Restaurateur says construction led to closure

Restaurateur says construction led to closureConstruction projects can be a nightmare for businesses. One Greenville, South Carolina, restaurant owner says her café was forced to close after prolonged construction fencing and obstructions severely reduced business traffic. For more on this story, click here.

What’s an operator to do? Here are few tips to keep your restaurant thriving amongst the chaos of construction:

• Be proactive. Most city and road projects are planned far in advance. Attend community planning and development meetings. Also, take a look at your community’s master plan to see when major development is set to begin.

• Make logistics of getting to your pizzeria a priority. Let your patrons know the easiest, most convenient way to get to you. Often times, there is a side road or back entrance that is accessible. Put maps and directions on box toppers, in-store posters and table tents, your Web site, e-newsletters and social media. If it’s easier to park at a church’s lot two blocks away and walk to your pizzeria, coordinate a deal with the church officials and promote the arrangement to your customers.

• Signage is key. Work with your city officials to place signage on alternate routes leading to your pizzeria.

• Give them a reason to fight the construction to eat at your pizzeria. Bundle a construction special.

• Offer alternatives like delivery and large- and small-party catering.

• Make them crave your pizza. Post beautiful, mouthwatering photos of your most popular and specialty pizzas and blast them out to social media. Even the biggest construction project cannot stop customers from their favorite pizza.

• When advanced notice of the construction project, work a percentage of lost sales into your projections
— for example, allow for a 20-percent hit from the previous year and adjust your labor, food ordering, etc. accordingly. Evaluate once the project commences for adjustments. Explore ways to make up the difference with catering, special events or large accounts.