When governments around the world announced that businesses must close their doors to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the future of the hospitality sector looked uncertain.
However, in San José, one business has embraced the challenge of ‘the new normal’ to ensure commercial success that continues one year on.
Jürgen’s restaurant is an internationally acclaimed fine dining restaurant that offers a gourmet experience to its customers. When businesses across Costa Rica began to close in March 2020, staff turned their attention to transforming the restaurant’s service offering – ranging from promotion, right through to product line and distribution.
Approaching the transformation
The Management team’s aim was clear: finding a way to keep the kitchen open so that the staff could remain employed. Costa Rica has experienced record levels of unemployment as a result of the pandemic, so safeguarding jobs, and the future of the restaurant, was their primary concern.
This meant taking a whole new approach. General Manager Eduardo Lanaspa and his team worked tirelessly to transform the restaurant’s successful offering.
A new service offering
The first step was to launch a new delivery service, allowing customers to order restaurant dishes right to their door. A special menu was put together, based on dishes that would maintain their high standard even in transit. ‘Combo’ meals were added to the menu, diversifying the fine dining meal range with options to suit all tastes.
A new website was soon launched, showcasing the new delivery menu. Promoting the delivery service was a top priority, with the restaurant running several successful marketing campaigns across social media to drive awareness with new and existing customers.
To support a completely digital user experience, new partnerships were formed with popular delivery services Rappi and Uber Eats, ensuring a quick and easy ordering experience. Jürgens also launched a new digital communication channel, using WhatsApp for Business to ensure timely communication with customers.
Implementing ‘Covid-safe’ measures required significant planning. The layout of the restaurant had to be completely revisited to accommodate social distancing and a reduced capacity of 50% occupancy. Sanitizing mats and hand sanitizer stations were introduced, and staff underwent training on the new safety policies and procedures. These new processes included a move to a contactless experience, with a digital menu accessible via QR code.
Communication and innovation
Communication was critical to a successful reopening, and customers were kept updated on all the changes via social media, where they could find the new opening times, menu, details of safety measures, and more.
Staff also worked hard on devising promotions, offering memorable dining experiences to bring people together for special events. These were not always without challenges – plans to celebrate Father’s Day in June had to be moved online when restaurants across the region were told to close for the weekend. The restaurant responded by sending out complimentary bottles of wine and cookies with delivery orders.
In August, Jürgen’s ran a special Mother’s Day competition, offering customers the chance to win a three-course meal for two when they placed a delivery order. Special promotions continue to entice customers through the door, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas menus and a Valentine’s Day competition. Looking at other ways to innovate, the restaurant is also now offering gift baskets, which can be delivered directly to customers’ homes.
Speaking to success in the wake of the pandemic, General Manager Eduardo Lanaspa, said:
"We always try to provide different experiences. Some of our staff members have been with us for ten or twenty years and have developed a bond with our customers, so the customers feel right at home from the moment they come into our restaurant.”
Jürgens restaurant is part of YNV Group’s Everty portfolio. To learn more, visit the Jürgen’s restaurant website, or follow the restaurant on Instagram or Facebook.