How small budget businesses can leverage technology to survive

Thanks to COVID-19, restaurants are empty. Customers are staying home and staff are being laid off. More and more “Sorry, we’re closed” signs are being stuck on cafe doors across the country. Needless to say, the economic ramifications of this are mammoth. This is especially true for small businesses who already only have a small budget. How can small establishments leverage technology to survive, without breaking the bank?

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented decisions

Moving online is scary. For many small establishments, face-to-face customer relationships are the bedrock of their business. But, COVID-19 is new territory. This economic atmosphere will force many of us to make uncomfortable decisions. I want to encourage you that with courageous innovation comes not just survival, but success. Think outside the box, push the boundaries and use every ounce of creativity you have.

SOS plan: online ordering platform

If you already use an online ordering platform, now is the time to migrate the majority of your business there. If you don’t, now is the time to start using one. With self-isolation and social distancing policies, customers will not be coming into your brick-and-mortar store. More and more of everyday services and products will go digital, food included. An online ordering platform means:

  • Customers can order from your menu, from the comfort and safety of their home.
  • You can keep staff on-board and provide work in customer service, food preparation and delivery.
  • You can access new patronage in the local area by getting ahead of the game.
  • If rental costs become too high, you could move to an alternative food preparation location, without the need for customer seating.

Go to market now

These days, the news cycle is very fast. Every day, there is new information. Now is the time people are ready to adapt to new online buying habits. Your customers and your community want to know how you are responding to COVID-19. So, put a marketing plan out. Once you decide to migrate to online delivery, spread the word. Don’t let people assume you are closed. Make sure everyone knows that your services are still available, better than ever, on a new online ordering platform. Think:

  • social media
  • local news stations
  • email announcements and newsletters
  • paid digital advertising.

It’s important that you start to drive consumers toward your online ordering platform. This is a great opportunity to provide a valuable service in a time of need on a small budget.

Educate your people

For many small businesses, going digital brings many questions. Your staff need time and training, to ready themselves for this new way of working. Before you launch, ensure all staff are comfortable and familiar with the online platform and processes. It is especially important that staff are practicing good hygiene during food preparation and delivery.

Get support

There is so much technology at your fingertips. Perhaps you weren’t quite ready to think about online ordering, but times are quickly changing and we all need to adapt. That doesn’t mean you have to adapt alone. I’ve been studying the Australian food industry for a decade now, and have seen many small businesses with a small budget succeed through adversity, using OrderUp! my online ordering platform. Invest in good technology, then educate yourself, your staff and your customers. Welcome to the new era of food services.

John Saadie, Founder and CEO, OrderUp!

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