COVID-19 has brought the entire world to a standstill. Our eyes long for the lights of the city and our heart awaits the joy of dining out. While there is a lockdown in the country, the restaurant business has been impacted severely. Many of the restaurants are at the risk of permanently shut down in the near future. But let’s not forget that many of us live to eat and not eat to live. Food is our religion. It’s true that people would not stop dining out. There would be girls night, family dinners, date nights and after office beer sessions with colleagues. It will all resume.
Now let’s balance hope with reality.
When the lockdown is lifted, people would be a lot more careful, and so should you. Once restaurants reopen, you will need to be more proactive and creative in managing your dine-in business.
Towards that end, some operators are trying to stem the economic slide as much as possible with a little creativity. Admittedly, these ideas can’t stop the financial losses the whole industry is no doubt suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But they do offer insight—and perhaps, inspiration—into adapting to the new normal.
Prepare to adopt the following things at your restaurant to stay safe and ensure the safety of the diners as well as your staff. And these adopting measures won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
1. Practice Social Distancing Even After the Lockdown
Do not overbook
Take limited reservations and lower the rate of bookings. How much ever satisfying it is to see a crowd at your restaurant’s doorstep, you cannot afford to overcrowd
Rearrange all the tables
Each table should be at least 5 feet apart from each other in order to maintain proper social distance. Eliminate a few tables if you have to.
Private cubicles for diners
If you can create private seating areas by rearranging the tables, your diners would be relieved and ecstatic Restaurants with private cubicles like Social, or most of the fine dining restaurants, must take advantage of this concept. Families and small groups of friends would seek such spaces for outings.
2. Reevaluate Serving Size of Dishes
There will be some fear associated with sharing food. It will be favourable for a restaurant to reevaluate serving size and come up with multiple options. Serve dishes with small portions that are enough for one person. Or a large portion of the dish must be nicely served, cut in different portions.
Now that your restaurant is temporarily shut down, you have the time to plan and execute these essential changes with the least cost involved.
3. Stringent Sanitation and Temp check
- Sanitise the kitchen, dining areas and surfaces that the customers and staff come in contact with (basically the entire space). You can schedule professional cleaning sessions once a week.
- Make sure your kitchen staff and servers wear gloves. The customers would feel safe dining at your restaurant, with a visible reassurance of safety being your priority. This will help build a trusting relationship with them.
- Check the temperature of the staff as well as the diner when they enter the restaurant.
4. Inform your Diners
No cash Only card signboards at the counter:
We are practising least physical contact between people so a no cash exchange method of transaction would be ideal. Urge your diners to pay via card or online payment wallets by putting signboards at the counter.
Personalised messages to your customers:
Send your diners SMS & email campaigns, to make them aware of all the precautions you are taking. They will seek a place that has a balance between social distancing and social gathering. Tell them that your restaurant is their place of refuge.
Broadcast on social media:
80% of customers search for a restaurant on the internet before visiting it. At the time when the most trending thing on social media would be stepping out after the lockdown during COVID-19, you must post what they are looking for. Let them know that their safety is your priority.
Let’s work towards coming back together, and open the restaurant’s doors to celebrate, wine & dine and make unforgettable memories again.