When the restaurant industry first heard the words, “social distancing,” you could hear a collective sigh across the nation.
Other than the airline and hotel industries, restaurants are some of the hardest hit in these days of COVID-19. So, what are restaurants to do?
In this article, we look at how to maintain your restaurant business during the Coronavirus.
If you’re lucky enough to still be open for pick-up and delivery orders, you still must take immense precautions with your food prep.
There would be nothing worse for a restaurant owner and staff than to know their carelessness led to a customer getting sick.
Worth noting is that, according to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”
That being said, your staff can transmit the virus through face-to-face contact in pick-up and delivery situations. In addition, if your staff touches the to-go containers with an ungloved hand, they can transmit the virus this way.
So, practice enhanced hygiene practices with your staff, both in the back and front of the house to cut down on the chance of transmission.
Some restaurants are really thinking outside the box.
Taking a nod from traditional food subscription services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, restaurant businesses across the world are getting creative.
How might this work for you? You offer a weekly subscription service to your customers. You can send this information out through your email lists, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and posting it on your website.
It might look like this:
Doing this allows your back-of-house staff to keep their jobs because you need them to cook the food. You can then use your front-of-house staff to pack the delivery orders and deliver them touch-free to customers.
While take-out and delivery options aren’t going to sustain the restaurant business for the long haul, they may very well keep them afloat in the short term.
And, these options will give more of your team members an opportunity to stay on your payroll instead of living without a job or going on unemployment.
Many restaurants are forgoing signing up for delivery services and doing it on their own. Why? Many of their front-of-house staff can now work in the pick-up and delivery areas, so they can keep their jobs.
It is worth noting that delivery service, Grub Hub, is waiving restaurant commission fees for independent restaurants, so if you are already a subscriber, this option might still work for you.
It’s imperative that you make your pick-up and delivery options as touch-free as possible. Have all employees wear gloves when packaging meals.
The same holds true for your delivery drivers so they aren’t inadvertently passing the virus on.
Encourage your customers to allow for porch delivery instead of the traditional hand-off as this keeps both them and your team members safe.
Many restaurants are encouraging their customers to stock up on gift cards both for themselves and for friends and relatives.
They can then use these gift cards when the Coronavirus is a memory in the rear view mirror. Another creative option for the restuarant business, this encourages ongoing loyalty from patrons when this cloud lifts.
You want to provide an environment where your staff feels safe to work, and the community feels safe ordering from your restaurant. (tweet this)
To that end, there are some cleaning strategies to implement or enhance what you are already doing.
First, you want to stay abreast of what’s going on in your community. Is there currently community spread? If not, you can maintain your standard sanitation practices.
If there is a potential for an outbreak, you want to enhance your cleaning procedures.
In the case where the Coronavirus is growing rapidly like in New York or California, you need to go into overdrive to make sure you are doing everything possible.
Yet, regardless of the situation in your community, it is a good idea to get started on this enhanced procedures now, so you are ready when it hits.
Restaurant businesses all have a common goal: to serve their community and keep them safe while doing so.
Like Matthew McConaughey said in a recent Twitter video, “Right now, more than ever before, we’re all more dependent on each other than we ever have been.”
Right now, your customers still want their food, but they may be too afraid to reach out for it. Do your best to communicate with them through all of your digital channels to let them know how you are going to keep your restaurant safe while ensuring they have access to your menu.
Finally, McConaughey left us all with another bit of advice, “There is a green light on the other side of this red light.”
This won’t last forever, and you can maintain your restaurant business during the Coronavirus with great hygiene and some creativity. (tweet this)
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