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How venues are getting creative during COVID-19 lockdown

Words by Kavina.

Our venue's general mode of service may have been disrupted due to the closure of our doors, but our customers are still out there and keen to stay connected to their local favourites. Humans are pretty resilient beings, and they adapt pretty quickly, especially in trying to figure out ways to stay entertained and fed. We’ve traded-in closed doors for open windows to get customers coffee and dinners into their homes. And online delivery options are amongst the many new ways to meet your customers at a good social distance during the time. While the way we do things might have been shaken up a bit, our customers are still out there, and venues are getting pretty creative in the way they’ve met those needs and remained a constant in the community. Even though we’re used to everyone always coming to us.


Here’s a few ways your venue can get creative during the new temporary mode of service:


What is the new normal?


Alright, our doors are shut, social gatherings have been limited to two people in public spaces, and coffee and booze are considered an essential item. We can work with this. Yelp’s Local Economy Coronavirus Impact Report on the U.S has delivered us some interesting insight into how consumers have changed their spending behaviour to work around the demands for beating this virus. 


Naturally, all businesses where gathering is necessary have become less popular. So for now entertainment, hospitality and gyms are taking the biggest hit, but there’s been a massive increase in delivery systems and items that can be enjoyed at home. The report showed that spending hadn’t decreased, it was just opted for convenient take-home options like take-away (pizza’s are hot right now) and lower cost items that can be enjoyed safely during their Zoom meetings while getting solo-drunk with ten of their closest buddies on the internets. - Yeah this is normal now. Seriously, I was in my first zoom chat the other day and all my friends had boutique beers and bulk wine order deliveries from their favourite local producers. I’ve never been prouder. 


Basically, customers still want to enjoy the things they go out for, at home. 


Close your doors, open your windows


Local coffee shops have moved all their fancy equipment to the windows, and set up shop in a different way. Have a little pop-up shop and introduce a quick-order menu so customers can stop by on their afternoon walk and grab a coffee and a bagel. Or a NY slice and a boozy milkshake. - Yeah I want that in my life right now. Especially if you're in a neighbourhood that gets a lot of foot traffic, have something quick on the go like freshly squeezed OJ, because people need their vitamin C or introduce freshly baked bread or venue-made easy-to-heat home dinners for the week. 


If you can't bring your customers to the watering hole, bring the watering hole to them. 


Top up your goon bags, we’re going to battle. Welcome to large batching speciality cocktails and home wine deliveries. I bet everyone is cashing in their Jimmy Brings discount they’ve never had the heart to throw out or the time to use because they always go out. Jimmy’s moment has come, and his van’s probably stocked and ready to go. 


Give em the old razzle dazzle and bring your customers some joy right now with cheaper options from local delivery of that negroni they especially come to see you for. It’ll keep your venue fresh in their minds and warm in their hearts, and dull those boredom cravings during the long indoor hours, when you’ve gotten sick of gin and flat tonic water. 


Open up your hot new online delivery store


Our lives are currently governed by how many tabs we have open right now, from reading this article to switching momentarily to instagram to see if our favourite venue has indeed opened an online delivery store. Customers are basically lurking in your background online presence waiting to pounce. We’ve all become a bit fancy, and even though times are tough, if we can get something delicious and local for a little bit extra, odds are we’re going to think we’re worth it. There are a lot of venues experiencing the success of online bottle stores and finally opening their ubereats accounts or taking over home delivery for themselves so their staff can keep their hands busy from a distance. 


Think of home delivery bags as your new venue press-kit 


Pop in some easter eggs, a roll of toilet paper or a little extra treat in your home delivery bags. Customers still want to support local business, and will go out of their way to opt for delivery when they have the option of using their favourite restaurants and watering holes. Have you ever had a 12 pack of sours delivered to you with a tiny note, bag of Lay’s chips and a tiny pack of tissues with my favourite bars logo on the front? I have and it was emotional.  


Give back to the community


Part of our identity as venues is serving the community and delivering them services to bring them joy. You might have opted to close your doors and take a little break for the time being, but you can still give back to the community at this time. It can feel a little frustrating sitting at home and waiting for some news, so why not get proactive and take your mind off the bad stuff by using your powers of good to give back in a different way. Even if it's just delivering excess food like bulk canned goods or produce to the elderly or people in need. You could set up a little collaborative effort with your venue's customers by saying you’ll come over and pick up spare items they’d like to contribute and drop it all off to your neighbourhood community in need. Contactless giving is still something we can all accomplish. And luckily your venue is stocked up because you bulk order toilet paper so you could contribute your venues resources and stocks of essential items. Your kindness would never be forgotten by your patrons and community alike. 


Use your online presence to stay in touch with customers 


Well we know where all our customers are right now, because everyone on my instagram DM list appears to be online. Stay connected to the people by using this time for online engagement. Collaborate with your kitchen and put up some recipes for your customers, introduce the artists that play at your venue and get them to do some live streams, or just bring up topics that spark engagement opportunities with your customer base. We know you can’t see everyone right now, but we’re all alone together and we’re all very much aware of those around us going through the same thing. As your customers dream of a better day in the sun spent at your venue, let them know that you’re thinking of them too, and that sweet sweet reunion. That’s love. 


Now that we’ve been productive for the day, we’re going to consult the internet for boozy chocolate milkshake deliveries and rewatch James Blake’s livestream. But we’re with you in spirit and we hope we’ve found a way to put a smile on your face, as we know you’ll still continue to do so for your customers. 


We out here!



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