Moving Boundaries

Stay strong – once again!

The number of people infected with corona is rising. Therefore, more and more countries have returned to a total or partial lockdown. This is an important measure to protect everyone –but also to the detriment of restaurant owners or people in the cultural and event industry. But what measures can the food and gastronomy industry take to ensure that it survives the second wave of corona and this lockdown – and any further ones that may follow?

The corona crisis once again poses financial challenges for many restaurateurs worldwide. For a long time, the industry had hoped that various hygiene measures and modifications could save the winter business and prevent a second lockdown, but the number of infections is rising dramatically again. In Germany, for example, restaurants now have to close the entire month of November during the temporary "lockdown light".

"What do I do now?" – This is the question many restaurateurs are faced with and they are grateful if someone offers help and shows them various options for action. In Germany, METRO has therefore been offering its HoReCa customers helpful information on the website and the Gastro-Hotline since the start of the corona crisis in spring. Here, experienced gastronomic consultants support the restaurateurs and advise them by phone and e-mail on various METRO assistance offers and services. Among other things, they help to optimise an out-of-home offers or make recommendations for menu adjustments. They also provide information on government aid programmes.

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When possible, to-go and delivery offers help restaurateurs make ends meet. It is important to choose the right dishes. Cold dishes and those that guests can reheat at home, such as soups, stews or cakes, are particularly suitable. In addition: quality instead of quantity. It is better to offer few dishes and ensure top quality. However, not only the choice of menu, also the right packaging is crucial as more and more guests set great value to environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions such as compostable and disposable packaging. Restaurants that do not yet offer a delivery service, can set it up using the DISH order button and integrate it on their website. Going digital has advantages not only in these challenging times.
What counts now is being creative and strengthen customer loyalty. Restaurateurs must make themselves noticed and should therefore increase their online presence on social media and their website, for example by promoting video tutorials or special homemade gifts to customers. They can also offer vouchers. By buying vouchers, regular customers can help their favourite restaurants to ride out the lockdown period. For this purpose, METRO Germany supports HoReCa customers with the portal www.HilfeLokal.de, where both restaurants and other independent businesses can easily create and sell digital vouchers. Culinary delicacies to give away as a gift are also a creative add-on to the out-of-home business. Preserves are particularly suitable for this purpose: Both classic jams and savoury soups, as well as desserts such as apple compote or modern chutneys can be prepared in large quantities and preserved for a long time. Bottled in small jars, they make the perfect gift – also for environmentally conscious guests. Besides, they ensure the use of purchased food in uncertain times. A deposit system can also be used to encourage guests to come back, return the jars or have them refilled directly. The most important thing here is to use social media and other channels to draw attention to the gift options so that as many guests as possible learn about them.
 
Even if it is hard to see the positive: The period of shutdown can also present itself as an opportunity. Restaurant owners can use the time to carry out maintenance work, conversion or beautification measures and develop new strategies for their business that will make it more crisis-proof for the future.
 
One thing is certain: with a lot of perseverance, creativity and with the right partners and loyal customers at their side, the food and gastronomy industry can survive these tough times. And together we can ensure that the next wave that hits us will be a wave of relief and happiness when we can be our favourite restaurant’s guests again.

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