It’s the news independent restaurant owners everywhere have been waiting to hear, you can reopen as of 4th July! Paired with the relaxation of the 2-meter social distancing rule, the future is beginning to look bright for the catering and hospitality industry.
With post-lockdown guidance now available on the government website, we’ve put together a quick summary of action points you should consider as you prepare to reopen your restaurant:
Consider your capacity
As you reopen, it’s important to consider how many people you can accommodate whilst still observing the 1-meter social distancing rule. Start with your table layout, do you need to rearrange your seating area to ensure there’s enough room between customers? This might reduce the number of covers you're able to seat at once, but considering everyone’s safety is of the utmost importance. Next, look at your kitchen. Is there enough room for all of your chefs and supporting staff to work at once? If not, consider staggering shift patterns to rotate through workforce – giving everyone a fair opportunity to work whilst still following government guidelines.
Don’t accept walk-ins
Working on a reservation-only basis as you reopen will help ease the strain in numerous areas. Staggering bookings to make sure you’re making the most of the space you’ve got whilst not overwhelming your kitchen will lead to happy customers and a successful reopening.
Reduce your menu
Parring down your menu to just a few key favourites is something to seriously consider whilst you’re preparing to reopen. If you are having to temporarily make do with a smaller team of chefs, a smaller menu means they can focus on making those few dishes as delicious as possible. It will also lead to shorter wait times, meaning you can turn tables around quicker – leading to more customers!
Reduce touch points
In a standard restaurant, there are lots of items that are typically touched very frequently by both staff and customers. These could be things you haven’t really thought about yet, such as menus, condiment bottles and cutlery. Switch your laminated menus to disposable paper ones, disposing of after each use. You should also only offer sauces and condiments in packets, providing them upon request as opposed to keeping them on the table at all times.
Review your cleaning regime
We already know that frequently hand touched surfaces need to be cleaned regularly – including door handles, chairs, tables and light switches. You should also consider how you’re planning on cleaning goods and merchandise coming on site.
Whilst preparing to reopen may feel a little daunting, starting preparations nice and early will make for smooth sailing come the 4th July. Read through the governments full post-lockdown guidelines for the hospitality sector here.