Successfully Reopen a Restaurant After the Shutdown
The last year has been difficult for anyone in the restaurant business. In recent months, as states have begun to reopen, food service entrepreneurs are finally feeling more hopeful. And as restaurants open their doors to customers, there are new protocols for customers to learn. To ensure your restaurant’s reopening is a success, learn how to handle these five situations.
- Are you guys open?
This is the No. 1 question people are asking when they step inside a restaurant today. You might think if there are people sitting outside or inside (depending on which stage of post-quarantine you are in), then it should be obvious that you are open and working.
Sorry, but no. Some restaurants are open, some are only preparing for opening, some have cut their working hours, and some have unfortunately closed for good. Please make sure you have a huge “We Are Open!” banner on your social media pages and your physical location. You might even want to send out “Welcome back!” text messages to customers whom you have phone numbers for.
When you reopen a restaurant but you’re still only at 50% capacity, make sure you include wait times into that text message as well. There’s nothing worse than finally going out to your favorite restaurant and finding out the wait time will be three hours.
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- How does this work now?
For some time now, restaurants will have to treat every customer as if they are new, and customers may be confused with the protocols of how your business is operating now. Do they just sit down? Do they wait for someone to disinfect the table or has it been disinfected? Do you have disposable menus or do they download them using a QR code? Where’s the QR code? What if someone doesn’t have a smartphone? Or 4G? What’s your wi-fi password?
Create visible “disinfected” signage, and make sure your signs say that menus are disposable. Be sure to always have someone greeting customers to explain any rules and to answer any questions.