Restaurant Reopening Ideas In the Time of COVID-19
In the time of COVID-19, many restaurants have had to temporarily shut their doors. Among those that have finally been able to reopen, times haven’t been easy. With cold winter weather right around the corner, many more restaurants will have to continue to adapt. After all, not every restaurant can make outdoor seating a year-round affair. While some shops have opted for outdoor tents and space heaters, many more restaurants might not have the funds to accommodate these changes. As such, learning how to reopen your restaurant during this trying time will take ingenuity, patience, and more than a little elbow grease.
After all, if you’re not able to reopen your restaurant, you might need to look for bankruptcy law tips to get yourself out of the gutter. While there are plenty of bankruptcy lawyers looking to help you out, it might be more feasible to try out some restaurant reopening ideas before closing your business for good.
Luckily, there are plenty of restaurant reopening ideas that you can use in the time of COVID-19. You might have to get a little creative, but these tips might just be able to save you from closing your doors. Here are some restaurant reopening ideas that you should consider before the colder weather hits.
Get it ready for winter
Cold weather is known to cause a slew of problems when it comes to maintaining your property. Between burst pipes, slippery walkways, and poor insulation, just about every homeowner and business owner dreads the cold weather of winter. If your restaurant isn’t prepared to operate during a blizzard, you might as well shutter your windows now.
For some business owners, getting your restaurant ready for winter is as simple as scrubbing the walls and putting up thicker curtains. For others, however, winter preparations can look a little different. You should invest in a replacement water heater if your current model is over 15 years old. Although the average furnace can last for up to 20 years, purchasing newer materials when you have the money can save you in terms of efficiency and reliability.
Now might also be a great time to check out the quality of your pipes. After all, each restaurant needs reliable, potable water to operate efficiently. Whether you’re washing dishes or cooking meals, clean water is vital. The last thing you want to deal with is flood water cleanup on opening day, especially if you’re working with frozen pipes.
You should also take the time to look over any small repairs you can make to your restaurant. Patching holes can deter pests from making their way inside while resealing your roof can prevent water damage in the attic later. You might need to look at various business loans and their rates for larger investments, but plenty of these fixes and updates can be made without breaking the bank.
Check in on your HVAC system, too. Odds are, you haven’t had to turn it on for a while. Hire someone to clean out the ducts, test your system, and make any updates so that your restaurant can operate smoothly all winter long. Just like you should go to the dentist twice per year, you should also test and clean your ducts the same number of times.
Winter is on the way and restaurants will have to get creative.
Boost your delivery services
Now that the weather is starting to turn, more people won’t want to go out for dinner. Paired in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic, getting people to leave their homes might be even harder. Putting an emphasis on your delivery services and take-out options is a great way to mitigate the in-person costs that you’ll lose when the weather turns.
That means, however, that you might have to get a dedicated fleet of delivery vehicles. Luckily, there are plenty of truck and car deals going on right now for the holidays. Now might be the perfect time to invest in cars and trucks for your business. This can also help you gain delivery employees that are otherwise worried about putting mileage on their own car. As long as you invest in commercial business insurance with collision repair built into your policy, making those winter deliveries should be easy.
On top of that, you might also want to revamp your menu — and your store — to accommodate take-out options. If you’re not allowing in-person seating, setting up a cashier’s desk at the front door of your store will limit the amount of time you have to spend cleaning your restaurant. It will also help keep your employees working in the back all the safer.
Along with these temporary cashier stations, consider implementing personal safety shields for your employees. Many stores and manufacturers have begun creating PPE shields that can go on top of tables and counters to form a barrier between people. Since they’re clear, it’ll still be easy to hear the person on the other side, which is vital for when you’re trying to take a customer’s order correctly. You should also implement safety shields and masks among your delivery drivers who go door-to-door and are at an increased risk of catching COVID-19.
It might also help to include a mandatory delivery fee or tip fee to help your business stay afloat. While places with free delivery fees often get more business, your tried and true customers will keep coming back regardless. By offering delivery options before you reopen your doors for indoor seating, you’re also giving new customers the chance to fall in love with your food despite the pandemic limiting their access.
After all, people will want the warm fullness they get from indulging in Italian catering. Amo up your winter menu and be sure to invest in to-go containers that can actually keep your food warm and secure. When it comes to take-out, the food is the experience: don’t be afraid to invest in materials that will make your food stand out. This could be investing in custom to-go containers with labels or simple designs that are perfect for keeping food warm. Do some budgeting to see what works best with your delivery goals.
Adapting to a changing environment is key. Even though you might have never invested in delivery or to-go options before, it’s one of the top restaurant reopening ideas you should consider in the time of COVID-19.
Prioritize cleaning like your restaurant depends on it (Because it does)
Restaurants have always been held to high standards in terms of cleanliness, but never as much as they have right now. Since COVID-19 lives on surfaces and in the air, keeping your restaurant clean is an essential feature in these restaurant reopening tips. That means wiping down each table when a customer leaves and limiting your time spent at each table.
Even if you live in an area where masks are not state-mandated, keeping your employees and your patrons safe should be your top priority. As an independent restaurant, you can refuse service for any reason, including those who don’t want to wear masks inside. Be sure to include your rules and regulations for the public to see by hanging signs and posting online. The clearer you are about your safety protocols, the smoother your transition to reopening will be.
It’s worth it to deep scrub certain areas of your restaurant too, especially if you’ve been closed for a while. Hiring marble cleaning services can help get your countertops in tip-top shape for your reopening. You’ll also want to clean your floors, walls, and ensure that your windows are squeaky clean, as well. No customer wants to walk into a dingey restaurant in the midst of a global pandemic. Now that you’ve invested in professional cleaning services, keeping your restaurant cleaner as time goes on will be all the easier.
On top of keeping clean, you should also invest in plenty of hand sanitizer. This is a one of the key restaurant reopening ideas but it’s not just restaurants that have made this change. Many businesses have adopted the practice of asking patrons to use hand sanitizer when they enter and exit the property. This will help minimize the spread of germs, along with the virus that spreads COVID-19.
There’s one more spot that simply must be cleaned in order to operate efficiently: your air ducts. One of the primary issues with dining indoors is that there is little air circulation to keep patrons safe. When people are in close quarters and breathing in the same air as everyone else, more people are likely to suffer from COVID-19 symptoms. By separating diners through social distancing and investing in your air ducts, you’ll be better able to keep your customers safe. To start with, hire a reputable air conditioning company. These professionals are adept at identifying problems with your HVAC unit and maximizing its efficiency. They will also be able to perform the necessary cleanings to ensure that the airflow is doing its best. Over time, mold, debris, and other forms of grime can clog your vents and make your air feel more stagnant. Instead of putting your customers at risk, investing in these cleaning services is vital.
Post all of your updates online
The way we used to eat out at our favorite restaurant looks very different. That much can be gleaned from the restaurant reopening ideas mentioned above. Unfortunately, relaying all of this information to your patrons isn’t going to be easy. Google can take a while to update and many people might be surprised to see that your restaurant’s capacity for patrons has gone down when they stroll to your shop.
The best thing you can do is offer updates on your website and on your social media pages. Just be sure not to hide this information in your website’s “about” section or at the bottom of the page. Since safety is more important than ever, it’s vital to make sure your patrons feel safe and follow the necessary protocols. As such, list these updates right on your homepage. You can even create a dedicated COVID-19 subpage so customers can read up on all the ways you’re better protecting them and your employees. Here, you can list what you expect to see when people enter your restaurant, including:
- Demanding that patrons wear masks when they aren’t seated
- Explaining your cleaning policies
- Emphasizing the importance of social distancing and explaining why you cannot accommodate more people at once
- Offering virtual menus
- Showcasing the practices your employees are following to keep patrons safer
- And more
You should also explain these points on your social media pages. After all, more people than ever are spending excessive time on their phones. What else are we supposed to do when we’re predominantly stuck at home? Bolster your social media presence by offering updates to your hours, explaining why people should wear masks, and what you’ve done to help keep people safer.
The internet has become one of the best ways we communicate. Even if your restaurant reopening ideas include listing these changes in person, you’ll need to cover your bases online, too. This will help keep clear and honest communication open with your customers.
Restaurant reopening ideas in the time of COVID-19
Reopening your restaurant in the midst of a pandemic won’t be easy, especially now that winter is fast approaching. There are countless restaurant reopening ideas to consider but these tips will get you off to a great start. Rely on these restaurant reopening ideas when you’re ready to stay safe and serve up some delicious food to your favorite customers.