5 COVID Considerations to Implement In Your Restaurant

It’s almost too much to hope for, but it almost feels as though we might be returning to some semblance of normalcy in this post-pandemic world of ours. Vaccines seem to be working and the social distance rules businesses have put into place are keeping patrons and staff alike safe.

However, now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. As more and more people are getting comfortable again with dining in rather than picking up take away, it’s important to make certain your business continues to promote social distancing for the foreseeable future.

Let’s look at 5 ways you can do just that.

1. Use Floor Markings to Designate Safe Distances

If your guests must check in with a hostess, mark the floor in increments of 1.5 metres to make clear how much space is needed between visitors. If you have a small entryway, you may need to continue the floor markings out the door and onto your sidewalk to make it clear to customers the line may well extend outside during peak hours.

2. Discourage Guests from Waiting in Large Groups

Odds are you have limited space in your waiting area as guests wait for their table to come available. Communication is key here and can go a long way in smoothing the easily ruffled feathers of guests who may be fed up with COVID restrictions. Determine how many customers can safely wait in your area while maintaining social distance requirements. Post the maximum capacity at your hostess station and around the waiting area.

It’s also a good idea to have a game plan for the inevitable moment when your waiting area reaches capacity. If you have a covered outdoor waiting area, offer it as an option to customers. If not, or if the weather won’t permit outdoor waiting, offer to page guests once their table is ready while they wait in their vehicles.

Offering reservation service is another way to limit the number of people waiting for a table.

3. Add Space Between Tables

The recommended space between tables is 1.5 metres to keep guests a safe distance from one another. This may require the temporary removal of some tables or breaking larger table arrangements into smaller ones. If your tables cannot be moved, or if you have booth seating, block off alternating tables or booths with the use of tape or signage.

Is it painful to leave tables empty when you have a line of customers out your door waiting to eat? You better believe it. But in the long run, adhering to social distancing is going to keep everyone healthy and move us closer to getting a handle on this pandemic.

4. If Outdoor Dining is Available, Use it

Research has found outdoor dining reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 thanks to increased air circulation. If you have outdoor dining, arrange your seating so that tables are 1.5 metres apart and guests have a minimum of 1 metre of distance between the back of their chair and that of the guests seated around them.

If you don’t have outdoor seating, speak with the local city government to find out if you have the option of turning a portion of your parking lot or the sidewalk outside your establishment into a makeshift outdoor dining area. Some governments are allowing such modifications temporarily until COVID restrictions are lifted.

5. Use QR Menus and Disposable Silverware

The less “things” there are for guests to touch—like menus, silverware, condiment jars, and salt and pepper shakers—the less opportunity there is for the virus to spread.

Use a QR code to guide guests to your online menu…and please make sure your menu is updated and current. Not all guests are comfortable using QR codes and if, after having gone through the effort to reach your menu, they find out it was all for naught because your website hasn’t been updated since 2015, you’ll be left with very unhappy guests. Have disposable paper copies of your menu available for customers who aren’t tech savvy…it will be better for everyone in the long run.

Making the switch to disposable silverware and pre-packaged condiments and salt and pepper also go a long way in reducing the number of surfaces touched by staff and guests.

There’s no question that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect upon the restaurant industry. We look forward to the day when business is booming, and pubs are filled to overflowing with friends who can hug one another and celebrate together. Until then, let’s all do our part to keep staff and guests healthy and well…and full of our excellent food and drinks.

Thanks for reading,
Have a Seat
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