How to Run Your Restaurant During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In this post, we’ll provide guidance for business owners in the restaurant industry navigating this public health emergency. After reading our tips, you’ll understand how to follow industry best practices during the COVID-19 crisis.
6 Ways to Safely Run Your Restaurant (While Following COVID-19 Regulations)
1. Provide Employees with Necessary Safety Items
All servers, cooks, hosts, and other employees should be given personal protective equipment and safety items when they return to work. This includes hand sanitizer, face covering masks, gloves, and anything else recommended by the restaurant industry. You should also ensure hand sanitizer is readily available to employees and patrons.
2. Ensure Social Distancing Whenever Possible
Even if your restaurant is open for business, it’s crucial to continue social distancing. To do this, you can offer no-contact takeout and delivery services. That way, you’ll have less foot traffic inside your establishment.
Another way to encourage social distancing is to ask employees to maintain six feet of distance. You may need to make changes to your restaurant layout or operations in order to achieve this. In addition, be sure to space out tables so that patrons aren’t close to each other when dining in your establishment.
3. Take Employees’ Temperatures Before Each Shift
Although it isn’t required by the CDC, you may want to take workers’ temperatures prior to the start of each shift. Sick employees should stay home until they’re healthy, as to not spread COVID-19 or any other illnesses.
4. Provide Digital Or Disposable Menus
Often, restaurants offer reusable menus in their dining rooms. If you must, these should be disinfected after each use. However, to avoid spreading germs, consider ordering paper menus that can be discarded after each use.
Another way to display your offerings to your patrons is through digital menus. With this option, customers can scan a QR code to access your restaurant’s menu on their phone. This is a safe and convenient way to serve your customers, without having to provide them with a physical menu.
5. Implement a Strict Cleaning Schedule
Create a strict cleaning and disinfecting schedule for all areas of your establishment. This includes anything touched by employees or customers:
- Seating areas
- On-table items (condiments, silverware, menus)
- Ordering devices
- Self-serve areas
In addition to cleaning throughout the day, you should also consider hiring a professional cleaning crew to frequently clean your establishment.
6. Install Barriers
In addition to social distancing measures, you should purchase and install sneeze guards and other barriers for your restaurant. These barriers can be added to any buffet, self-serve station, or host area to keep patrons safe.
If these barriers can’t be added, you may want to stop offering buffet or self-serve options until then.
Being a restaurant owner during these unprecedented times is challenging, to say the least. However, by taking the necessary precautions, you can maintain your operations safely and productively.
Do you have any other suggestions for restaurant professionals during this difficult time? Let us know in the comment section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in August 2020.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.