Orono Connects

Can Restaurants Adapt to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?Photo by Edward Franklin on Unsplash

Though the State of Maine has not followed the lead of many other states in closing its restaurants, breweries and bars; for many "business as usual" has already been affected, and they will soon feel the effects of customers who are practicing necessary social distancing.

According to Confucius: “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” 

When customers refrain from coming into your business due to circumstances beyond your control, you need to find other ways to engage them. Though the circumstances are less than desirable, this is still an opportunity for innovation! If you want to keep customers investing in your venue even while social distancing, you might: 

  • Create a new online presence with a take-out menu, if you don’t have one already. Add language to let customers know that you understand their concerns during this troubling time and reassure them that you have created a safe way for them to use your services. Consider creating a “family meal” menu.  
  • Add curb-side pickup to that revamped Take-out menu, so folks can still make you their go-to stop on the way home for dinner. 
  • Create gift cards if you haven’t already, and advocate for folks to support their favorite restaurant by paying now and enjoying the visit later. 
  • Offer merchandise for sale with your company’s logo on it, or something that is themed to your business, as a way for loyal customers to support you. Dig out any boxes of old t-shirts from past promotions, of check out sites like 4imprint that offer bulk prices on a variety of customizable merchandise for purchase. 
  • Invest in your customers in return by starting a rewards program that offers discounts, free sides, etc., to loyal customers who accrue enough points.
  • Consider using services like GrubHub, DoorDash, EatStreet, ToastTab, and others to deliver to your customers. Many of these programs allow people to pay online for their meal as well, reducing the need for direct contact with your delivery drivers. 
  • Can your restaurant develop a “meal kit” that will allow customers to finish creating the meal at home?
  • Simply reducing hours of operation can help with reducing labor costs. Though we encourage businesses to maintain staff when permissible as you will need those loyal employees when the threat is over, there needs to be a business to come back to. 

During this period of crisis, Orono Connects will serve as a link to the online presence of any of Orono’s restaurants that want to get the word out about their new (or old) practices. As well as listing the participating businesses here on the Support Orono’s Restaurants page, we will also be sharing that page over social media, doing our best to encourage Orono’s hungry diners to support their local venues during this temporary period of social distancing.

How Do You Add Your Restaurant’s Information to the Page?

If you would like to add your business’ information to the Support Orono’s Restaurants page, you can contact us at 207-889-6909, email Director of Community Development Mitch Stone at mstone@orono.org, or fill out our online survey form.


Oronoconnects.com is a media used by the Town of Orono’s Office of Community Development to highlight the benefits of our partnership with Black Bear Sports Properties in a marketing program for participating businesses in Orono. These businesses receive a complete package of affordable marketing opportunities at UMaine sporting events made possible because of the group marketing collaboration. 

In addition, the Office of Community Development is using Oronoconnects.com to connect with residents and visitors alike to provide timely information on activities, events, and other exciting opportunities. We want to connect you with everything Orono has to offer!