What should restaurant owners be thinking about post-COVID-19?

In this 5-minute read:

  • Best practices for restaurants post-COVID-19
  • Safer payments, safer spaces
  • Employee health and sanitization procedures
  • Other points to consider

As we enter (and re-enter) a post-COVID-19 era, there’s a lot that business owners need to think about in order to keep their companies strong during this time. And while many people are excited to go back to their favorite dine-in restaurants, many still are remaining cautious due to the coronavirus, and many states re-establishing stricter lockdown regulations for small businesses and restaurants. 

Throughout this article, we’ve outlined several things that your restaurant should take into consideration as we all venture through the ongoing pandemic and its aftermath. 

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Best practices for restaurants after COVID-19

Restaurants were already a pretty regulated industry prior to COVID-19 and should have been keeping good hygiene and health practices. But in the aftermath of COVID-19 and with the risk of spreading this disease still looming among us, extra precautions should be in effect. 

Continue engaging in the following best practices to keep your staff and customers safe and your restaurant going strong. 

Check out this guide: How to reopen your restaurant safely after COVID-19

Sanitization and hygiene best practices for restaurants

Cleanliness is crucial for restaurants and anyone that handles food. You’ve likely gone through health inspections in the past and know what you’re supposed to be doing to ensure the sanitization of your restaurant. 

Now, there’s a little more that you can and should be doing to ensure the safety of your employees and customers:

  • Regularly clean and sanitize tables and other surfaces that come into frequent contact (menus, doors, counters, chairs, bathroom facilities, etc.). Do this in between each customer and don’t wait for the restaurant to be empty to start cleaning
  • Require PPE like gloves and masks be worn when handling food and interacting with customers
  • Make sure employees are regularly changing their gloves and washing their hands for the standard 20 seconds or longer
  • Require temperature checks as employees arrive at work to ensure they aren’t exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Send them home if they have a fever
  • If you have employees who have been exposed to people with COVID-19, require them to stay home for at least 14 days (or longer if they contract the disease)

How to set up your restaurant space to help encourage social distancing

COVID-19 hasn’t been eradicated, so with people traveling more and engaging in public activities again, there’s still the risk of catching and/or spreading it. Restaurants can help prevent further spreading by encouraging social distancing among the patrons that visit your restaurant. 

Keep enough space between the chairs and tables in your dining area. Try to place at least 6 feet of space between spaces for separate parties. 

You may even consider expanding your outdoor space for the summer to allow for more people to dine-in and keep their distance at the same time. 

If you have a general checkout stand or location in your restaurant where lines tend to congregate, place markers on the floor to encourage physical distance between separate parties. 

Consider cashless or contactless payment options

The less physical contact that your restaurant staff has with customers, the less chance there is of spreading COVID-19, or any disease for that matter. If you aren’t already, consider engaging in cashless and contactless payment options at your restaurant. 

Some ways to do this include:

  • Kiosks or tablets at each table that allow customers to pay for their order with their card (be sure to sanitize these when you clean the table between each party)
  • Encourage customers to order and pay online
  • If you’re allowing cash tips, have these placed in a jar so your staff doesn’t have to handle the money immediately
  • Consider not allowing cash or change to be used in your facility

Go deeper: Best practices for cash, cashless, chip, and contactless payments during COVID-19

Continue to offer online ordering and delivery

If you are not yet offering online ordering or delivery services, now is the time to get started. If you are, we encourage you to continue offering these services at your restaurant post-COVID-19. 

Many people are still taking precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease, particularly those that are in the high-risk category. Continue to provide services that allow you every opportunity to gain business from current and new customers. 

Need some help? Check out these guides for some great advice on selling online and starting delivery services:

Get business interruption insurance

We don’t know how COVID-19 is going to impact the future, but after seeing the impact that it has had already, it’s better to be prepared. If you don’t have business interruption insurance, now may be a good time to discuss this with your attorney or insurance agent and determine what the best options are for you. 

If there’s a spike in COVID-19 cases, this insurance could help mitigate the damage if your employees contract the disease and are unable to work for an extended period of time. Protect your restaurant in any way that you can. 

Keep your restaurant’s customers informed and continue marketing

As you continue adapting your restaurant to this world after COVID-19, make sure that you keep your customers informed of any updates that you make to store policies and offerings. 

Share everything that you are doing to help prevent further spread of the virus and remain optimistic to draw your customers in. 

Continue to market your business and promote new offerings as you always have, and even consider new marketing methods to reach those that are staying home more–like social media advertising or Google ads. 

And always, ALWAYS, continue improving your online reputation. Be aware of the online reviews that your restaurant has and continue to ask customers to share their experiences online. New reviews will help you get even more customers!

Need help managing your online reviews? Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

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