How Your Bar or Restaurant Will Survive the Pandemic

We are moving through a global crisis that we’ve never seen in our lifetime.

Every industry has taken a financial hit, countries are beginning to lockdown, and people are closing up shop and staying home, either by mandate or voluntarily.

How do our businesses in the bar, restaurant and nightclub industry survive this pandemic?

Working with clients, one of the biggest problems they traditionally have is not having time to implement growth strategies and learn new marketing skills. With countries, states and cities going into full quarantine, time at home is essentially being forced upon us.

Having time, for once, may be the biggest asset to come out of this, helping us and our industry bounce back.

A few things to think about and do during this pandemic:

1. If you have the ability, offer food delivery and stay open to keep revenue flowing.

2. Create unique content for your following so they don’t feel so isolated and you stay top of mind throughout this time.

3. Take the extra time we have on our hands to grow your business:

  • Reflect on what can be better at your venue. Better systems, better processes, and upgrades.
  • Clean up your email and phone lists and keep in contact with them. Create a lead-generation system for constant database growth.
  • Learn how to create better ads on Facebook and Instagram so you’re ready when it’s go time. (Read to the end for a coupon code toward my online Social Media Marketing for Bars course and Unfair Advantage audiobook. Apply the ideas for your business, for free! We’re in this together and I’m happy to share knowledge and help sharpen your skills however I can.)

What not to do during this pandemic:

  1. Do not hide from social media. Out of sight is out of mind and there will be a massive influx of guests once lockdowns are over, so you want to stay top of mind.
  2. Do not give into fear and panic.


Are you able to offer delivery of food to your customers? If you’ve been doing this already, market that to your followers on social media and let them know you’re there for them and happy to provide comforting, familiar dishes.

Haven’t offered delivery before? Spend some time to see if the logistics makes sense, then fire it up.

This is great way to keep revenue flowing during closures or low customer traffic.

Ideas for Creating Relevant Content During the Pandemic

  • Have your chef and/or cooks record a few videos about how to make your famous apps or entrees.
  • Have each bartender record a video of them making their favorite cocktail and schedule those posts to go live throughout the month.
  • Encourage followers to post photos of themselves making the recipes you share.
  • Include user-generated content by encouraging your followers to send you photos of them at your venue in the past. Give them their 15 seconds of fame!
  • Get your DJ or band to create a mix or song recorded in their home or studio and post that once a week.
  • Create party playlists on Spotify or Apple Music and post them weekly.

These are just a few ideas to keep your brand top of their minds. This way, they’ll remember you when it’s time to party.

Grow Your Marketing Knowledge

Take this time to get set up for the surge of customers when things settle down. I often talk about having a multi-prong approach to growing your business:

  • Grow revenue.
  • Grow engagement.
  • Grow reach.
  • Grow database.

Learn some very-easy-to-implement but very effective advertising approaches during the slow time so that you’re visible and stay relevant to your guests and followers, are able to target your exact customer base, and keep people eager to come visit as soon as they’re able.

Use this time to grow your business so that you can take advantage of the surge of guests when life returns to normal.

Louie La Vella is a renowned events marketing director with bar, nightclub and major festival clients around the globe. La Vella is also a speaker at the Nightclub & Bar Show and contributor to Bar & Restaurant. You can connect with La Vella online at and use the coupon code “NCB” for free access to his latest online course Event Boost and audiobook My Unfair Advantage at

Stay up to date with CDC and WHO guidance to stay healthy and safe, and stay current with federal, state and local mandates to operate within the confines of the law.