While nobody wants to admit it, it appears that the COVID-19 epidemic is going to continue to impact the hospitality industry well into 2021. With a second wave coming, creating, updating, and implementing thorough safety protocols for both your customers, as well as your employees, should be the main priority of your restaurant.
So how can you create a bullet-proof safety plan for your restaurant that can be sustained long-term?
Map Out Your Floorspace
Six-feet apart is most likely a phrase that not many people will forget anytime soon. Per the CDC’s guidelines, we still need to remain six-feet apart to best prevent any further spread of the virus.
For restaurant owners, enabling the six-feet rule will come with a load of logistical questions to sort through. Common things to worry about when implementing the six-feet rule are: What is your max capacity? Do tables need to be moved/removed? Is there a clear path to the host stand? Is there a clear path to restrooms?
Mapping out your restaurant is the best way to address any issues, and answer any questions you may have when implementing social distancing rules.
Look Into Digital Safety Equipment
Investing in advanced safety equipment for both the restaurant and individuals should be a must-have when creating your updated safety plans. Simple solutions like strategically placed hands-free sanitation stations can encourage guests to continually be vigilant about sanitation. If you are able to enforce it, touch-free temperature readers can also be used to screen for sick diners before they even enter your restaurant.
If you, like many other business owners are struggling financially, do not that prevent you from providing a safe dining experience for your patrons. There are a few sources for business loans that can help offset the initial costs of making your restaurant safe, and the investment in the health of your customers is worth it in the long run.
Develop an Employee COVID-19 Safety Program
Usually, only patrons would need to check in to a restaurant, but this year, doing a check-in with your employees will only help prevent the spread. Before any employee enters the restaurant to clock in, they should have to go through a health screening process that quickly assesses their status.
On top of incorporating an employee check-in process, educating your employees about safety measures will be important this year. Some things to focus on are showing employees how to spot overcrowded areas, teaching them how to diffuse an “anti-masker” situation, and how to best visualize six-foot separations. Educating your employees is one of the most responsible ways to prevent the spread.
Offer New Dining Experiences
If there has been a silver lining of COVID-19, it is that people are being creative with business solutions to combat the virus. Within the hospitality industry, there are plenty of out-of-the-box measures to take to make sure that your restaurant stays safe, while also promoting an enjoyable experience.
With winter approaching, think strategically about what that means for your restaurant. Typically, in winter, dining is restricted to indoors. This will make it difficult for your restaurant to seat an adequate number of patrons, without sacrificing their safety. Add in the threat of other illnesses commonly spread in the winter, such as the flu, and preventing the spread of germs can seem impossible.
The thing is, with modern technology, do all your patrons really need to be packed inside this winter? The answer is no because now, it is easier than ever to create an outdoor dining area that is usable year-round. Adding in extra-space will allow you to serve more patrons, safely.
If you have gone out to eat at other restaurants during the epidemic, then you know how annoying it can be when a restaurant is not clear about its procedures. Make sure that you over-explain things, both in-store and online to prevent any confusion this year.
In-person, make sure that things are labeled as clearly as possible. Markings on the ground to direct traffic will help keep things moving smoothly. On top of this, add in some COVID-19 specific signage that details mask policies as well as provides social distancing reminders.
Outside of the restaurant, make sure that you stay as active on social media, your website, and the phone, as possible. Communicating any changes made to your policies ahead of time will help to mitigate any confusion patrons may have in-person.
Ensure that you have the right team in place to implement all of these changes. Reach out to the restaurant recruiters at Horizon Hospitality to find out how!
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