Finally, we are able to start getting back to business!
That means consumers will slowly start coming out and heading back to your restaurant.
But, since this is an unprecedented situation, what do you focus on as you get going?
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Start with Safety and Hygiene
Your customers want to know that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. You may not be able to keep everyone six feet apart at all times. But do what’s in your power to make that a reality.
Rearrange your seating to keep customers the correct distance apart. Consider seating that requires all customers to call ahead and have reservations.
In addition, make sure that staff members stay home if they are sick and make the sanitizing efforts in your restaurant visible. You can even designate one associate to do the latter for their entire shift.
Also ensure that you have signs clearly displaying your policy on what customers and staff need to do to keep everyone safe and healthy. A simple sign saying, “We use disinfectant specifically approved by the EPA to stop the spread of coronavirus” goes a long way.
After all, what customers would know something like that?
2. Equipment Cleaning Procedure
It won’t be easy, but you do need to have rigorous step-by-step equipment cleaning policy in place.
At a high level, follow the general rule of “empty and clean.” Change the fryer oil. Sanitize all surfaces that come in contact with food. Make sure all heating and cooling appliances operate fine at their proper temperatures.
Also, figure out how you can minimize points of contact when you have more food delivered.
3. Keep the Takeout Coming
You’ve probably shifted to this business model to a degree. But have you done what some other restaurants have and started giving families multiple meals’ worth of food in a single order?
That saves on delivery costs, improves your sales, and keeps your customers happy for more than just one sitting.
And make sure you keep this around until it’s clear demand has fallen off to the point where it no longer makes sense to serve your customers in this way.
4. Offer Gift Cards
Gift cards give you revenue that you need now while waiting to take on the expenses later. If you don’t already offer them, consider it.
This also puts some motivation on the customer. They have a little bit of a weight on their mind that they have something laying around that needs to be used.
And remember, only about 80% of gift cards ever get redeemed. That means you keep the extra 20% as pure profit.
5. Actively Communicate
You have your own unique local circumstances. You don’t want your customers to sit around, wondering if you’ll ever open again, or if you’re even out of business.
So, communicate with them regularly via the methods available to you: email, social media, or flyers, or whatever it is that you use.
That way, you can get them back in as soon as possible.
There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to reopening. But these tips will get you on your way so you don’t have to guess, make mistakes, and waste time.
Keep them in mind as you re-open and welcome guests back.