This year has been almost entirely dominated by COVID-19, and many restaurant owners have been put through the wringer. They are ready to set their sights on 2021. But as devastating as this pandemic was to everyone, there are some savvy individuals in the food industry who have been able to find a small silver lining— a gleam of hope in what is otherwise a deep black cloud of dread and uncertainty.
“COVID has been a challenge. Just like anything, you've got to adapt, improvise, and overcome.” - Adam Shorter, Cosmo’s Pizza
If you’re a pizzeria owner who wants to know how you can take advantage of some largely unknown opportunities during this pandemic, then just keep reading!
Rise in Delivery Orders
Dine-in services have taken a massive hit during this shutdown, with the number of dine-in customers still sitting at only about half of the typical volume. But these customers aren’t disappearing. Instead, they are making the switch to relying on delivery and pickup services. Therefore, pizzerias that are already providing these dining options are much better positioned to make it through the rest of this pandemic in one piece.
"If anything, the whole COVID thing has been better for business. We don’t have dine-in. So we were built for pickup and delivery from the start, whereas a lot of places weren’t and started hurting.” - Tom Dioguardi, Primo Pizza and Catering
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, ghost kitchens have been thriving during these past few months. This is because they exist solely to provide customers with delivered food, which has seen a large spike since the lockdown back in March.
But if you already have a system in place to offer dine-in service, then it probably isn’t feasible to just close it down entirely. Instead, you might want to look at scaling down the size of your seating area and start ramping up your delivery program. You should begin by offering contactless delivery and evaluating your current POS and dispatch system to ensure they aren’t lacking essential features and hindering your delivery program.
Unobtrusive Restaurant Renovations
Does your restaurant have a bathroom that is straight out of 1992? Is your patio looking a bit worn and outdated? Does your storefront have peeling paint or a faded sign? If so, this may be the ideal time to address these issues.
Under normal circumstances, fixing any of these issues would require boarding off sections of your restaurant for at least several hours and possibly even several weeks, including during operational hours. Not only is this inconvenient for your staff but also for every customer that walks through your front door. But in the current state of the world, there are very few customers entering your restaurant anymore.
Therefore, you can get these cosmetic or structural issues fixed without it hindering your business too much. If you can spare some money for these types of projects, then it will give you a nice renovated space to present to your customers when you are finally able to operate at full capacity once again.
Ideal Time for Comfort Food
Needless to say, this pandemic has been a heavy hand on most people’s shoulders, which has led to significant rises in mental health issues. With 53% of Americans reporting a significant increase in negative mental health during this pandemic, there has never been a better time for comfort food.
This is good news if you operate a pizzeria since pizza is by far the most popular type of comfort food in the country. In fact, places that serve various types of comfort food such as pizza or burgers have been shown to be some of the only restaurants that are still thriving during this pandemic.
That’s why you need to take advantage of this rise in individuals looking for some delicious feel-good comfort food by promoting your food as exactly that. Taking this angle in all further marketing might be the push that you need to help you coast through to the end of this pandemic.
Finally, let’s take a look at the words of someone who was never one to lay down and die, even during the most trying of times, Sun Tzu. This Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher famously said, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
Meanwhile, I don’t think anyone would argue that this isn’t a chaotic time. You can identify these opportunities by looking through our handy infographic about how COVID-19 has impacted the pizza industry.
Posted on Thu, Dec 10, 2020 @ 08:12 AM.
Updated on December 10, 2020 @ 4:31 PM PST.
Brandon is the Marketing Content Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions and is on a personal mission to find the tastiest slice of pizza on Earth. As a proud Canadian, he fully endorses the use of pineapple on pizza and is always ready to debate anyone who thinks otherwise.