Depending on your location, COVID regulations may have now shifted to allow restaurants to reopen. Your employees are probably ready to get back to work, and your regulars will be eager to get table service again.
But before your restaurant reopens, it is absolutely essential that you create a reopening playbook to guide your strategy. Many of your policies could need to change on a weekly basis. You may encounter customers who are resistant to adhere to safety guidelines. Either way, you’ll need clear expectations and contingency plans for the uncertain days to come.
Both your staff and your customers will thank you for planning ahead. Make sure you go at your own pace so you can stay on top of everything.
Here’s what your restaurant reopening playbook needs to cover.
Visible Distancing Guidelines
Experts say that occasional periods of social distancing will probably stay in effect through 2022. This means that your restaurant may need to take a long look at capacity and floor layout. As you prepare your reopening playbook, consider how the needs of your restaurant might change over the next four seasons. Think about every area of your restaurant that may need visual social distancing indicators. If you have a takeout window, for instance, you may want to start thinking about outdoor floor markers for next summer.
One poll showed that 68% of customers prefer at least 6 feet between tables. So if you haven’t already, you’ll need to rearrange your floor plan or block off seating areas to allow for the appropriate distance between tables. For businesses on a budget, you could repaint or cordon off the necessary sections rather than completely remodeling.
Make sure that you have clear signage to help guests and employees adhere to guidelines. Post written signs where everyone can see them and keep a printed copy on file at the POS so that employees can easily reference local by-laws and the restaurant’s policy.
The best way to maximize traffic and keep people safe is to facilitate touchless or contactless transactions wherever possible. Your reopening playbook should include a plan for tip distribution, such as a tip sharing software or tip pooling software. Most restaurants have already gone cashless in the wake of COVID-19, and automatic tip sharing is an easy way to ensure that all employees get their fair share. Plus, your guests can feel confident that you are taking every precaution to protect their health and safety.
The pandemic has been hard on restaurant workers, and by incorporating a tip distribution software into your reopening playbook, you can ensure that you’re supporting your frontline workers. Make sure you speak with your team first about how to fairly distribute tips in a cashless environment (i.e., tip sharing vs. tip pooling). Then, choose a no-cash system for handling gratuity that integrates with your POS to handle tip allocation effortlessly.
Limited Menu & Takeout/ Delivery
It might be worth limiting your menu in the early stages of reopening. This can allow your team to get accustomed to the workload. It may be good to research delivery options so you can continue to serve people who don’t wish to sit inside physical restaurants. Remember to look at how to calculate tips when using delivery partners.
Remember to set out PPE and hand sanitizer for everyone to use, including delivery drivers. These little touches can go a long way towards building trust with your customers and service partners.
Active Social Media Presence
Finally, it’s critical to establish an active social media presence. During reopening, your hours or menu items may be limited. Don’t leave your customers out in the cold! Stay active on social media and make sure you reflect regular limited hours on your Google Business profile.
Let them know what to expect from a meal at your restaurant. Explain that you’ve made the restaurant tip automatic, so no cash is required. Show that you are providing PPE to your employees. It’s okay to be open about the safety measures you are following while also showing excitement to be reopening the business.
Once you have all of these in place, then you can start contacting vendors and other items on your reopening checklist. Congrats on your reopening! It’s been a difficult time for people in the hospitality industry. Get in touch with Tiphaus if you’re interested in adding our automatic tip sharing software to your business as part of your reopening playbook.