109162 27 Aug 2020

Restaurants must get creative about winning their customers back

Winning restaurant customers back with a taste of Europe

The food service industry was and is still in many ways being rocked by COVID-19. Take out, curbside pick up and delivery became the new normal for months as restaurants quickly pivoted to new ways of meeting consumer demands whilst strictly abiding by government regulations. Now, with cases dwindling in many parts of Canada, traditional forms of dining, albeit with renewed rules and capacities, are increasingly making a come back.

However, while some Canadians are flocking to restaurants and patios alongside easing restrictions, others are still wary of potential health and safety issues. As a result, now and throughout COVID-19, many Canadians got comfortable being at-home chefs and bartenders and may need a reminder of the delights and comforts associated with restaurant dining.

The luxury of going back to “business as usual” unfortunately no longer exists for restaurants that must get creative about winning these customers back – especially those who may opt for nights in with take out or a home-cooked meal. Ensuring your restaurant is leveraging new and unique dining experiences is not the only key to meet constant shifts in consumer demand, but it can also help achieve a positive bottom line, which is of course of utmost importance considering the many roadblocks faced during the onset and peak of this pandemic.

One example of how to leverage new dining experiences requires turning to another industry that unfortunately also faced extreme hardships over the past few months, much like the restaurant business. With the banning of flights and vacations and a growing discomfort towards traveling any time in the near future, forgone vacations this year offer a unique opportunity for restaurants to quench consumers’ thirst for exploration and travel.

Restaurants can renew these desires by creating opportunities to celebrate more international holidays and foods that transport consumers to different cultures and ways of life. European getaways and honeymoons are a specific summer staple that many Canadians might be missing, offering restaurants one particular opportunity to win customers back by sharing with them a taste of Europe.

While the amount of international and food related holidays to celebrate are endless, three European celebrations that are fast approaching offer a starting point where restaurants can bring speciality dishes and drinks to the table that transport their customers to Europe.

  • Oktober Fest – The world renowned German fall festival that celebrates everyone's favorite things: food, beer, and merrymaking is sure to excite restaurant goers after months of isolation. While beer is an obvious staple, smoked sausage and roasted meats are also integral to the celebration. Infusing authentic German products such as these into your restaurant’s celebrations will truly give customers a taste of Europe. Key to finding these products is ensuring they have PDO or PGI designations – which protect the reputation of regional European foods and indicate products are authentic, of high quality, compliant with safety standards and of course, uniquely European.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day – Extra virgin olive oil may not immediately come to mind as a product to celebrate, but its involvement in so many dishes and appetizers makes it a favourite for gifts, party favours and of course – consuming. Many restaurants already use authentic European olive oils in their dishes, so celebrating a day dedicated to EVOO is a great opportunity to transport customers to Europe and educate them on the uniquely and authentically European products that are already built into their favourite menu items.
  • National Drink Beer Day – Summer weather makes this day a definite patio favourite and an easy way to introduce consumers to new types of beers. Dining ‘al fresco’ characterizes Europe, but doing so with traditionally European beers that are produced, processed and prepared with European tradition is a great way to bring new life into a typical weekend afternoon.

While there are so many ways to celebrate Europe, educating and creating opportunities to highlight the quality, authenticity and safety of traditional European ingredients alongside the excitement for major holidays is an easy way for restaurants to creatively attract customers, bring joy back to traditional dining experiences, and uniquely quench many consumers’ current needs for travel and exploration.

Visit www.MorethanFood.ca for more information.