A Step-by-Step Guide to Reopening Your Restaurant
More than half of people who have lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic were food and beverage industry employees, so it's not surprising that so many of these employees and business owners are anxious to get back to work. All around the country, restaurants are beginning to make plans to reopen their restaurants, but opening for dine-in service is complex. Restaurants will need to follow changes made in legislation that affects the food and beverage industry and adopt the industry's best practices regarding hygiene and face-to-face service in this era of pandemic. The following guide is designed to help restaurants develop their reopening process and address everything needed to protect staff and safely serve diners again.
Know the Laws
One of the first steps restaurants need to take is to get informed about changes to laws and regulations that affect their business. Fortunately, the food and beverage industry is a strong advocate for businesses operating in this sector. Restaurants can visit industry organizations to find out about changes in legislation as well as other recommendations that can enhance their reopening process. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will also be updating its websites continually as needed with information about legislative changes and best practices for restaurants and other food industry businesses.
Create a Safety Plan
To reopen safely, restaurants will need a robust safety plan that details how often staff will be required to clean surfaces. While restaurant staff may be used to cleaning tables and customer seating, they should incorporate other best practices to improve the safety of their setting. When it comes to cleaning, they should also plan to clean door handles, payment processing machines, and other surfaces that customers are likely to come into contact with during their visit. It's important to sanitize these surfaces on a routine basis to minimize the risk for virus spread.
When creating a safety plan, restaurants will need to remove some tables in order to provide distance between tables. The Center for Disease Control is still recommending that people try to remain six feet apart from each other in public. Additionally, restaurants will need to order a substantial supply of masks and gloves for servers, bartenders, and other staff members who come into close proximity with the public.
Develop a Social Distancing Plan
Social distancing remains important for the public at large even though many businesses are beginning to reopen. Restaurants will need to have a plan to foster social distancing. As mentioned, they'll need to place tables further apart and they may need to reduce the number of patrons allowed in the restaurant at one time for their protection and the protection of staff. After determining how many people they can safely serve, restaurants should post this information at their business location and online. There has been backlash among the public about social distancing and wearing masks so it's important for restaurants to be upfront about their plans and to be firm about following their own regulations.
Train and Monitor Staff
Before reopening, restaurants will need to train staff about how to safely perform their jobs in light of the new legislation and regulations. Be prepared to inform them about how often they need to change masks and address any concerns they may have before you reopen. After you reopen, it's important to monitor your staff to ensure they're following all of your guidelines.
What about Testing?
Some companies are adopting methods to test the wellness of staff. Some plan to check employees' temperatures each morning before the start of the work day. If an employee does become ill, it's important for employers to have a plan for coping--and helping their employee cope. Restaurants can advise employees to visit a health clinic where they may be administered a COVID-19 test.
If they do have the virus, they'll need to quarantine and follow all the CDC recommendations before returning to work. If they don't have the virus, but are suffering from another illness like the common cold, restaurants will still need to have a plan in place to address employee illness. People are concerned about sneezes, sniffles, and coughs. Other staff members and diners will be concerned if they're in the midst of anyone who exhibits symptoms of illness. How will your restaurant address these concerns?
As the pandemic lockdown begins to subside, reopening restaurants will still want to maintain their online orders for take-out as many customers will still be hesitant to dine out. Online ordering has proven to be a saving grace for many restaurants around the country who have still been able to stay open and earn income. Hopefully, the lockdown period will not need to be revisited, but virus outbreaks may certainly occur. Restaurants must be prepared in case they're forced to close to diners again or if they have other disruptions to contend with.
Now that you'll go back to having customers within restaurant premises, Cuboh will behave as your online ordering manager, helping you streamline pickup or delivery orders from third party services. With Cuboh, restaurants can manage all of their online food delivery orders from one convenient tablet; with data and orders travelling automatically to your point of sale system. If your restaurant is eager to improve its ordering process and/or onboard new delivery apps, get in touch with us to learn more.