Few industries were as significantly impacted by shutdowns as the restaurant industry. After some time, most states and jurisdictions are loosening up requirements. Do you have a plan for how your restaurant can thrive upon reopening?

5 Tips for a Restaurant Rebound

The restaurant business is challenging enough on a regular ongoing basis. The last thing this industry needed was a sweeping pandemic. But as restaurant owners, there’s nothing we can do about the larger situation or context. All we can do is focus on our individual businesses.

As the world reopens and life attempts to resume to some semblance of normalcy, here are a few suggestions you can use to help your restaurant rebound, survive, and even grow over the next few months.

 1. Consider a Slow Rollout

The key to rebounding is to implement a slow rollout plan that allows you to gradually resume business activities over a period of a few weeks or months.

While you’re probably chomping at the bit to resume to normal, a sudden restart could be disastrous for your business. Think big, but start small. This could mean a transition like this:

• Phase 1: Delivery and carryout only

• Phase 2: Add outdoor seating

• Phase 3: Indoor and outdoor seating (but with fewer tables)

• Phase 4: 90 percent capacity with social distancing between tables

Every restaurant’s rollout will look different. The important thing is that you come up with a plan that works for your unique circumstances.

2. Revamp Your Cleaning and Sanitizing Processes

“Familiarize yourself with requirements from your local health department, and make sure you are adhering to them,” Marshfield Insurance advises. “It’s important to train employees on cleaning and disinfecting procedures and protective measures per the CDC and Food and Drug Administration.”

In addition to following basic guidelines, consider conducting a big sanitizing and deep clean of your entire facility before reopening. You may also want to switch to disposable plates, cups, and utensils, as this lessens the risk of coming into contact with the virus.

3. Communicate Health and Safety Precautions

It’s not enough to implement new safety precautions. You need to make your customers aware of what you’re doing. You don’t have to do it via formal marketing or advertising – casual signage, emails, and communication will do.

When customers see proof of your health and safety precautions, it puts them at ease and makes it more likely that they’ll return to your restaurant again in the near future. (It also provides some tangible support if people question your decision to reopen certain parts of the business.)

4. Rethink Parking

Even as you reopen dining areas and invite customers to eat in your restaurant again, a sizable portion of the marketplace will remain hesitant. Many will prefer to order carryout instead. Make sure you’re prepared!

It’s possible that this shift to carryout will become the norm moving forward – even well after the COVID pandemic is done. Let’s Pave encourages restaurant owners to think about adding more curbside parking spots so that you can prepare for the influx of pickup and carryout orders.

5. Switch Up Menu Items

Finally, think about making adjustments to your menu items. There are two primary driving forces behind this:

• You want to keep your staff and customers as safe as possible. By shifting your menu to include fewer handheld items and finger foods, you can lower the risk of transmission.

• Profitability will be key in the coming months. Switching to menu items with higher profit margins will help you remain in the black.

You don’t need to stray too far from your focus. Simply optimize the menu to account for these two factors. It’ll benefit you in the long run!

Give Your Biz a Boost

It’s hard to sugarcoat the situation we’re in. While life is reopening and resuming in many parts of the world, we still have the overwhelming burden of the virus (and the potential for a second wave) hanging heavy in the air. As a restaurant owner, it’s important that you block out all of the noise and focus on the factors that you can control.

At the moment, your best option is to prioritize the health of your employees and customers so that you can keep your business open, generate revenue, and continue to grow. The hope is that this article supplied you with a few practical tactics for doing just that. How will you respond?