How to Turn Lost Operating Revenue into a Marketing Opportunity

Cass Polzin
3 min readSep 23, 2020

It can be incredibly challenging to know how much stock to buy from week to week, with regulations changing constantly. But especially right now, most restaurants can’t afford to throw out half of their shipments.

This leaves restaurant owners with a few questions: How can restaurants better anticipate traffic? How can restaurants monetize excess inventory? This resource will explore strategies for doing both.

Drive more customers.

While you likely won’t see the same traffic you did before the pandemic, you can make up some of the difference by increasing your marketing efforts. It costs nothing to boost your social posting and marketing outreach to stay top-of-mind for customers.

Most importantly, make sure potential customers know you’re open and can easily understand all the ways to patron your restaurant. You could be missing out on tons of customers just because they assume you aren’t open right now.

Keep an eye on local data and laws.

As much as possible, try to look at the trends in your community. Understand the local number of COVID-19 cases, how frequently people are frequenting establishments, and how consumers choose to dine.

Many communities have rolled new regulations out on the fly with little notice, try to anticipate upcoming laws. Attend community meetings on Facebook Live, watch for municipal meeting minutes, and regularly check for local news.

Develop meal kits.

As a result of the pandemic, more families are cooking at home on a budget during COVID-19. Unfortunately for parents, COVID-19 has quadrupled their responsibilities, piling schooling, cleaning, and cooking on top of their regular duties.

Meal kits can be an excellent way not just to use your excess inventory, but also to pivot in a direction that benefits consumers even more at a price point they can afford right now.

Donate your excess inventory.