Most bars and restaurants in the U.S. have already had to temporarily close, except for takeout and delivery, to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. If you have had to shutter your business or will soon need to, a few steps can facilitate the process. Carbonate, a creative strategy and brand communications consultancy for the hospitality industry, has put together a helpful guide and checklist.
The first step, the guide says, is to determine roles and responsibilities. Your team needs to understand who is responsible for implementing the plan, who needs to approve any decisions, and who needs to be informed
You should then craft a message about the closure using appropriate language. Carbonate has several messaging examples restaurants can customize based on their particular set of circumstances.
Throughout the process, it’s important to stay in touch with your team. So you’ll want to use technology to create a reliable channel of communication to connect with staff and reference resources to help them with the closure period, from email chains and text threads to Whatsapp conversations and conferencing apps.
Communicate your situation across digital channels from a prominent message on your website’s home page or pop-up banner if available. Keep in touch with all of your contacts via email on options such as takeout or delivery and updates on reopenings, etc.
Don’t forget to change your status on any online listings/reservation platforms. It’s helpful to create an online login list for your management team to be able to access all platforms. Update your social media accounts–post graphics that help convey your message.
Finally, post signs on your front door and street-facing windows about the temporary closure. Signage should reflect your brand, especially if it will be hanging for a longer duration. Carbonate offers some editable PDF templates to use.
And don’t forget to record a telephone message that appropriately conveys your situation. If no one will be checking the voicemail, share an email address that will be monitored.