When you think back to how you set out to connect to potential customers during the pandemic, does it feel like anything has changed since then when it comes to both your marketing and interpersonal communication with guests? It wouldn’t be surprising if so. After all, restaurants hardly had a chance to recover from COVID lockdowns when they were suddenly thrust into managing rising inflation, supply chain snags and ongoing labor challenges, among other difficulties. Operators moved from one existential crisis to another, but the emotions these crises evoked have been very different. The pandemic brought out a softer, more emotional side to communication – something that may have been lost in the months since. It’s worth taking a look at how your efforts to connect with guests during the pandemic were effective then because they could be what solidifies guests’ loyalty to you now. How did you make people – guests and employees – feel supported? How did you share your restaurant’s story in different, human, surprising ways? A recent Modern Restaurant Management report about the importance of emotional intelligence in business communication shares some signs that your restaurant could be lacking it: A few examples include leaning on one message for all guests versus employing more personalized communication, providing inadequate responses to guest feedback, and emphasizing more on what you’re offering as opposed to how it benefits guests. Knowing this, could you make any improvements to how you’re connecting with the public? The past few years have been hard – but don’t let them harden the human approach that continues to win with consumers.