After months of shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states across the country are allowing restaurants to reopen in multi-phase plans. With those openings comes a greater need to keep customers safe and informed. Here’s the dish on how paper will play an important role.
Menus, especially plastic ones, pass through many sets of hands throughout the day and are one of the most unclean areas in a restaurant. According to studies, plastic menus can have bacteria counts as high as 185,000 per square centimeter – more than a toilet seat. (Gross!!)
Single-use paper menus do not require sterilization and can help control further spread of viruses. Restaurants can also extend the use of paper to include placemats, wine lists and drink menus, which contains information and passes through many hands.
Even though they are single-use, disposable paper menus should still follow the establishment’s branding – especially take out menus. Menus are one of the biggest selling points for a restaurant, so content should be clear and well-designed – and printed on good quality paper.
Printing menus digitally on paper also gives restaurants a cost-efficient and real-time way to update materials due to seasonal availability, discontinuations or new additions.
Wanting to read more about menus? Check out this blog.
Paper can also be used for signage to communicate safety precautions or updates to operating practices. Well-designed signs are not only important in building customer confidence – they are also important in upholding an establishment’s brand. Signage is a great way to communicate changes in how orders are placed or the flow of business as your restaurant reopens. The placement of these signs matter as well – so be sure to place them in well-lit and visible areas and splurge on frames to display them.
With more and more restaurants offering delivery or carry-out services, it’s important that orders bear a restaurant’s branding. Items like business cards, take-out menus and carriers (like paper bags and boxes) should be professionally branded and accompany every order. Customers need to be reassured that they can expect the same level of quality and service, no matter if they are taking out or eating in.
Restaurants should also take advantage of direct mail. A lot of us are still at home ALL the time, constantly surrounded by computers, tablets and smartphones – which is leading to digital fatigue. Because of this, direct mail has an advantage over other traditional sources of information. In fact, it generates more response than digital efforts alone (email, social and paid search) by nearly ten times. Promoting things via mail like new services, updated operational hours and safety precautions is a great way to stay in touch with customers. Direct mail also provides the opportunity to promote discounts, coupons or specials to loyal patrons.
One thing to note – it’s super important to help support local communities during this time of recovery. Utilizing a local printer to run all of these materials is a great way to pay it forward and help another business that also likely felt the effects of the shutdown. Win-win!