How Can Restaurants & Bars Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Restaurants, especially independent ones, have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s because social distancing orders catapulted the food and beverage sector into an unprecedented crisis. By mid-March, mandated dine-in closures affected over 97% of US restaurants. Luckily, food and beverage establishments are now open, including restaurants and bars.

 The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the travel and hospitality sector. Consequently, restaurants and bars may consider implementing several strategies to survive the pandemic.

 Outdoor Seating

 Many studies have shown that poor ventilation and low airflow can increase the spread of COVID-19. As a result, indoor dining has been banned or limited in many cities. This presents a great challenge to restaurants and bars. The lowest-risk restaurant dining experience is outdoor seating, considering that dining rooms will likely open at a reduced capacity.

 The ability to offer outdoor dining is heavily reliant on space flexibility. That’s why some cities are dedicating full streets and sidewalks to enable extended outdoor restaurant seating. Others are allowing restaurants in adjacent parking lots without having to apply for permits.

 Staff to Wear Masks

 Restaurants should require employees to wear masks. They are also obliged to offer hand gel to their customers and repeatedly disinfect the premises. Additionally, customers must now wear face masks in pubs and restaurants.

 Customers must follow this rule when food and beverages are brought to the table. Finally, restaurants should carry out a thorough cleaning of their food premises before re-starting operations.

 Two-Metre social distancing

 In the wake of the pandemic, restaurants and bars have had to adapt to new social-distancing policies. Two-metre social distancing means restaurants can operate at a capacity level of 70%. In many places, a maximum of three guests are allowed to sit at one table. In addition, tables must be spaced 6 feet apart or be separated by barriers.

 Keeping disease prevention in mind, restaurants and bars are getting creative and have come up with ways to make money while keeping customers safe. For instance, some are seating guests at larger tables and closer to a wall or away from the center.

 Drive-through

 Many restaurants and bars have closed their in-person seating and are only offering drive-thru options. Drive-throughs have been a staple of fast-food revenue for decades.  Fortunately, most consumers would still consider getting food from the drive-thru. Some are treating drive-throughs like grocery stores, making only occasional trips but placing larger orders. 

 However, drive-thrus are terrible for pedestrians, congestion, and more. That’s why location technology is being used to improve the operation of drive-thru lanes. In order to minimize the risk of hacking through location technology, restaurants and bars are using identity theft protection software. Those businesses that are slow are still trying to figure out how does LifeLock work as well as the difference between Lock vs Zander.

 Delivery

 The spread of Covid-19 has seen many people choose to eat at home or in the office. These people are afraid of being infected with COVID-19 through food. However, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread by food. Be that as it may, restaurants can cater to these customers by implementing additional changes such as offering home and office food delivery.

 Online food delivery was already having a huge impact on the dine-in restaurant business before the outbreak of COVID-19. But the pandemic has increased the popularity of food delivery. As a result, many restaurants are implementing aggressive online campaigns to combat the anticipated spike in hotel cancellations and decline in walk-ins.

 Restaurants and bars are partnering with delivery companies to deliver food to homes and offices. Others are offering discounts to customers who use the home delivery service. However, restaurants must comply with all the food safety requirements.

 Curb-side Pick Up

 A creative way bars and restaurants can stay open while keeping people safe is by offering curbside pickup for orders. Curbside pickup works a lot like home delivery. Orders are placed by phone or online, packaged up, and set outside for pickup. This allows customers to keep a safe distance from the restaurant staff and other delivery partners at pick up. Once a customer arrives, he or she will inform the restaurant and will bring out the carryout order. However, curbside prices may be higher than walk-in restaurants to cover the cost of personal shopping.

 Curbside delivery is transforming from a popular perk to a public health necessity. As a result, any new innovations have been added to this system. Curbside technology is enabled by SMS text technology, two-way radios, FlorLink, and beacons. Outside of the larger restaurants, uptake of this new option by smaller businesses has been gradual.

 Final Take

 The COVID-19 pandemic continues to destroy many business.  As a restaurant or bar owner, you should take this time to learn and grow.

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