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  • Writer's pictureAngela Chu

COVID Changes & Creativity: Dining

The dining and restaurant industry was one of many that have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many restaurants around the world have suffered the consequences and were forced to close their doors to loving customers. One of many reasons causing the drastic drop in revenue for restaurants was the temporary ban on indoor dining. This ban greatly decreased revenue due to the greatly reduced number of customers.

Surely, some restaurants chose to remain open for take-out. But with the ongoing pandemic, many were wary to leave their homes with concern over their health and safety. This forced restaurant owners to be creative with their business strategies. In essence, the industry turned into a battlefield where only the most creative and financially stable remained.

One of the most popular solutions to combat the drop in revenue in British Columbia was to open a patio space for customers to dine in. With a new patio space open to customers, this increased the number of tables available which could increase revenue over time. With an increasing number of customers heading to restaurants with patio spaces, many restaurant owners have decided to jump aboard the trend and invest in a patio space themselves.

With that said, some restaurants do not have the option of investing in a patio space due to location or other factors. So what happens then? Surely, investing in a new patio space isn’t the only strategy to combat slowing sales. For restaurants that cannot invest in a patio space, there are a plethora of other strategies to choose from. Two of the most popular strategies locally in Vancouver are to increase portion sizes and offer more deals on meal sets. Increased portion sizes is a classic strategy. When a customer feels like they get more bang for their buck, they are more likely to return than if they feel as though they haven’t had enough. But with that in mind, increased portion sizes use more ingredients so it is important to stay economical and not abuse this strategy. Happy hour is another classic strategy. This draws customers into the restaurant for some of their favorites at a greatly reduced price point. Happy hours can increase customer inflow at some of the slowest hours of the day. This would ensure balance and a steady flow of customers that enter the restaurant.

From patios to happy hour, there are a plethora of strategies to combat the difficult times COVID has brought upon the restaurant industry. It is difficult to fully understand how to navigate the mind-bending problems COVID has caused for the industry. But at the end of the day, it is important to be creative. Creativity is the driving force behind growth and ensuring businesses survive even the most difficult times.

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