How your restaurant can respond to the coronavirus
No one knows how long this situation will last. But it has already been 2 years. Some are hoping that the warmer weather will slow the spread of the virus and health authorities will get the situation under control, others are preparing for a very bleak few month. All we know is that it will get worse before it gets better.
The following tips fall into two categories: Preventive measures you can take to minimise the loss of sales from the current slowdown, and proactive initiatives that can help you increase sales now, while preparing your restaurant to get back to normal later.
Opening hours in difficult times
Optimise your opening hours. Keep costs down by opening only during peak hours. We have seen some restaurants reduce their opening hours from Wednesday to Sunday from 16:30 to 20:00.
Or they only open for lunch and dinner on weekdays. This has saved many restaurants from bankruptcy.
Make your restaurant a safe place for your customers.
The first step in the fight against the coronavirus is to make your restaurant as clean as possible. The EPA has compiled a list of disinfectants that effectively kill SARS-CoV-2. (Note that plain soap is quite effective. The virus is enclosed in an oily membrane and is therefore broken down by soap and water). Information can also be found here: Information on Corona.
Pay special attention to all surfaces that clients touch, such as light switches and doors, as well as all systems through which air circulates. Provide your team with antibacterial gloves, especially for cash handling.
Opening hours and corona
Prepare your staff to deal with customers
Thorough disinfection in public is a given if you want to stay open during social distancing. But how should you respond when a guest starts coughing?
Some restaurants take extreme measures to protect their staff and customers. In Los Angeles, the Sichuan Impression restaurant takes its customers’ temperatures at the door and denies entry to anyone who refuses or shows symptoms.
Restaurants succeed primarily because of their staff. Your team is an essential part of your success: from the chef to the kitchen staff to the hostesses and waiters, your staff makes your business. Don’t be afraid to address the real, human side of the COVID 19 crisis when talking to your staff, your suppliers, your customers and the public.
If you feel uncomfortable, make sure your staff are trained in how to respond when a guest shows symptoms.
- Equip your staff with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and masks.
- Be on site immediately with wipes or napkins. Offer the guest disinfectant or other sanitising agent.
- Prepare for guests to interact with medical facilities.
- Thoroughly disinfect all tables, utensils, glasses and surfaces with which the guest in question has been in contact.
- Plan ahead in case you need to expedite a guest’s departure from your restaurant.
Also check the opening hours of other restaurants. For example, London opening hours here. This will give you a little more information about your competition.