If you run or own a restaurant, it’s likely that you have had a tough year. The coronavirus restrictions that have come as a result of this devastating pandemic, have forced restaurants around the world to close for a number of months. While some restaurants have been able to open on a limited basis, with fewer tables and staff members, others haven’t been able to open at all. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has even forced some restaurants to shut down completely, as owners were unable to make ends meet during closure periods.

If your restaurant has stayed afloat during this difficult time, congratulations! You must be starting to plan your reopening, now that COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming available to the public and the case numbers are dropping in many places.

In this article we will explore how to prepare your restaurant and dedicated staff team for post-covid reopening. While the world seems to slowly be going back to normal, it is likely that virus restrictions will still be in place for some time – so it’s time to make adjustments and move with the times.

Let’s take a look at how you can equip your restaurant for reopening in 2021.

Working with coronavirus restrictions

The number one worry that many restaurant owners are experiencing is how they will work within coronavirus restrictions in their area. Despite vaccinations taking place, most cities and countries will still have guidelines in place to keep customers and staff safe within the restaurant.

Here are a few examples of potential restrictions, and how you can ensure that your establishment is working within them. 

  1. Wearing a mask inside the restaurant space.

Masks are a new thing for our society, but it doesn’t seem as if they’ll be going away any time soon. These have been phenomenal tools for helping to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Restaurants and masks don’t naturally go together. Restaurants are all about atmosphere; sharing delicious food, chatting and catching up with friends and family, and having a relaxing time is what restaurants are all about. Masks restrict our ability to express ourselves, and some people even find it difficult to converse while wearing them.

For your restaurant employees, a good way of getting around this mask issue is by wearing perspex visors. Visors are still effective in protecting people against coronavirus, and they leave the face entirely visible, meaning that customers still get that great customer service experience while dining with your establishment. 

When it comes to customers wearing masks, one rule that has worked for other establishments is to ask customers to wear a mask when they are not sitting at their table. This means that when they are using the bathrooms, coming up to the bar or walking around, they’re protecting themselves and others. 

  1. Increased spacing between tables.

Most restaurants have had to operate with reduced table capacity, to reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading among customers. This will probably continue throughout 2021, even when restaurants reopen.

To make this work, you will need to remove a few tables from the space, to accommodate a larger gap between the ones that will be used for customers. This way, you can ensure you are leaving a two metre space, making customers feel safe and ensuring ease of movement for your staff too.

  1. Increased personal hygiene.

For both staff and customers at your establishment, personal hygiene will need to be a top priority. Staff members should be encouraged to wash or sanitise their hands very often, and should have their hair neatly tied back to avoid touching it during the shift.

When it comes to your customers, you can’t force them to adhere to personal hygiene rules, but you can encourage it. Making sure that there is hand sanitiser on each table, and installing signage throughout the restaurant reminding customers to wash their hands, will be helpful.

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Using tech to help your restaurant business thrive

Technology is an incredible asset to our species; we have used it to discover medical findings, to improve travel, to boost our communication skills and, yes, to help us in the coronavirus pandemic. We have all turned to tech when we want to speak to friends and family while isolating – and in your restaurant business, you could be using tech to help your business thrive post-pandemic.

How can tech help a restaurant? Let us count the ways! 

  1. Improving your efficiency in the ordering process.

Restaurants nowadays are always competing for efficiency. Our world is based on pace in this day and age, meaning your establishment needs to keep up. Using iPads or smartphones for your staff to complete customers’ orders improves efficiency and removes human error from the situation, making the ordering process slick and easy.

  1. Giving more power to customers.

Many restaurants now have apps that allow customers to order food and drink from their smartphones. This not only gives them more power and control over ordering, but it also reduces chances of transmission between staff and customers. In the age of COVID-19, smartphone ordering apps can be a game-changer.

  1. Temperature checking for customers and staff.

Customers don’t enjoy invasive customer service styles, but in the age of coronavirus, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Temperature checkers that are held up to a person’s forehead as they enter the premises are the least invasive way to ensure a person doesn’t have coronavirus symptoms before they enter your restaurant. Similarly, your staff can do this at the start of their shift.

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Increasing the hygiene levels

In this article we have already discussed personal hygiene, but what about the hygiene levels of the restaurant itself? You probably already have rigorous cleaning schedules in your establishment, but chances are you’ll need to update these when your restaurant opens again post-covid. 

Investing in commercial cleaning

If your place has been out of action for a while, make sure you are ready for reopening by booking a commercial clean from an expert company, such as Restaurant Hood Cleaning & Maintenance in Birmingham. A commercial cleaning company can ensure the place is totally spotless before your grand reopening!

Extended cleaning rituals during the day & after closing time

One of the most crucial ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to clean tables between customers in a thorough way. Similarly, regular bathroom cleaning throughout the day will ensure that any virus particles are wiped away before they spread to others.

After closing time, the rigorous cleaning should continue. Make sure to use strong cleaning products on all tables, bar areas, bathrooms, staff areas and touch-points such as door handles, to get rid of any virus particles once and for all before your staff leave for the day.

Extra training for staff

If you feel it necessary, your staff should be given extra training that can increase their knowledge of how coronavirus is spread, and help them to adhere to the rules you have set in place. Both for their own safety and the safety of your paying customers, this training is a worthy investment that could prevent an outbreak from happening in your restaurant business.

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Final Thoughts

The year 2020 was a very difficult year for the hospitality industry, but luckily, this dark and challenging time seems to be coming to an end. If you are beginning to think about reopening your restaurant after COVID-19, use this guide to help you transform the place into a spotless oasis for customers to visit, relax and enjoy themselves in a safe environment.

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