A COMMUNICATIONS CHECKLIST
FOR TEMPORARY CLOSURES

With the news changing by the minute, not by the hour, we are all operating outside of our realm of comfort. It is tough to prepare for a situation so foreign to us all - and many restaurants and hotels are taking unprecedented steps. We are not alone in this. 

 

Even if the root cause is new, many of the actionable steps to communicating a temporary closure are not. We have compiled this guide to help restaurants, our love and our work, navigate this uncharted territory, providing a helpful guide of sample messaging and a communications checklist of what to do and where to do it. This is meant to be a supplement to all necessary HR and legal related concerns. As communications experts, we can’t possibly imagine or advise on all of the connected legal issues, but we do understand that clearly communicating what you will do is critical to helping you, your guest and your teams.

 

We don’t know what the short-term holds, but we DO know that restaurants serve an important purpose in our communities. They are a place of meaningful human connection in our evermore isolating digital world. We are certain that once this crisis passes, people will look to return to normalcy and their favorite dining destinations.

 

Please reach out to us with any ideas or questions.  We know that our restaurant and colleagues are hurting right now and making difficult decisions in totally uncharted waters. If you have heard of anything or implemented anything that you think would be helpful for others in the industry, please LET US KNOW.  We’ll keep sharing information on our website and on social channels. We are here for you. If you need a sounding board or a just sympathetic ear, please reach out to any of us. We’re in this together.

-      The Carbonate Team 

HOW & WHERE TO GET THE WORD OUT

 

STEP #1

WHO'S IN CHARGE?

Determine Roles & Responsibilities

It's vital to determine who is responsible for implementing the plan, who needs to approve any decisions, and who needs to be informed  Make sure it’s clear who is in charge of each of these items, so there’s no confusion on who will be driving the following steps.

STEP #2

DEVELOPING APPROPRIATE CLOSURE LANGUAGE

Sample Temporary Closure Messaging

With the wellbeing of our staff and guests as our top priority, we will be temporarily closed for the next few weeks. While this was an incredibly difficult decision to make, it was easy to see the right thing to do and put the public interest and health of our community first. To stay up to date about our reopening and other important news please visit our website [insert website] and follow us @[socialhandle]. We’re all in this together and look forward to welcoming you back just as soon as we can. Sincerely, the team at [Business Name]

Closure Messaging Templates

We've included several messaging examples for you to customize based on your particular set of circumstances. 

STEP #3

STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR TEAM

Create A Reliable Channel of Communication

Create a reliable channel of communication for your internal staff to keep in contact and reference resources to help them with the closure period. Examples include email chains, whatsapp conversations or text threads.

STEP #4

COMMUNICATE YOUR SITUATION
ACROSS DIGITAL CHANNELS

Your Website
  • Pop Up Banner: Utilize a pop up banner to communicate messaging (if available)

  • Homepage: Clearly post your message on your homepage with a clear point of contact if available.

Your Email Datase

  • Compose an email blast to all of your contacts using your email marketing platform (mailchimp, constant contact, etc.). Recognize that during this time,  people have been receiving countless messages, so the more heartfelt and direct you can be the better. Encourage guests to order delivery if that remains to be an option and provide channels or ways for them to stay up to date with any new developments. Pull messaging from the tools provided above. 

Your Email Signature

  • Including a condensed version of the messaging above ensures that the right information gets spread to those you’re in contact with.

Online Listings / Reservation Platforms

  • Create an online login list for your management team to be able to access all platforms.

  • Google Business - LINK

    • Update your hours to reflect your temporary closure

    • Be sure to change them back once you re-open 

    • Support Page for Businesses Affected by Covid-19 - LINK

  • Yelp - LINK

    • File a temporary closure with Yelp in order to obtain address and business info prior to opening.

    • Be sure to change your status once you re-open

  • Opentable / Yelp Reservations / Resy

    • Contact your reservation platform representative to help you with the specific steps below.

    • Cancel existing reservations

    • Temporary Hibernation of [Business Name]

    • Block reservations during the closure period

    • Provide a Point of Contact

    • Provide Messaging from above

  •  
Social Media
  • Graphics To Post

    • Post Graphics that help convey your message.

    • We’ve included some templates for you to download linked below.

  • Facebook

    • Update your cover photo using our graphic template. 

    • Update your hours of operation

  • Instagram

    • Create a post using one of our templates or consider taking a picture of your front door and temporary closure sign. Utilize the message above in the instagram caption.

STEP #5

COMMUNICATE IN REAL LIFE 4 WALLS CHANNELS

Signage
  • Post signage on your front door and street facing windows. Remember this is still part of your brand’s communication system - your signage should reflect your brand, especially if it will be hanging for a longer duration. You can access some editable PDF templates to use below.

Telephone Messaging
  • Record a message that conveys the appropriate messaging and sets the right expectations for guests.  If no one will be checking the voicemail, share an email address that will be monitored. 

WHAT'S NEXT?

We hope that this comes to an end quickly and that very few restaurants will need the above information.  We believe this situation is temporary and while we are doing everything we can for our clients and friends to help them weather this storm, we will also be planning for the rebound. In the coming weeks, we will share our recommendations for planning a successful reopening. Better times are around the corner. In the mean time, if you have any questions please contact us. 

 
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