As restaurants throughout the country begin to reopen their dining rooms, it's important for restaurant owners to feel prepared and know what to expect as the “new normal” and how to operate accordingly.
Our consultants have identified seven categories that must be addressed. While the list is not exhaustive or all-inclusive, it is a general overview of action items food service operations should follow. The entire guidelines document, available here, outlines the major components of each of these categories, including what we have determined are the top-priorities.
While perception is reality, the key components of reopening must focus on the protection of staff and guests alike.
Reopening during the uncertainty that may lie ahead comes with a great deal of responsibility for everyone’s safety and health. While perception is reality, the key components of reopening must focus on the protection of staff and guests alike, from the front entrance, to common areas, and, very importantly, restrooms.
The first and most obvious step, both necessary and for the sake of perception, is sanitation. Our consultants suggest having a staff member available for ongoing sanitation, especially in the restrooms. This could even include limiting restroom traffic to a single user. Make sure to sanitize all shared surfaces, including menus, pens, and ticket holders.
The host area and common waiting areas should also be regularly sanitized, and include signage for cleanliness habits and social distancing requirements. We have created logs that detail the cleaning and sanitation procedures, as well as a monitoring and tracking process. Simple and inexpensive items work quickly and efficiently and will put everyones’ minds at ease.
Aside from actual sanitation, restaurants should be observant of recommended restrictions. This includes a continued use of masks and gloves.
For many restaurants, social distancing is the next greatest challenge—but it is crucial. Maintaining social distancing and recommendations from the scientific community is paramount in keeping guests safe, as well as your staff. The best way to adhere to social distancing requirements for guests is reducing capacity and separating tables. This will allow a safe distance between guests and team members.
The best way to adhere to social distancing requirements for guests is reducing capacity and separating tables.
Implementing these policies will improve the safety of your restaurant space, but guest response may be challenging when it comes to new operating procedure. Some guests may claim a restaurant is not doing enough, while others will suggest restaurants are over thinking and limiting their dining experience. Regardless, we recommend restaurants err on the side of caution.
We should all seek to protect everyone’s health and well-being first, and as a restaurant owner, to reopen, you must make sure that your staff feel safe. Guests that do not adhere to your safety and health standards can cause harm to your staff, and restaurant owners should be prepared to make the case for safety and community.
For the food service and hospitality industry, it is important to keep perspective, and to keep a mentality of community. Our motto has been, we show love and compassion, laugh as much as possible, dream bigger than ever, and practice gratitude. We will have fun again and we will be champions for our communities, in our industry, and in our country.
Find the complete guide here.