Restaurants have taken a huge hit during the pandemic, but they are still open and operating. However, trying to serve the public in the midst of a pandemic comes with a whole new set of challenges.
We asked seven thought leaders to share what restaurants are doing differently while operating during the pandemic.
Read on to find out how they are making the most of the situation.
Extend Operation Hours
Restaurants are adapting to a new normal by extending operation hours. Because most places are not offering full dine-in service, it is difficult to to serve the same amount of customers as you would prior to COVID-19. Operation is slower and more cautious, but restaurants still want to serve as many people as possible. By extending operation hours, you are allowing more people to frequent your restaurant.
Adhere to CDC Guidelines
Restaurants have arranged the chairs and tables wherein physical distancing can be observed in which only one person can eat per table and the tables are set one meter apart. Temperatures have been checked upon entry to the establishments with a mister that sprays disinfectants in the air every once in a while.
Lewis Keegan, SkillScouter
Adjust Stock Orders
They have had to adjust their stock and set up new stock levels to take into account the reduced (or simply different) traffic. It was necessary to face the unknown by finding new suppliers to replace those whose businesses have gone bust. And even before opening, they have had to deal with the expiry dates of their products, finding alternatives such as donating to charity.
The biggest change adaption was the new walk-up window that was installed on the exterior of the restaurant. This eliminated all in-restaurant traffic and allowed everyone to be safe. Clients ordered online or by phone, paid upon ordering, and then simply picked up the food at the window when it was ready. This eliminated all person-to-person interaction and limited any line or traffic that was outside the restaurant
Zach Bergenholtz, Blu’s Barbeque
Proximity and Transparency
The solution has been focusing on proximity and transparency. Allowing clients to know what steps are being taken to deal with COVID-19, which items have temporarily been removed from the menu, and ensuring clients are aware of any other operational changes. This improves the likelihood of clients feeling safe in restaurants and not being taken back by the changes.
There is a large TV now placed at the entrance encouraging customers to scan a QR code, which takes them to a digital menu. There is also a second sign with an embedded NFC chip that allows customers with the latest iPhone and Android smartphones to tap and have a menu automatically pop up on their device. If the customer chooses not to use either of those methods, there is then a single-use disposable menu provided.
Cindy Sun, Slater’s 50/50
Vocal on Social Media
Restaurants now more than ever need to be vocal on social media platforms as well as websites regarding their operation status. Making sure you post loud and clear about your hours, your method of dining and any precautions customers need to know ahead of time. Some restaurants may have not had to use these means to communicate before, but now is the time to start in order to maintain as much business as possible.