15 tactics to keep your food business running during COVID-19

A 6,000-word playbook for food business owners in Nigeria and Ghana. Here’s how restaurants and bars in 8 countries are boosting sales during COVID-19.


Photo by Rumman Amin on Unsplash

Food businesses such as restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this 6,000-word deep-dive, we’ll explore 15 tactics that have kept food businesses across the world in business, with specific examples from South Africa, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ghana, and Nigeria.

We understand that the challenges faced by food businesses in Africa are unique in many significant ways. Kindly consider this article to simply be a convenient, comprehensive reference of interesting ideas to potentially explore.

Offer online ordering, delivery, and pickup

When customers can’t come to you, you go to them. This is the most obvious strategy for selling during a lockdown, and we’ve seen several businesses, from the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, to storied fine dining establishments like Chicago’s Alinea, pivot to selling online and delivering directly to customers.

When it goes well, some businesses can make a significant percentage of their pre-lockdown sales through online ordering and delivery, as is the case with Alinea, which is making up to 75% of its regular revenue through online orders.


Photo: Chefs at Alinea Restaurant

But there are big questions to think about. If you’re a food business in Ghana or Nigeria that’s new to selling on the internet, how do you get started? Do you piggyback on the discovery and delivery networks of third-party platforms like Jumia Food, or do you cut out the middleman and sell directly to customers? Here’re some broad factors to consider.

Listing on food delivery platforms vs. self-delivery

Here are some pros and cons of using a third party delivery company as compared to owning the delivery process:

Pros of third-party platforms

  • A food delivery platform gives you unparalleled distribution. Their apps and websites see a lot of traffic, and they could give you access to a broader audience, thereby increasing your chances of receiving orders
  • You get to focus on your domain expertise — making food and drinks — while you outsource the expensive business of deliveries to an experienced establishment
  • You could theoretically spend less energy on customer acquisition because the ordering platform does a lot of that for you already

Cons of third-party platforms

  • A delivery company sits between you and the customer. As a result of this, they own the customer relationship, not you. If you owned your delivery, you could potentially collect these customers’ contact details, and build enduring relationships over time
  • Once the food or drinks leave your establishment, you no longer control the customer’s experience. How long does it take to get the food delivered? How courteous is the delivery person? How well does the meal travel, and is the food still in good shape when it arrives?
  • You pay a commission that could be anything from 10 – 30% per order to the delivery platforms. Depending on your profit margins, this could be expensive.

From a broad point of view, a lot of the decision making boils down to: can you afford to invest the resources necessary to build the infrastructure that allows you to own the entire customer relationship, or do you want to plug into an established system that gives you almost instant distribution?

Here’re a few of our favourite podcast resources to help you make a considered decision:

How to list your food business on Jumia Food

If you’re a food business in Ghana or Nigeria, Jumia Food is one of the most popular food ordering and delivery companies to consider.

To get started, send an email to the Jumia Food vendor acquisition team, informing them that you’d like to list your food business on their platform. You should share the following details with them:

  • The name of your food business
  • The location of your food business
  • The types of food you sell
  • A contact address — phone number and email address.

Here’s a sample email you can copy and use for yourself:

——-

SUBJECT LINE: Looking to list {YOUR RESTAURANT NAME} on Jumia Food

Hi team,

My name is {YOUR FULL NAME}, and I’d like to list my restaurant on Jumia Food.

Name of restaurant: {NAME OF RESTAURANT}

Location: {YOUR BUSINESS’ ADDRESS}

Type of food we sell: {LIST ALL THE TYPES OF FOOD YOU SELL}

My contact phone number: {YOUR PHONE NUMBER}

My contact email address: {YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS}

Warm regards,

{YOUR FULL NAME}

——-

If your food business is in Ghana, send the email to: restaurant.food@jumia.com.gh

If your food business is in Nigeria, send the email to: restaurant.food@jumia.com.ng

According to the Jumia Food team, you should receive a reply within 7 days. In Ghana, they’re operational in Accra and Tema while in Nigeria, they have a presence in Abuja, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, and Lagos.

Author Profile

Mike Awire
Mike Awire
Lead Developer at Delbimax Websolutions
Expert in Mobile App, Web Technology, SEO, Digital Marketing & Training.
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