Steps for Reopening your restaurant - COVID19

Current Situation of Food Industry in Pakistan – Covid-19

Ever since COVID-19 started spreading in Pakistan, the government took measures to slow the spread. One of which included the closing of restaurants. Lately, with the relaxation in the lockdown, many restaurants have opened their doors for takeaway and delivery, but the dine ins are still closed.

But now, as the government is further deciding to ease the lockdown even more, reopening of the restaurants is also starting to happen.

Naturally, it is to be expected that everything is not going to be like before, as the world before COVID19 and after this pandemic are very different, so every restaurant owner needs a plan so that their business can run smoothly.

Everyone needs to keep a few things in mind, like:

1. Local restriction’s understanding
2. Adjustment of the staff
3. Food safety practices
4. Hygiene protocols
5. Physical distancing
6. Vendor communication
7. Use of technology
8. Customer Communication
9. Maintaining takeaway and delivery

Whether you want to reopen your restaurant for dine in right away, or want to take some time, the below information can help you alot.

Local restriction’s understanding

There is no one size fits all solution to understand the reopening procedures, as different provincial governments are taking their conditions into consideration while implementing the rules and regulations. For example, local restrictions for Punjab might be different as compared to Sindh and so on.

Capacity

Understand how much capacity of people is allowed inside the restaurant that can ensure social distancing as well.

Social distancing

As everyone knows well that they should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people at all times. It means that you may be required to rearrange your seating plan and floor plan. Make sure your staff also maintain physical distancing.

Other safety procedures

You might consider providing your guests with hand sanitizing stations and also make sure that the number of employees in the kitchen are not so much that physical distancing is impossible.

Adjustment of the staff

Reopening the restaurant means you’ll have to adjust the staff as well. You probably might have asked some of the staff to leave because of the less demand.

And here’s how it might not be as easy as just calling your old staff back. Some may have found other work and some may be unwilling to work right away. So be prepared to hire new employees if necessary.

Food safety practices

Food safety is a top priority concern. Food authority personnel’s might start making appearances even more than before. So it’s important to make sure that you prepare and serve the food in a safe environment.

  • Your dining rooms should be sanitized.
  • Make sure to ask the customers to unwrap the straws themselves.
  • You might also consider giving single use sachets of ketchup instead of the bottle of ketchup.
  • Silverware should be properly cleaned and wrapped.
  • Salad bars and buffets should be reconsidered.
  • Clean your entire facility.
  • Disinfect all surfaces.
  • Ensure all utensils are thoroughly cleaned.
  • All clothing should be properly washed.

Hygiene protocols

Ensure that the staff and customers understand the importance of personal hygiene. So they can protect themselves and those around them.

Consider following things:

  • Make sure that hand sanitizer is readily available.
  • Reusable menus should be sanitized properly.
  • Sanitize anything that a customer may have touched.
  • Clean and disinfect rooms many times every day.
  • Encourage the use of contactless payment options like debit cards, credit cards, online bank transfer or easypaisa.
  • Prohibit sick people to enter the restaurant.
  • Check employees for symptoms everyday.
  • Implement strict handwashing

Physical distancing

Physical distancing is the need of the hour, take some measures to ensure it.

  • Make sure your customers and employees are at least six feet apart.
  • Limit the number of persons on a table.
  • Apply barriers wherever applicable.
  • Discourage the waiting areas queue.
  • Display visible signs and audios to remind people of distancing.
  • Limit contact between customers and staff
  • Consider a reservation only business model
  • Limit the number of employees in break rooms and restrooms.

Vendor communication

Your fridges might have gone empty during the pandemic, so you would need to contact your vendors for restocking. You should start restocking in advance and not wait until the last minute.

Use of Technology

With the advancement of technology, businesses can be managed even better,

  • Having a POS system might be your best choice
  • Any reservations software can come in handy
  • An online ordering system can help with managing the ordering demands

Customer Communication

Communicating with your customers is the key. You can use many ways to do so, you can use the following means:

  • Maintaining a proper website addressing latest news
  • Sending emails to your subscribers
  • Using the help of social media
  • Make sure your menu and pricing is updated on all 3rd party platforms like foodpanda, eatmubarik, cheetay etc.

Maintaining takeaway and delivery

Many consumers might be more comfortable with takeaway and ordering food for delivery rather than dining in. Restaurants need to prepare for more take away and delivery demands than ever before.

Although it may be tempting to go back to the previous ways as soon as possible, never forget to keep everyone’s safety as first priority.

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