How to Best Pivot your Café or Restaurant Business During COVID-19

The country is experience it’s second wave with Winter upon us.  Orders in each province have pushed food and beverage businesses to make difficult decisions on how they will continue to operate.  From coffee shops and food trucks to Michelin-star restaurants, you must continuously improve and adjust your business model to best serve your customers, community and team members.

We have compiled some helpful tips to help our troubled industry. 

Create meal kits to sell online

With the rise in popularity of meal kits, and meal delivery services across Canada – why not serve up your most popular dishes in a ‘meal-kit format.’  Many people are now working from home, feeding their families every meal and trying to avoid crowded grocery stores.  So why not make it a little easier for them by creating meal kits?  You can advertise meal kits for pickup or delivery on your social media as well as include it in an email to customers.  The fastest way to get started is to offer meal kits through an online store or existing delivery app.

Ramp up delivery and pick-up

If you have not already you must shift your business to pick-up, delivery and or curbside pickup today.   The percentage of customers using delivery apps is increasing every month.  If you’ve never provided those options before, there are a couple of ways to set them up so choose wisely a partner that will build your business and revenue.  You can work with partners like Doordash, or have your own delivery drivers as well.

Add Grocery and Retail

Sell what you have in stock – and not just prepared items.  People are waiting in long lines at the grocery stores (still) for items that they need regularly like milk, eggs and flour.  Why not provide these add-ons and sell your amazing products directly to them?  Help them avoid those lines by selling from your own supply via an online store.

Serve Drinks To Go – Non-Alcoholic and Alcoholic (if regionally allowed!)*

Some provinces and cities are allowing off-premise alcohol sales so that restaurants shift toward being local neighbourhood marketplaces.  If that’s an option where you are, serve drinks to go while still limiting the number of customers in your space to comply with social-distancing best practices.   This can add significant revenue and profits to your bottom line and your average check!  (*Check with your local authorities, liquor bylaws, regulations and current health orders before serving alcohol)

Meet Your Customers (and Potential Customers) Where they Are and Market to them Wisely

Things have changed, and they’ve changed quickly.  If you were already behind in terms of advertising last year, things have moved even faster in 2020.  Direct email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest- choose the top three that your potential customers are engaged with.  Send your customers an email (and use whatever social media they use most) to let them know your top menu items, and when or if there are other ways they can support your business and employees.

Sell Gift Cards

Electronic or regular gift cards can help increase cash flow while your business is closed, at limited capacity or struggling with overall revenue.  You can quickly set up an online ordering page for gift cards and then promote to y0ur  regular and loyal customers who want to show support.

Sell Gift Bags, Merchandise and Retail Online

If you have T-shirts, mugs, tote bags or other merchandise, encourage people to buy them now when you need the revenue most.  Get them to start shopping today and try and sell them through an online store.  Promote through social media or direct emails to customers.  Update them regularly.


Celebrate and Connect With Your Team

Having a great team during these challenging times is priceless.  Keep them engaged.  Have some fun with them.  Give them special gifts and rewards for doing an exceptional job.  Have healthy competitions to keep them focused on supporting each other and staying connected.  Christmas will look different this year, however you can still plan a virtual Christmas party and give them a small, thoughtful gift!


Overall – there are many things that you must do now to keep your business not only surviving but thriving this holiday season.  The businesses that are quick to adapt are able to see consistent sales and increasing revenues.  If you are unsure how to adjust or where your business should go next, engage with us as Pinnacle Consulting – We are here to help!

how can we help you?

Elevate your hospitality business with expert, hands-on support today from Vancouver’s BEST Hospitality Consultants!

Looking for expert business consultants with over 25 years of experience to partner with you?