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The Future of Restaurant Dine-out Post COVID-19

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill. It has changed the way we live, interact, and do business. Although there isn’t a business that has not been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, the restaurant industry has perhaps suffered the most damage. In the USA alone, more than 8 million employees in this sector have been either laid off or furloughed. The Government of the USA estimates a revenue loss of over $ 120 billion in the restaurant industry due to lockdown and virus outbreak.

As the restaurants prepare to reopen their operations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has laid out guidelines and considerations for protecting the employees as well the customers. These guidelines aim to promote behaviors to minimize the interaction with customers, improve the hygiene etiquette of the employees, and maintain healthy working environments. As we thrive to survive in these testing times, read on to know how you can re-organize your restaurant business.

Be Creative to Re-design the Restaurant Ambiance:

As the new norms for social distancing and contactless dining kick in, you must be creative while re-designing your restaurant layout and ambiance. Here are a few tips to help you modify your restaurant design.

  • Change the layout and seating arrangement to ensure that your guests are at-least 6 feet apart.
  • Limit the seating capacity and prioritize outdoor dining.
  • Install physical barriers like partitions, curtains, sneeze guards, etc. in common areas of your restaurant like kitchen, reception, takeaway areas.
  • Make way for fresh-air by opening windows and provide outdoor furniture wherever possible.
  • Remove buffet tables, drink stations, salad bars, etc. to discourage self-serving food and drinks.

Things to consider by Restaurant and Bar Owners:

As you reopen your establishment to your guests, here are a few things we think will govern the future of the restaurant business.

1. Cleanliness will be the Top Priority:

As the cleanliness and sanitization become paramount, you must follow SOPs and advertise it to bring back your loyal customers. Clean the frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, bathroom stalls, countertops, serving trays, restaurant furniture, etc. with a disinfectant. Providing the proper training to your staff to ensure the safe and effective use of disinfectants will go a long way in maintaining the overall hygiene of restaurant.

2. No more Shoulder to Shoulder Sitting:

Crowded and jam-packed restaurants will be a thing of the past now. With social distancing, you will have to rearrange the restaurant tables and chairs in the dining area of your restaurant. As the space becomes exclusive, guests looking for seclusion and privacy will have to pay a premium for this luxury. You can cash-in on the opportunity by reserving a separate area of your restaurant for intimate dining.  You can select the best suitable restaurant furniture from Missouri Table and Chairs, as they are providing customization option as well.

3. Prevalence of Open-kitchen:

With more guests wanting to ensure proper food handling practice, the traditional back of the house kitchen activities will become visible. Providing an open-kitchen in your restaurant will be the perfect way to let your customers see the food preparation and handling. Similarly, as most of the customers might prefer takeaways, you can consider ghost kitchens or cloud kitchen to cut your operational costs.

4. Health Regulations will Change

Covid-19 has brought in the most significant behavioral change in the last century. Masks, sanitizers, gloves, etc. have become the new norms and will have to be adopted in the kitchen as well as the dining area. Apart from regular cleaning and sanitization of commonly accessed areas, sharing of high-touch objects like serving spoons, bowls will be minimized. Thermal screening of guests and temperature monitoring of employees might become a reality. 

5. Touchless Payment, Delivery, and Services:

To ensure contactless dining, you must adopt to touchless technologies in different aspects of your restaurant business. Starting from the touchless doors to the digital menu, sensor-based dispensers to online payment, all these services will become contactless. You can provide an app-based pre-booking of orders and automated valet tokens for to minimize the physical contact. 

6. Earn the Trust of the Customers:

With future looking uncertain and customers reluctant to restaurant dine-out, you have to gain the trust of your customers again. We live in the times of over-information that might often create confusion; you must be accommodating for your customer’s concern. Being transparent and following the best practices in food handling is the perfect way to make your guests comfortable and earn their trust.

Conclusion:

From receiving and attending your guests to serving them, from food preparation to packaging, from contactless services to managing the restaurant’s layout, you must re-invent every aspect of your restaurant to survive in the post Covid era. Restaurateurs who take the necessary steps to accommodate these behavioral changes can make the most of the opportunities.

This article addresses some of the scenarios of the future restaurant business and how to make the most of it. Hopefully, these points guide you in re-designing your restaurant operation that not only provides a contactless and comprehensive dining experience to your guests but also sets the cash registers rolling again.

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