It’s hard to avoid the news headlines around the supply chain issues and the disruption they’re causing at the moment for the hospitality industry. There have been reports about staff travelling hundreds of miles across the country to ensure the stock is refilled, not to mention venues shutting temporarily as the undesirable alternative.
Time to get creative
Sometimes, you can’t avoid running out of certain items. That’s when you have to put your creative hat on to come up with alternatives to combat supply shortages.
When it comes to communicating changes with your customers, rather than focusing on the negative side, i.e. sorry, we have run out of …, try and turn it into something exciting and new.
Instead of customers not being able to enjoy their all-time favourites, they now have the (limited) chance to try something different.
3 ideas to tackle the supply shortage
Here’s some ideas to get you started.
1. Shop locally
This is the time to look beyond mass-produced supplies. Search for small producers around your place and start shopping more locally. Apart from supporting locals, this might inspire you for new menu ideas.
Besides, this also allows your customers to try out locally produced food and drinks they might not have come across before, such as beer from microbreweries. It also provides some great content for collaborative social media activity, which by its very nature helps spread your brand further.
2. Promote less popular meals
Start off with what you still have available. Push hard on promotions for your less popular meals and create enticing offers around them, or create limited time, alternate versions of them.
Either way, it’s all about putting a new spin or focus on an overlooked item. Think about how beer brands like Brewdog expand their product line by doing slightly different versions of certain beers.
Sell them as a daily special with limited availability. Throughout the day you might push this further by sharing a post on your socials: “Daily special selling out fast today. Only 2 left, come by to grab yours.”
3. Create new menu items
Apart from pushing sales on your less popular meals, you can also use the ingredients you’ve got available to create new menu items.
Get your customers involved at this stage. “What dishes would you like to have on our menu?” You could also turn it into a social media poll, featuring different possible dish ideas you have and make it interactive for customers.
Think about turning your new dishes into side sizes for your customers to taste a wider range of smaller portions. Or maybe there was an old-time favourite you’ve taken off the menu a while ago that could now have a comeback.
And why not let your customers have a say in your new creations afterwards? After all, your customers’ new favourites might become a fixed menu item.
With all that in mind, remember to keep your customers updated on a regular basis about what’s going on in your venue via your website, social media and email & SMS marketing. This way you can prevent any disappointment when certain dishes are not available.
Want some help updating your customers via email or SMS marketing? Get in touch with one of our team. We’re happy to help.