Papaya Agency, which provides social media, public relations and digital marketing services to the food, beverage and hospitality sector talks on how to promote takeaway amid the COVID-19 crisis. Catherine Slogrove is the director of Papaya Agency and a specialist in hospitality marketing.   

Pubs, hotels and restaurants are moving into unchartered territory by offering takeaway to survive the COVID-19 crisis. This is a completely different model on how to promote your venue as a dining destination, although similar channels apply.

As our clients, and the broader industry, grapple with the ‘new normal’, we have put together a guide of how to leverage the channels you already have and the new opportunities to promote your business that have sprung up in recent weeks.   

Social Media – How to change your approach

Use your existing Facebook and Instagram channels to run sponsored ads in the delivery or pick up area of your venue. Our top tips for running these ads are:

  • Take some photos of your takeaway on your iPhone and set up a carousel ad to showcase different menu dishes in an appetising way.
  • Distribute these through remarketing audiences – that is your existing customers. You can upload your customer database, target people who’ve engaged with your posts in the last 90 days or people who’ve visited the menu page of your website (if you have a pixel installed).
  • Geo-target the ad to within 3km (more or less) with geo-fencing to ensure you are reaching people within your target area.
Where to list your takeaway

The COVID-19 crisis has seen a surge of savvy media, entrepreneurs and good people try to help venues to promote their takeaway offerings. These include:

  • Saving Plates, founded by Sydney-based food writer Tristen Lutze, is a new site to list  delivery specials; takeaway offers and any existing delivery partnerships with Uber Eats or Deliveroo. Papaya is excited to be supporting this fantastic initiative through leveraging the team’s skills in website and graphic design to help continue the great work of this project.
  • Popular online consumer-facing  publications such as Broadsheet, Urban List, Concrete Playground, TimeOut, Delicious and Eat Drink Play are responding positively to this pandemic, regularly sharing information around local businesses and new food and delivery offers across the country.

When thinking about your takeaway or delivery concept, think of the ‘hook’ that makes it different. For example, Papaya’s client The Oaks Neutral Bay is launching a pop-up butcher with cuts of meat at local butcher prices allowing locals to ‘avoid the supermarket queues’. This has since been featured in a raft of online media outlets.

Local Facebook groups

If you’ve never been active in your suburb’s local community Facebook group, now’s the time.

Facebook Groups have a way more favourable algorithm when it comes to showing content than a business page, so your posts will be seen by more people for free.

These are groups run by the community members of that community on a volunteer basis. Top tips for posting include the following:

  1. Tell your story – people want to help local businesses they care about so tell your genuine story to the group and ask for their support.
  2. Read the rules – Ensure that you read the group rules usually pinned to the top of the page before posting.
  3. Get your friends, staff and family to like or comment on the post. The more people engage with the post the more people within the group will see it.

And FYI, posting in groups is free – yay!

Online ordering

To facilitate online ordering, think about an ecommerce plugin to support takeaway options on your existing website.

If you’re on a WordPress site, you have a whole raft of options open to you including WooCommerce, which has plugins available such as WooFood and WooRestaurant, both designed for the hospitality sector and at a very low cost.

SquareSpace is also an easy-to-build website platform requiring little technical knowledge with a good looking interface, so if you need to start from scratch because of your current website limitations, you could do so fairly easily with this platform.    

The next few months are about ‘getting through’, and while there’s so much going on operationally, beware of neglecting marketing. If you leave that to lull, your takeaway initiative may fall flat and you may reopen to tumbleweeds rather than crowds on the other side.   

The Oaks in Neutral Bay has set up a pop-up butcher stall at the venue.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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