Restaurant Reopening Resources

As the focus is now pivoting to reopen the economy, a number of resources are being provided to help restaurants learn about best practices. 

The National Restaurant Association  released new guidance for operation reopening which provides a basic summary of recommended practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The document is meant to be used in conjunction with instruction operators receive from authorities during their reopening phase-in.

Download the full guidance, here

The guidance focuses on food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, employee health monitoring and personal hygiene, and social distancing. Each section includes a list of actionable items an operation should consider as it evaluates its safety procedures.

The guidance builds on already established best practices and available requirements that address specific health and safety concerns related to the spread of COVID-19. Included in the document are highlights of the recently released Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“By combining this guidance with a restaurant’s existing policies gleaned from the FDA Food Code, ServSafe training, and recommendations from local health officials, they can help secure a safe opening,” said Sherman Brown, executive vice president, training and certification. “Adding to current best practices is an approachable way for owners and managers to put the modified protocols into practice as state and local officials begin to open communities.”

To prepare to comply with opening procedures, the guidance document advises operators to update their existing policies and operating procedures in accordance with the latest FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance and in accordance with local and state officials regarding:

  • Social distancing and protective equipment
  • Employee health
  • Cleaning/sanitizing/disinfecting

The National Restaurant Association partnered with representatives of the FDA, academia, the Conference for Food Protection, Ecolab, public health officials and industry representatives to develop the guidance.

Download the full guidance here. For up-to-date COVID-19 resources and information for the restaurant industry, visit

National Restaurant Consultants is offering this free guidance for reopening. It includes documents to assist  in organizing and reopening  dining rooms and businesses.

OpenTable added new features and price cuts for 2020 as they recognize the road to recovery will be long and difficult. First is an enhanced restaurant management platform

OpenTable’s software has always enabled restaurants to connect with diners to manage reservations, prepare for shifts, and maximize table availability. During the crisis, they have:

  • Created tools for restaurants to quickly adjust their books and notify diners

  • Updated our platform to showcase delivery and takeout services with partners like Caviar and UberEats

  • Promoted gift cards and waived gift card fees for our partner restaurants

  • Launched grocery pickup management tools for restaurants and stores operating under health guidelines

As we emerge from the crisis, restaurant needs will change as government restrictions and safety recommendations evolve. Locations that have never taken reservations may find themselves looking for ways to manage capacity. Others may need to adjust their floor plans to accommodate social distancing. OpenTable can help restaurants adapt to both situations. Also, the Venga relationship management solution we acquired last year provides a complete view of loyal guests and their feedback. Finally,  digital marketing solutions let restaurants increase their exposure and smooth demand when they need it most.

These advanced features are now paired with discounted pricing to reduce the reopening costs of our customers and to encourage new restaurants to join OpenTable. Beginning in May, restaurants that sign up for our “Open Door” pricing program will enjoy:

  • No subscription fees through the end of 2020

  • No cover fees through September 30, 2020

  • Up to 50-percent discount on cover fees in the fourth quarter of 2020

  • Standard subscription and cover pricing resume only in January 2021* (restrictions apply)

  • Plus, they are introducing three subscription tiers designed to fit the needs of every location: Basic, Core and Pro.

“We’re keen to do our part to bring back the restaurants we love,” said Andrea Johnston, COO of OpenTable. “We’re also eager to welcome more locations to OpenTable’s nearly 60,000-strong restaurant community. Finally, I strongly encourage everyone across the industry to ease financial terms where possible, including landlords, taxing authorities, and point-of-sale vendors.”

For help reopening your restaurant or to join the OpenTable platform, visit

Rewards Network is releasing a new in-depth guide here that gives tips for restaurant owners for how to approach reopening their restaurants, considering multiple areas of business, as shelter in place orders begin to lift. 

Below are key highlights that are outlined within the guide. Each section is expanded upon in greater depth:

  • Utilize the Paycheck Protection Program: The PPP is directly applicable to restaurant owners and offers 100-percent federally guaranteed loans to qualifying small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.  “Restaurants’ COVID-19 Emergency Loan Guide,” is a tool to learn more about the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program.

  • Explore delivery options to drive additional sales: Restaurants can either set up their own in-house takeout/delivery service or utilize third-party food delivery partners.

  • Align supplier orders to your new normal: Pivot to a limited menu that only focuses on the restaurant’s most popular items with the best-margin offerings that don’t require intensive preparation time.

  • Communicate effectively to your customers: Utilize websites, press kits, social media, email campaigns, public relations to maintain or restart a line of communication with patrons.

  • Get creative to garner revenue: Brainstorm ways of catching eager diners’ eyes with game nights, themed menus, etc.

  • Plan for the new normal: Plan for and test different strategic approaches.