There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard for small businesses to thrive. The restaurant industry in particular has struggled. In fact, more than 16,000 American restaurants closed down for good between March and July 2020.
Some restaurants fortunate enough to survive found that one factor gave them a huge boost: social media. Perhaps the story of one food joint in Waterloo, ON, is a perfect example.
Mario Gonsalves told the Cambridge Times that he was getting ready to open his restaurant, called The Local Option, in early 2020. The restaurant would act as a healthy alternative to traditional fast food, with a ‘grab-and-go’ approach.
The start of the pandemic made an impact on his business plans, though. Fortunately for Gonsalves, the restaurant eventually opened in October.
Gonsalves knew he would need to be savvy and strategic to stay afloat in such a challenging time for the food service industry. He turned to social media.
“Guests are on their phone and computer and on three or four major social media outlets and you can reach them through there. Being more active on social media and having fun with that […] has been helpful,” he told the Cambridge Times.
Using apps like TikTok to promote his restaurant, Gonsalves found surprising success.
“We saw decent numbers, and sales were climbing,” he said. “Covering our niche into the market was nice and we had a good time with that.”
Hopefully, more local businesses will learn the power of digital marketing techniques like local SEO and social media sharing.