It’s been a hard and trying year for everyone, but for many restaurant owners, coronavirus meant a huge loss of income and a threat to your livelihood.
Luckily, as restrictions start to ease in places, owners can start opening a restaurant again after the pandemic. However, it still isn’t business as usual, as coronavirus requires changes to the way you operate and extra precautions.
These are essential not only for meeting government health guidelines but also for keeping your staff and customers safe. If you’re a restaurant owner getting ready to reopen, keep reading to learn the top things you should do to keep your business safe and profitable.
When Opening a Restaurant After Coronavirus, Hygiene Is Key
Cleaning your restaurant thoroughly and often is one of the most important things to do when reopening. You already kept your restaurant clean before coronavirus, but you really want to go above and beyond all state requirements to avoid any unnecessary risks.
This applies, of course, to food safety, but also to the restaurant itself. Your tables, chairs, restrooms, bar space, and kitchen and prep areas will need to be wiped down regularly throughout the day.
Find out more about the requirements for restaurant hygiene.
Space Tables Apart
It can be a good idea to space tables further apart than usual, in order to accommodate social distancing. Patrons shouldn’t be too close to one another—if your restaurant uses long bench-style tables, try blocking off every other seat so guests are adequately spaced apart.
Outdoor seating is also increasingly popular with restaurants, with guests feeling more comfortable dining in the open air then inside. If your restaurant has outdoor seating, be sure to promote this on your social media and advertising.
If you are accepting fewer customers than normal due to coronavirus regulations, make sure you let your guests know that reservations are recommended. Otherwise, they may risk missing out on a table.
Train Staff in Wearing PPE
PPE, or personal protective equipment, includes items such as face masks and gloves. When appropriate, you’ll probably want your staff to use these tools as much as possible.
Masks help keep your staff safe from disease and they also provide peace of mind to customers dining in your restaurant. All staff should undergo training on how to safely use and wear both gloves and masks.
Focus on Takeout
During coronavirus, many people aren’t ready to dine at restaurants again, but are increasingly enjoying takeout and delivery as a way to dine on their favorite meals at home. Delivery is safe, convenient, and perfect for those who are still isolating at home.
Your restaurant can increase profits by focusing on takeout during this time. Try to advertise as much as you can your takeout and delivery specials. Or, pair with a delivery company so you can extend from reach from only offering pick-up.
Restaurants can increase takeout sales by offering online ordering, promoting special deals on social media, or by starting a loyalty program. You can also design a takeout menu, which may have special dining deals for families or different special offers for each day of the week.
Sanitize Everything, Often
Sanitizer is something that you should have all over your restaurant. It should be at the front door, so guests can sanitize their hands as they walk in, and in areas where staff congregate so they can use it as needed.
Germs and bacteria can also live for a time on surfaces. So, it’s helpful to use antibacterial wipes to sanitize surfaces such as ordering touchscreens, credit card machines, and tables and foyers often, to keep them clean.
What about your menus? You could laminate them so that they’re easier to clean. Or, switch to paper menus that can be recycled after each use.
Some restaurants are also switching to single-serve packets of salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard packets. This way, you can avoid contamination from multiple customers touching the containers.
Advertise on Social Media
If you’re not already, now is the perfect time to start promoting your business on social media, just as Facebook or Instagram. During coronavirus, people are at home more than ever before—which means more time online and browsing their favorite social media sites.
Create a business page for your website and invite customers to like it. You can use it to interact with guests, let them leave reviews, and to share news and updates.
You can also create advertising campaigns and specifically target the demographics you want to reach. For example, why not create a campaign to push gift card promotions, encouraging people to purchase a gift card to your restaurant as a gift for a friend.
Social media lets you target location, age, gender, and interests for each campaign, so you’re sure to reach the right audience.
Designate Separate Entrances and Exits
As an added safety precaution, many restaurants and retail businesses are trying to keep people distancing by creating a one-way flow of traffic.
If you’re able, designate one side of the entryway as the entrance and the other as the exit. This stops big groups of people all ending up in the same space. Plus, it makes it easier to keep count of how many people are inside the restaurant at one time.
Reopen Your Restaurant with Confidence
Opening a restaurant after such a serious worldwide health issue is certainly complicated, but you can give your restaurant the best chance of success by following the tips above.
The good news is that people are eager to get out again, after months of staying at home. They will be eager to revisit their favorite restaurants and try to get back to a somewhat normal routine.
By taking the necessary precautions, you ensure that your restaurant is safe, healthy, and ready to welcome guests back with open arms!
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