Restaurants and cafés owners have been waiting to reopen and welcome their guests for months. For so long that, it seemed as though this day would never come. But, the long-awaited news is finally here. The government is slowly relaxing social distancing measures and restaurants are finally able to open their patios, right on time for the summer season. And we are all looking forward to it!
While delivery and takeout will still be possible, going back to serving on-site diners will definitely need some arrangements to be able to fulfill all orders. In order to ensure a successful reopening, we have compiled a checklist to help you get back in business in no time. This checklist should be shared with your staff as well, to make sure everyone is on board before the big day.
Social distancing and technology
Prepping for reopening with respect to social distancing measures rhymes nowadays with new technology. It has proven effective in helping limit interaction between people.
Rearrange the restaurant’s patio and furniture to adhere to distancing guidelines (i.e: enough space or install privacy screens between tables).
- At the table
Let customers order from their table with a digital table ordering system to limit interaction between staff and customers.
- Contactless payments
Use contactless payment to limit interaction between the server and customers.
Your online and dine-in menus
If your business was still operated during the lockdown, chances are you adapted your menu to online ordering and takeout, but as onsite dine-in is slowly coming back, some readjustments will definitely be necessary:
- Update your online menu and dine-in menus
Will you be offering the same menu as before? Will you be adding new items? To both or just one of the menus? Keep in mind to only include food items that travel well in your online menu as there are ones that don’t.
- Popular items menu
Create a best-selling menu that includes all the popular items. This will help you increase order size and will allow you to serve customers faster, hence delivering more value to your clients.
- Check food inventory
Make sure you have enough to handle reopening day and the following days. Invest in Food Inventory and Ingredient Tracking systems to efficiently manage stocks, supplier deliveries, and menu items availability.
With MYR POS, updating your online and dine-in menu is very simple. And, you can easily access both menus directly from your POS dashboard.
Communicate and stay social
Let your customers know that you’re opening soon! One of the most important parts of reopening is getting the word out. Most customers wouldn’t know you reopened until they check online or get notified.
- Share the news
Share your plans to reopen on your social media in advance.
- Social media
Update social media + Google My Business with opening hours and days.
- Window sign
For maximum exposure, set up a window sign to indicate that your patio is now open.
Email your customers with new updates about hours of operation, menu details, photos, and any announcements worth mentioning.
If there is a line-up, remind your customers that they can always book a table ahead, using an online ordering app.
Did you know that you can save your customers’ email addresses using the Phone Ordering System? You can then use the email addresses to send them special announcements, promotions, etc.
Getting your team reacquainted with all processes and using equipment is as important as rehearsing for a show. To ensure smooth service on reopening day and the days that follow, we suggest to:
- Check your hardware
Train your staff on the point-of-sale, reservation system, and any other systems.
Start with a small crew as you adjust your operations and respond to the demand. Use POS tools like the clock-in/out feature to see your labor costs vs. sales.
- Work environment
Encourage your employees to share with you symptoms, doubts, etc.
- Hygiene measures
Inform staff of new hygiene measures, share with them an effective cleaning schedule, and provide sufficient PPE equipment.
Check equipment + Water and hygiene supplies
Having been inactive for a while or running at half capacity means that a maintenance check has to be done. It should be conducted before opening day to make sure that there are no repairs needed, not the day before. All the technical aspects of your business should be dealt with as not to delay reopening day and avoid any unpleasant surprises during service.
Turn all your equipment on beforehand.
- Deep cleaning
Deep clean all the equipment, making sure to give extra attention to those that use water to function. Thoroughly clean all your appliances.
- Check your premises
Check for signs of unwanted “intruders” or damage caused by any.
- Water supply
Check the water supply to make sure it is running all throughout your establishment.
- Hygiene supplies
Make sure hygiene supplies are available in sufficient quantities for both staff and customers.
What to do in case of a line-up? If your outdoor dining space is already maxed out and people are waiting outside, consider setting up an online ordering system where customers can pick up their order or get it delivered using delivery apps.
Reopening in these times is not an easy task. Reaching out to fellow restaurateurs can be extremely helpful for exchanging ideas and advice.
With this restaurant checklist, we hope it will be useful to get your business up and running.
In doubt, you can always reach out to us. Our team of experts comes from the restaurant industry and knows the challenge!