This is a multipart article by my great friend and colleague, Minda Harrell.
The world of restaurants will look different now that Covid-19 has entered our lives.
How do we create an environment usually devoted to welcoming people in to conform to the new reality meant to now keep people apart?
Like most things in life, there are multiple sides to every story.
As a restaurant owner, you will have to balance not only how to keep your customers feeling secure but how to keep your employees safe from all those who enter the door.
Let’s start with your business itself.
To maintain social distancing, you will need to lessen your dining room capacity which equates to less revenue and less service staff. On the other hand, you will need to increase your cleaning supply expenses and spend more labor dollars to keep up with rigors of keeping Covid-19 off contact surfaces. To keep your staff safe, you will need to ensure they wear masks and have easy access to handwashing sinks.
For your own peace of mind, you may want to conduct extensive training sessions on how to clean contact surfaces properly, what contact surfaces are, and expand on those handwashing signs in every bathroom. This helps the employee but:
what about your customers?
The general public has so many options – they can dine-in, takeout, have food delivered, or pick up curbside. With Covid-19, which option will they choose?
If they dine in, will your restaurant make them feel comfortable or concerned?
Can they pre-order their meal online so their food is ready shortly after arrival?
Are your menus disposable or can they be assured that they have been cleaned often and properly? Will you have the customer sanitize their hands before entering?
If they choose to enjoy their food to-go or have it delivered, are your menu options travel friendly?
No one loves cold, soggy fries and if you want to have a robust
takeout business, your menu options better carry well all the way back to
where they feel safe to eat it.
In the restaurant business, you are used to the ever-changing, never the same day twice lifestyle.
You will need to change things up once again and there are many tools to assist you. During these uncertain times, technology can help ease the stress. Having your menu available online or on a customer’s phone can make contactless ordering a breeze. Point of Sale systems can make dining in or takeout orders simple, streamlined, and easy for the employee to keep things moving so your staff has more time to interact with the customer. Pair that with the security you’ll give your customers by providing a clean, safe environment, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a way to move on with or without Covid-19.