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The pandemic has hit everybody hard. Needless to remind you, the last year and a half has seen immeasurable physical and mental hardships due to the coronavirus. As well, businesses of all kinds have been hurt by lockdowns. The restaurant industry, in particular, has been damaged in never-before-seen ways. Eateries that thrived on welcoming customers to enjoy their environments had to shut their doors for weeks on end.
Over the course of the pandemic, MeloTel has found ways to assist struggling restaurant owners. Both Al Marani, the co-owner of Cora Breakfast & Lunch in Pickering and Muhammad Bilal of Burgers On Fleek in Ajax became MeloTel clients in the wake of COVID-19. We’re elated to report that after switching to MeloTel’s VoIP-based Commercial Phone Services, business has boomed for both!
“When the pandemic hit…takeout orders were becoming a bit hard to manage.”
Al let us know about his biggest downside to the pandemic and its resulting restrictions. Taking orders by phone had become very difficult. Prior to COVID-19 invading our lives, his Cora restaurant would seat many guests for dine-in experiences. Any orders taken by phone were done in the traditional way – by an employee who answered the phone.
Because the pandemic forced Al to resort to takeout orders exclusively for some time, the phone was ringing more often than normal. The problem, however, was that his staff couldn’t keep up with all the calls. Cora only had one phone line. MeloTel’s phone services allowed Cora to open up five lines at the same time!
“It worked out beautifully,” Al recalls, “We also benefitted from the fact that we were able to do things like state our hours, state our location, state our reservation policies and COVID policies. So that people who had quick easy-to-answer questions could be dealt with by an automated system rather than having to have somebody answer the phones and give that information and potentially lose a takeout sale as a result.”
“On busy days and nights, we wouldn’t have a chance to answer the phone.”
Over at Burgers On Fleek, Bilal was facing the same problem. He informed us that his burger joint actually started to receive one-star reviews online during the pandemic. It was because of the restaurant’s inability to answer all of its phone calls. Noting that he only had one staff member to take the calls, Burgers On Fleek was also unable to appease customers who called after closing time.
“With MeloTel’s phone service, if anyone calls after hours, a recording tells the customer that we’re closed,” Bilal details, “Now people don’t get upset because they know we’re closed. They also know our hours. Secondly, when someone calls and is waiting on the phone, they’re listening to advertising. We recently introduced our pulled beef brisket. It’s a new item. Now people are waiting and listening on the phone and hearing about our pulled beef brisket. And now sales are going up!”