It’s no secret that Los Angeles is grim right now. The homeless problem was already out of control before the pandemic. Now it’s worse. Trash is piling up in the gutters and on freeway entrances. Businesses are struggling against the odds. Rent is high. Fear is omnipresent.
It is always difficult to run a business, but the pandemic is making it nearly impossible for a business to thrive in Hollywood. It doesn’t look good, but more people are getting vaccinated and California is opening up more and more. Here are some tips for opening an eatery during this time, marketing the business, and managing restaurant customer expectations.
Atmosphere & Safety
For restaurant patrons, the atmosphere and safety of your establishment is paramount. No one wants to eat somewhere where they don’t feel safe and tension is in the air. Hollywood is overrun with the homeless and outdoor dining is still preferred by most people. One option is to open a restaurant with a back patio space to host new guests and patrons. Another thing you can do to make people feel safe is to separate tables and put up barriers for each party. In fact, restaurant design is evolving considerably with the pandemic. There are a lot of things you can do. Putting in the hard work and showing ingenuity is key.
As integral as safety and atmosphere is service. People are angry right now. They are out of work. As a restaurant owner, you should see to it that your employees are providing the best service they can. It’s vital to welcome people into your business with warmth. You want to make people feel welcome, or they will never come back. When you offer a serene and warm environment, the word will spread. If your restaurant becomes known as a safe haven for COVID-19 and fantastic service, people will remember and continue eating at your spot when this is just a bad memory.
Another complaint from restaurant-goers is that the quality of the food preparation has gone down. With restaurants being less busy, there is less hustle and reasons to pump out high-quality food quickly. When you’re thinking about opening a restaurant, you should emphasize quality control of your ingredients and preparation. Taking steps to market your restaurant as a place of quality and service, the word will spread and you will be able to cultivate a community of patrons who will be loyal to your establishment.
Marketing Your Restaurant as Events Come Back
North Hollywood is a center for the arts and events. As California opens back up and events come back, it is important to market your restaurant not only as a part of this return but as a safe place for great food, atmosphere, and service. It is crucial to manage the expectations of your customers during the pandemic. One way to do this is to market your restaurant effectively. With most people excited for events like concerts, museum exhibitions, and theatre, starting a restaurant can be advertised as a part of this rebirth.
The way you market your new restaurant will change the success of it. While the future of the pandemic is uncertain, California will need to open back up. As restaurants become a mainstay of our culture once again, those that succeed will have a great atmosphere, high-quality preparation, exceedingly good service, and a safe setup.
Los Angeles has been dark lately. It needs a lot of work. If you’re trying to open a restaurant in Hollywood, it may not feel like the right time. But when you put in the hard work and due diligence, you just may be able to cultivate the community of patrons that sticks with you through this transition.
It isn’t going to be easy, but it may provide the returns you are looking for. Do your best to manage expectations and provide the best service, environment, and food you can. People will notice. Mind the CDC guidelines for restaurants. If you can balance the safety without the tension and fear that comes with it, you’ll be able to cultivate a great business where people will love to come eat, drink, and have a good time.
Ryan Beitler is a writer, journalist, and blogger who has covered food, drink, art, and events for a variety of publications including Paste Magazine, The Slovenia Times, OC Weekly, and many more.