Doing business in this uncertain time is difficult for everyone. Restaurants are especially hurting with quarantines and stay-at-home orders. The best way to stay in business right now is to cut costs wherever possible. Here are ten easy ways to save money without going out of business.
1. Enhance Your Marketing
Traditional marketing and advertising is a major expense that can bring a lot of people to your store. Because it's such an important thing, you can't just get rid of your marketing and advertising altogether. This is where social media comes in. Using content marketing rather than traditional advertising is a great way to save money without risking your exposure.
Do this by ramping up your social media. Post things that are valuable to your customers. Ask yourself what they want to read. If your audience is older, try writing more long-form articles about your products or even the history of your store. If your audience is younger, look for trendy topics they'll be interested in: your efforts to be environmentally friendly, spotlights on your employees, or new and fun products and promotions. Give your customers a reason to keep you in mind.
2. Keep Up Social Media Appearances
When in quarantine or under stay-at-home orders, people are spending much more time online. Keep your business at the forefront of their minds. Post interactive Instagram stories with polls or quizzes. If customers can be active participants in your social media, you'll be on their mind. Post about the products you're offering, what you're doing to stay safe, or even how your employees are staying active and sane. Show that you're a group of people rather than an amorphous entity that only does business. People want to support people.
If you don't have the time to post your own social media, hire an intern. They can do most of this work from home -- less of a risk of contamination. Most interns are also willing to work for free. Look online or reach out through social media to see who you can hire.
3. Go Green
Running a sustainable business can be daunting. It's not as complicated or expensive as it can be made out to be. Going green can be as simple as offering emailed receipts rather than paper ones, reducing plastic straw use (opt for eco-friendly alternatives), or use recycled materials. Try these bagasse take-out containers. Bagasse is an innovative material made from sugarcane byproducts. They're both biodegradable and compostable. The perfect styrofoam alternative that your customers will love.
4. Discourage Waste
Excessive waste is a major problem for tight budgets. Discourage unnecessary waste with these simple tricks: use a one-at-a-time napkin dispenser so your customers use fewer napkins at a time, or have your employees only offer straws with certain drinks. If you can easily drink something without a straw, omit it. This way, you're using fewer straws and spending less money on them.
5. Cut Down Hours
This is a simple solution to the slowing economy. Research when your busiest time is. Be open for your peak hours and cut hours when fewer customers come in. If cutting your open hours isn't an option, consider only having one or two employees at a time. Only offer drive-up or drive-through. This way, you're cutting the expense of being active and open, while still keeping a revenue stream.
6. Cut Non-Essential Expenses
When money is tight and the economy is in decline, it's time to evaluate your budget. Review all your expenses and decide what's essential. Research the best value for each necessary expense. Cut everything you can.
7. Only Buy in Bulk
Rather than ordering a big variety of disposable items, pick a few main things you need and order those in bulk. Rather than ordering four different sizes of bags and boxes, order one size for everything. Try these take-out boxes for all your to-go meals. Buying fewer varieties and more products in bulk will save you money.
This is a trying time for everyone. This makes people more apt to be compassionate. When looking for ways to save money, talk with your landlord. Negotiate with them to possibly lower your rent temporarily. This will allow some more room in your budget.
9. Reward Loyal Customers
If you're struggling, your customers are too. Reward them for being loyal in a difficult time. Offer coupons and discounts. This is an easy thing to do with social media. Offer promotions for sharing your posts or tagging you. Give your customers a reason to be loyal and they will be. If you want to learn more about cultivating customer loyalty, read this article.
10. Be Open About Your Precautions
People won't want to visit your shop if they don't think it's safe to be there. Print out simple signs encouraging social distancing or telling about how often you're sanitizing. Not only should you hang these signs where people can see them in person, but you should also post these things on your social media. People will appreciate your openness and be more willing to give you their business.
The economy is hurting right now and people are too. It's more important than ever to implement new things to save money. Review your budget and use these tips and tricks to shrink your expenses. If you have any ideas we didn't list here for saving money in these uncertain times, please comment down below. We'd love to hear from you!