Restaurant Dining Post-pandemic Style: How to Reopen On-site Dining

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Like most businesses today, entrepreneurs, particularly restaurant owners, are struggling to find out what their operations will look like post-pandemic. No matter the difficulties and circumstances your food business is facing, many will agree that the massive impact of the pandemic will cause lasting implications on businesses and everyday life. Thus, it’s critical to prepare for whatever challenge happens in the future.

Most food establishments adjusted pretty quickly to nationwide lockdowns by offering pickup and delivery options. But opening an indoor dine-in restaurant presents a different challenge. There are a lot of safety guidelines involved to ensure patrons and your employees feel safe.

Most entrepreneurs are responding to the current business climate by grabbing food franchise opportunities. One example is starting a grazing table business franchise to save money on multiple locations. This investment opportunity minimizes business risk by offering 24/7 support, cost-effective operations, and a proven business model.

To get your food business ready post-pandemic, we’re listing down ways how to stay afloat and prepare for a reopening.

Look for new opportunities

Running a business is a perfect combination of opportunity and danger. While there’s danger out there, you have to take advantage of existing opportunities without harming your finances.

Although business activity is slow and inventory is running low, this offers a great opportunity to revamp the menu, widen the margins, and control food costs. Use the POS data to monitor historic food trends, best-selling dishes, and meals that require more effort and cost than their actual worth. Adjust the menu and remove items patrons least like. If it’s not contributing to the sales, get rid of it.

Restaurant owners should study their income statements to understand where the money goes and create better financing decisions. The great thing about an economic crisis is you discover the negative things that affect your business by stripping it down to stay afloat.

Any crisis will change how you operate a business, and forward-thinking businesses are those that operate smarter. They will leverage their digital marketing strategy by redesigning the website, uploading relevant content, and taking advantage of paid advertising. They will also update their recruitment and training methods to ensure only the most qualified employees remain. Training will also help the workforce create the best customer experience to increase customer flow and boost sales.

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Maximize technology

Every crisis is an opportunity to innovate. Technology has proven its ability to support many industries during the pandemic. From contactless payments, food delivery apps, and digital menus, these tools have enabled interactions in times when it’s impossible.

The pandemic has also accelerated the use of long-overdue innovations. Some examples are digital order-and-pay, virtual tipping jars, and check-in apps. Restaurants have been offering gift cards and special discounts to encourage customers to use their platforms. It also saves time since customers can request reservations, check the menu, review the restaurant’s safety protocols, discover bestsellers, and submit customer reviews in one application.

AI-based technology also helped food establishes to manage workplace risks and food safety. From food manufacturing, production, and distribution, these processes involve various safety touchpoints by testing, monitoring, and predicting the health of employees. Through AI tools, health monitoring becomes easier while protecting the overall safety of the workplace.

Create a safe dining environment

As you apply these strategies, safety is still your biggest priority while the pandemic is still ongoing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a detailed safety guideline for food establishments on their website. Make it a habit to read updates and news within your area for up-to-date information on the latest COVID-19 safety protocols.

Clarify safety protocols to customers and ensure they will follow them while inside the restaurant. Be creative in your dining arrangements while ensuring safety without sacrificing the comfort of customers. Keep the expectations clear, even before they step inside the establishment. If you have an application, include the safety precautions so customers know what to expect once they arrive.

Also, continue to offer delivery and pickup services for those who aren’t comfortable dining in. You can also offer al fresco dining (outdoor dining) so customers have more dining options.

COVID-19 has hit hard and heavy, but like any crisis, there’s always an end to everything. Although things will pass and your business will pick up, it doesn’t mean things will return to the old normal. To survive in a competitive food market, you need to be adaptable and flexible whatever the current situation throws at you. With creativity and hard work, your business will survive and thrive even in the most uncertain circumstances.

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