Adapting to the New Ways of Dining: Safely Re-Opening Your Restaurant

Running a restaurant has never been an easy task. And now during a pandemic, multiple obstacles are making it even more difficult.

Some restaurants have embraced the changes we are now facing and are adjusting how they operate their business. Coming out on top is probably the center of most business owners’ minds. To do this takes a little innovation and perseverance. There are plenty of opportunities to thrive during this time!

Shutdown Across the Globe

Due to the pademic, countless restaurants have closed either temporarily or permanently. Yet, despite all the set-backs, many small businesses have re-opened over the past few months. How are they successfully opening their businesses? Well, it’s all about planning, managing, and adapting to the set-backs.

The Game Plan

The National Restaurant Association partnered with representatives of the Food and Drug Administration and public health officials to create a guideline that will help you safely run your restaurant during these hard times. This simple guide will give you the “basic summary of recommended practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to the virus.”

The three key points explained within the guidelines are:

  • Monitoring your employees’ health
  • Deep cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting your restaurant
  • Promoting social distancing

Chefs Washing Hands in Kitchen

Importance of Staying Safe in the Kitchen

Your Employees’ Well-Being

As the owner, if you’re not protecting your staff, then you’re not protecting your restaurant. The CDC encourages you to let workers stay home if they are sick. It's better for them to stay at home and rest, than risk infecting your restaurant.

When they are at work, inform them of the proper techniques of hand-washing. They should frequently wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Face masks are also a requirement for workers and customers. Wearing a mask keeps everyone in your restaurant safe by slowing the spread. Stock up on disposable face masks in case your employee's mask rips or tears apart while working.

Other great PPE tools are alcohol-based hand sanitizers and alcohol-based and non-alcohol based sanitizing wipes with benzalkonium chloride (BZK) in them. You should make them available to your workers as well as for customers in the restaurant.

As an added precaution, upon entry into your restaurant, make it mandatory for everyone to undergo temperature checks. These could be either through automated temperature checks or by putting stationed employees at the front desk. Be sure to ensure that the employees designated to check temperatures are equipped with proper PPEs. 

Cleaning Protocols

Maintaining a healthy environment is always of utmost importance in the food industry. Customers will prefer restaurants that go to the extreme to protect themselves and the community.

To keep your business open during the pandemic, you need to create strong cleaning and disinfecting protocols. The Nation's Restaurant News also provides a guide on how to thoroughly clean your place.

The onus is on both the restaurants and their patrons to abide by the CDC guidelines. You will have to ensure that the premise is well-ventilated. Diners will have to wear face masks when not eating, and keep in mind that restrooms, menus, and the cutlery could all be potentially risky. In other words, no sharing, no socializing. Which means goodbye buffets. 


Take-Out is the Safe Way

Social Distancing

Furthermore, promoting social distancing is also key in the new world of dining. There are a few new tricks to keep people at a six-feet distance:

  • Installing physical barriers (like sneeze guards at cash registers)
  • Limiting the number of people at each table
  • Add flyers to your walls or windows on how to stop the spread of germs
  • Market take-out, curbside pickup, or delivery options to limit physical interaction
  • Update your restaurant’s layout in order to keep tables separated

Operating a restaurant is a stressful, time-consuming, and expensive journey. But if it is your dream, don’t let the pandemic take that away from you. Keep following all safety procedures and adapting to new rules and regulations and don’t forget to stock up on all supplies.