Photo by Wineemotion USA
Over the last several months, restaurant owners have been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenues have decreased by nearly 30 percent, and many are struggling just to stay afloat.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. The country is starting to reopen. As a result, many restaurants are scrambling to figure out how they can welcome customers back while still keeping them and their employees safe.
There are plenty of effective strategies restaurant owners may want to consider implementing to help with this transition. Read on for some tips on what restaurants can do to prepare for a new normal.
By automating certain processes, restaurant owners can minimize the risk of contamination. They can also provide customers with a unique, one-of-a-kind experience.
Automating processes like bussing tables, for example, or even plating food, can create a more hygienic environment and speed up service in a major way. Another important process to consider automating is the process of dispensing wine.
By using a commercial wine dispenser like Wineemotion, restaurant owners can limit contact between their wine and their staff when serving wine bottles by the glass. Self-serve wine card technology also allows for easier social distancing and helps to limit person-to-person contact.
As an added bonus, a wine cooler/wine dispenser combination can also act as a wine preservation system. This commercial food service equipment can keep wine fresh for up to 30 days. Thus providing a significant payoff to restaurant owners looking to reduce waste and maximize profits to come back stronger than ever before.
Pre-COVID-19, lots of restaurants offered takeout options. Now, more are offering this service than ever before, though.
Some restaurants might be able to reopen their dining rooms now (or will be able to in the near future). That doesn’t mean they should shut down their takeout options, though.
Takeout provides a safe alternative. It allows folks to enjoy a restaurant’s food without potentially putting themselves at risk by sitting in the dining room.
Takeout also provides an additional revenue stream for the restaurants. By offering it, restaurants can accommodate more customers. Smaller operations can also stay open all day instead of closing down in between lunch and dinner to try and reduce costs.
By creating a dedicated takeout area, restaurants can streamline the takeout process. They can ensure that folks coming in to pick up their food, as well as delivery drivers, can easily access their orders while minimizing contact with additional people.
All restaurants can benefit from offering takeout options. This includes fine-dining restaurants.
Even in a post-COVID-19 world, the demand for takeout is likely to increase. Restaurants that are able to meet this demand will experience more success than those that cannot or choose not to.
Restaurants may want to consider some cosmetic changes move forward. This allows them to preserve the fine-dining experience. However, they can also still accommodate those looking for a takeout option.
Adjusting their layout can create a sense of separation between the takeout area and the dining room. Moveable partitions can help to separate these areas are more cost-effective for those who cannot afford hefty construction costs.
Staying at least six feet away from others when out in public has quickly become the new norm. The desire for more personal space is likely to linger for a long time (if not permanently), too.
As restaurants start reopening their dining rooms, it’ll be in their best interest to create more space between tables. That way, people can enjoy a meal out without having to worry about getting too close to others.
Separating tables so they’re at least six feet apart can be a useful technique for helping restaurant patrons to feel more secure. Utilizing outdoor seating when possible can help to put people at ease, too. It also makes it easier to practice social distancing.
Restaurant owners may also want to consider the use of partitions and barriers between tables. In some small restaurants, this might be easier than trying to separate tables. It still provides a certain amount of protection, though.
Prior to the pandemic, there was a steady increase throughout the country in digital ordering and food delivery. In response to this trend, ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants quickly became popular fixtures.
Ghost kitchens are physical facilities that virtual brands can rent out to produce a food product. Virtual restaurants, on the other hand, are not rented from third-party companies. They are instead owned by brands and are used exclusively to produce items for delivery.
These systems have been useful to businesses that want to reduce costs while still meeting consumer demands. Their popularity will probably increase in the wake of COVID-19, too.
Switching to a ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant model will help restaurant owners to save on expenses. They can minimize overhead since they won’t have to worry about all the upkeep involved in maintaining a dining room. It’s not a viable option for every restaurant, of course, but it’s worth considering.
Some restaurants have also managed to stay afloat during this difficult time by appealing to folks who are staying safe at home and want to learn how to prepare their own food.
Restaurant owners and chefs have found lots of new ways to connect with their customers. They can feed them even when they’re not able to actually make it into the dining room by offering meal kits available via delivery and curbside pick-up. Many chefs are also providing online cooking demonstrations.
By continuing with these practices even after their dining rooms are open, restaurants can create additional revenue streams. They can also enjoy increased financial security.
Changes in restaurant decor can be helpful, too. Restaurants that feature simple, clean aesthetics and minimalistic decorations will be more appealing to a lot of consumers as they venture out of their homes and begin dining out more frequently.
Without a lot of clutter, restaurants may appear more hygienic. This, in turn, can assuage customers’ fears about exposure to germs and infections. There’s a good chance that we will see an increase in the use of materials that are easy to wipe down and sanitize as well.
In addition to changing the materials used in decorating and furnishing their dining rooms, restaurants can also benefit from changing the materials they use in their kitchen.
By incorporating kitchen tools known to be more hygienic, restaurants can put consumers at ease and let them know that they’re taking safety seriously. One way to do this is by switching to copper pots and pans instead of stainless steel.
Restaurants will need to be more diligent about kitchen clean-up, too, as they transition to a new normal. Prioritizing clean-up more than before will be beneficial. The same is true of increased transparency with regard to their specific cleaning and sanitizing practices.
As you can see, there are lots of ways that restaurant owners can adjust so that their customers feel comfortable dining out again.
By implementing these strategies, restaurants can confidently open their doors and keep them open. They can also do this while providing a safe experience that helps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (as well as other viruses and infections).
Of all the recommendations outlined above, automation is one of the most beneficial. This is especially true when it comes to wine dispensing. If you want to learn more about Wineemotion dispensing systems for your restaurant, contact us today to request a quote.