of providers. Another example is Concrete Playground where you can list what your establishment is doing.
STAFF MOTIVATION & PRODUCTIVITY
Continue to keep staff motivated and engaged by using online video conferencing and other digital apps to keep them informed about operation and menu changes. Some organisations are offering webinars and opportunities for upskilling staff while they have the time available to do so. If you need to, consider creating a network of casual staff who you can call on.
Make sure you are aware of all your financial options. The Ministry of Social Development has a range of helpful information on its website which covers things like the wage subsidy, general support for employers and how to access stress counselling services.
A contactless environment and social distancing don’t mean that you can’t still access us for great service and advice.
Please contact your local Nestlé Professional Territory Manager or feel free to call our customer services team on 0800 830 840. Our helpful team will direct you to the right person or get the appropriate Nestlé Professional Territory Manager to contact you.