Opening a restaurant is always a venture that holds some level of risk. After all, customers will have to enjoy the food, ambiance, and experience in order to recommend your restaurant to others, come back for more, and spend their money there rather than at a competitor’s venue. One small mistake could damage your restaurant’s reputation. However, if you are opening a restaurant during a pandemic, there’s even more at stake. Perhaps you have delayed opening during national lockdown periods and have decided that opening day needs to go ahead. But there’s more to consider right now with a deadly virus sweeping the world. Here’s what you need to do from the start to build trust with your customers and demonstrate to them that you’re committed to keeping them safe.
While you want to get as many people as possible to visit your new restaurant on opening day and thereafter, it’s simply not possible right now with too much at risk. Most people would be wary about visiting a restaurant that is very busy, or an establishment that doesn’t seem to care about limiting infection risk by limiting the number of people inside. Make sure that social distancing is a key priority, even if this means reducing the number of tables that you initially planned. When diners can be sure of at least 1-2 meters distance between themselves and others, they will feel more comfortable dining at your restaurant.
Along with keeping customers safe, you’ll also have to think about keeping your employees safe. With so many jobs lost as a result of the pandemic, you should have no trouble finding people who are willing to work for you right now, but the last thing that you want is for employees to be off sick with the coronavirus or pass it on to your customers. Plexiglass barriers for the checkout are an ideal option for bar areas or for the reception of your restaurant to add a layer of protection between your customers and employees.
Depending on the state that you operate in it may be the law to require that all customers wear a mask, except for when they are sat down to eat, of course. You should also provide your employees with the appropriate PPE and require them to change their masks and gloves several times throughout the day. Even if your state has not mandated mask-wearing in public places, it’s a wise idea to implement it as a rule for those who want to eat at your restaurant.
Opening a restaurant in a pandemic means that you’ll probably have to accept that there won’t be as much business as you might have expected otherwise. However, you can offset the effect of this by offering a takeout service, with many people who would normally choose to dine with you preferring to get takeout instead. You could offer a delivery service or partner up with a service like Postmates to ensure that all customers are catered to.
Opening a restaurant in a pandemic might not be ideal, but it is certainly possible to succeed with the right strategies to keep customers safe.