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How to Manage your Restaurant during COVID-19

Published Sep 15, 2020

The impact of coronavirus is stiff, and almost 80% of restaurant sales worldwide are down - says a report.

Restaurants have been allowed business operations in the regions where the number of new cases has dropped, but restaurateurs are experiencing “fatigue” due to strict safeguards and social distancing norms.

“Demonstration given by news agencies and research organizations suggests that a day of positive outlook can be countered with additional new cases. That, in short, compels restaurant patrons to maintain a high level of wellness best practices.”

Consumers expectations from restaurants

Consumers are very concerned about staying safe.

  • A survey conducted among 8511 customers by VIPinsiders suggests that 62% of respondents said that the staff at restaurants should use masks and gloves when reopening.
  • 4988 out of 8396 (which is almost fifty-nine percent) customers said that disposable and single-use menus are essential.
  • 54% indicated that restaurants should check the temperature of staff and guests.

Apart from hygiene procedures and PPE, around 73% of customers expressed satisfaction for how restaurant’s technology supported them to maintain safety measures, a report published on Modern Restaurant Management. Besides, ever since the virus erupted and engulfed the world into its flame, numerous technologies are being tested in restaurants. 

Given the uncertainty and hope, we believe that stringent safety measures and amalgamation of technology can help the hospitality sector to combat COVID-19 and cultivate customers' ongoing trust.

We have listed out here five tips and suggestions to support you in managing your restaurants. Let’s explore;

5 Steps to Manage your Restaurant During Covid-19

1. Inform Customers about Changes

Reach out to customers, inform them of the changes and safety measures you adopted. Due to uncertainty being on top of mind, people are looking for information they can trust. Hence,  informing your customers what steps you have adopted and how the changes will ensure customers’ safety, including staff, can go a long way to benefit your business.

2. Are you offering takeout and delivery?

Do you know what has been the most popular “near me” search for five years continuously? - “restaurant near me.” This has been replaced with “take out” and “food delivery” with 285% and 100% spikes.

Hence, you can explore the alternate dine out option that will help you generate good revenue while keeping your customers and employees safe. This step is highly recommended as social distancing is not ending anytime soon; it may become a part of our lifestyle. 

3. Have you updated your menu? Limit it to profitable ones 

Restaurants are strategizing on finding ways to minimize the revenue impact on their business. You might be working with reduced staff now, so paring down the menu with profitable and deliverable can be a smart decision.

Choose a menu that is cheaper in cost and easy to prepare. At the same time, you need to make sure that the ingredients you buy can be utilized in more than one menu item. Besides, avoid stockpiling food ingredients that carry a short life span.  

4. Safety is paramount – Reassure your safety protocols

According to Think with Google, the search interest for “is food delivery safe” during COVID-19 has recorded a 650% rise from March 1 to March 24, 2020, in the US. 

Image source: Think with Google.

The survey report by VIPinsiders is enough to suggest that customers are overly concerned about their safety when it comes to indoor dining. In such situations, affirming that you have taken all the mandatory measures to curb the current situation will help you attract more customers. 

5. Customer touchpoints – Ensure contactless order and payment

The reusable menu is likely to be a thing of the past, and even a single-use menu may be the exception when technology seems to be ruling the roost. Assure your customers that they would face minimal or zero contact when they visit for dinner or lunch at your restaurant.

Here are some of the ways to provide zero-contact services and payment;

  • Customers can book a table online
  • Orders can be placed online using an app or digital menu
  • Install a POS system including Wi-Fi enabled or virtual payment system to accept plastic money as well as e-wallets
  • Place tables keeping the social distancing norms in mind
  • Equip staff with PPEs

Final Thoughts

Even though restrictions are being lifted and businesses, including the restaurant industry, have been allowed to run operations, customers are showing less interest in heading out and dining in a seated restaurant. 

Managing restaurants is a challenge. The industry needs to bring changes in terms of sales, services, and delivery. Follow and implement the suggestions and manage your restaurant business effectively. 

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