Restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest-hit establishments in this global pandemic. Most of these businesses are not designed to be able to function for any amount of time without any new patrons. Even a slow couple nights could spell disaster for many restaurants due to the heavy planning and forecasting that must be done as far as perishable food ordering and prep.
As various communities begin to open back up, the businesses that are clamoring most for this opportunity are restaurants… so that they can finally get a breath of fresh air from their drowning rent payments. But how will restaurants face the new regulations and difficulties of operating safely and under the strict guidelines set forth by each individual state? I have a few suggestions because I know you were dying to know what I think…
- Placeholder Guests: There are some restaurants all around the world that have already started to adopt this practice but one of the main attractions of a restaurant is the atmosphere and the crowd around you. There is a feeling of excitement from being around others, so if the restaurant must only be at 50% capacity, fill the rest of the tables with something! Some have used large stuffed animals, some have used funny masks on stands, the world is your oyster. Maybe even pump in some sound of people chatting. The environment is everything, and a funny solution to empty tables could be your new thing!
- Enhanced Outdoor Seating: Being outdoors in a well-ventilated area automatically decreases your chances of catching COVID so many restaurants are resorting to a more robust outdoor seating situation. If you are a cafe and offer WiFi and are having trouble getting the signal all the way out there, try a WiFi Hotspot like Solis X. Of course, this might not be so easy in colder climates, but in warmer climates, this HAS to be considered.
- More Server Training: The job of the restaurant server has changed immensely. What used to be a career of almost a performative nature has become almost drone-like. Servers used to have attitude and personality, now the masks and visors, and protective equipment have completely depleted the serving staff of their biggest asset. Not only do servers need some time to adjust and understand this new reality of their job, but also they need to be trained in de-escalation because there is no doubt that people will cause a scene in these heightened times, and being able to handle that appropriately is not standard issue.
- Change In Take-Out Protocol: At least for the time being, take out is the new king. We’ve all read those articles about how companies like GrubHub and Postmates are killing restaurants with their fees and prices, so restaurants, in order to survive will have to make their take out solution SO SIMPLE that it’s almost preferable to using one of those apps. How? Great question! If I knew that, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post, but sailing socially distant on my yacht… but someone will figure that out and make it easy for restaurants to take back their domain over their take out orders.
When there is a great change, there can be a great discovery. Although it may be insensitive, because I know it’s not this simple, I think the restaurants that survive will foster new ideas and rules that will be adopted by a whole new crop of restaurants, perhaps even those that closed and have the opportunity to reopen, and we will be better off for it.