Everyone is eager and willing to get back out and support their local restaurants, and the last thing we want is to face another complete industry shutdown.
So, what can you do to open your restaurant safely? In this article, we take a look at five considerations restauranteurs need to know for a safe reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First on our list is reducing the overall capacity of your restaurant. Government guidelines vary widely between countries, regions and states, so check your local laws.
Some sources to review current reopening guidelines by country can be found here:
- Canada: Navigating COVID-19: Updates and resources for foodservice operators
- Australia: Best Practice Guidelines To Reopen Australian Restaurants After COVID-19 – Merge
- New Zealand: Re-opening or making changes to a food business in Alert Level 2
- UK: Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance
Hand Hygiene Stations
Most if not all restaurants have restrooms supplied with soap. However, this isn’t enough to encourage routine handwashing by customers and staff alike.
In addition, you should consider setting up hand sanitizer stations so that customers can clean their hands on the way in and out of the restaurant. Again, the rules on this vary. Some countries and states require it, some don’t. Either way, it’s a good idea.
Increased delivery and curbside pick-up
Running your restaurant at reduced capacity means fewer tables to turn over. There are several things that you can do to make up the shortfall. Just because you can’t sit everyone down, doesn’t mean people don’t want your food.
With an efficient online ordering system you can increase the amount of food you sell during peak times even with a reduced capacity.
PPE for FoH staff
Front of house staff are on the front lines (literally) dealing with dozens of customers in close proximity throughout the day. While many are eager to get back to work after their forced hiatus, there are real concerns about their safety.
This is why some large food chains such as McDonald’s will be giving their staff Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as face masks. PPE isn’t a complete replacement for good hygiene practices though, and in some cases, wearers of PPE are given a false sense of protection and can become careless. Which leads us neatly onto our next point.
It’s important that staff are properly trained for hygiene best practices. For example, workers need to understand that PPE is not a substitute for regular hand washing and proper cough and sneeze etiquette. If PPE is used as a COVID-19 control, it should be used according to public health guidance.
A few things you should consider for your updated staff training include:
- How to properly use PPE
- Coughing and sneeze etiquette
- Avoiding touching your face
- Frequent handwashing
- Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces
Bonus: Table Ordering
The sixth and final item on our five item list is table ordering. Table ordering allows you to reduce customer and staff interaction by enabling your customers to order from their tables using a QR code. This has the benefits of increasing table turnover, mitigating the threat of the virus spreading in your restaurant, and improving the customer experience.
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