How to Re-Open Bars and Restaurants After the Pandemic
We’re over a year into the pandemic and a lot of uncertainty continues to plague several industries, including the hospitality industry. Like so many business places, restaurants and bars have had to open and close at a moment’s notice while the authorities try to figure out the next steps to combating the global health crisis. While there’s no real way of knowing when bars and restaurants can welcome people at full capacity again (or welcome people at all in some cases), you should always remain prepared.
This guide will help you foolproof your business as much as possible and ensure things are safe for you and your customers when the worst of COVID-19 has passed. Then, your big reopening can take place, putting your tip pooling software and tip sharing software to use!
Sanitize At Will
As has been preached and repeated since the pandemic started, keeping your areas sanitized regularly is a must so that your restaurant or bar and grill keeps everyone safe.
Clean and sanitize areas where lots of touching takes place as well as the hard-to-reach areas, so you’re not hit with any surprises (like insects!) coming out of crevices. Clean all point-of-sale equipment as well as countertops and anything in between. Constantly rinse and sanitize food prep items as well as shelving units before restocking items. Additionally, take time to disinfect the bathrooms while making them as friendly as possible to social distancing. A deep cleaning and subsequent cleaning schedule for you and your employees to follow will help you ensure all protocols are followed to a tee.
Encourage Contactless Procedures
Even after the pandemic has died down, contactless practices should be encouraged as this situation has introduced advancements that take the touchy-feely nature out of restaurant service. Keep the six-foot spacing between your customers, keep partitions in place so customers and staff can safely interact. Ensure customers use a different door to enter the restaurant/bar as well as exit.
Disposable paper menus and digital ordering can take away the hassle of using those big menus you’ve got to sift and meander through just to get to your favorite entree or beer. Then, at the end of each meal, promote contactless payment and take cash out of the equation. Tip management comes in handy here as you can present three or four tip percentage options to customers when they’re paying their bills, making a restaurant tip automatic or close to it. You can then perfect your tip management software, using tip pooling, tip sharing, or any tip allocation mechanism that’s welcoming to all your tipped employees. Your tip distribution software should work out how to calculate tips and can help you determine whether untipped employees can be part of the tip pool.
Even little things such as cutting out skin-on fruits like lime on a cocktail (who uses the lime anyway?) can also promote better health practices, so customers aren’t tempted to touch the glass other than for drinking.
Make Necessary Adjustments With Staff
Staff training in these times is vital so that you’re stressing cleanliness, safe interaction, and discouraging any nasty habits like touching the face or anywhere else while handling food. Enforce glove-wearing when necessary to prevent germ spread as well as frequent hand washing and using hand sanitisers. Use pre-temperature work screenings to ensure your staff is well. Discourage all staff members from working if not feeling 100%; they shouldn’t have been working while even the slightest bit sick pre-pandemic, they definitely shouldn’t now.
Staff that has been furloughed can be brought back. But if that isn’t possible, you can install a contactless hiring strategy to bring in new employees, including virtual interviews and onboarding.
Know Your State Restrictions
Local and regional restrictions continue to differ and evolve as this pandemic continues. Before reopening, it’s necessary to understand what these restrictions are regarding capacity, spacing, and so on. Reopening is gradually being staggered so states and counties will have more say in determining their own restrictions. Even as these restrictions are eased, keeping many of these distancing measures in place is wise for your business to keep thriving in a post-COVID climate.
Update Your Floor Plan and Technology
Automatic tip sharing solutions also allow you to meet spacing obligations, and it also ensures a more modernized environment to handle the effects of the pandemic. In your updated floor plan, you can eliminate tables that seat six or more people, utilize larger tables for private dining and use plexiglass partitions between booths. You should also upgrade your point-of-sale technology, moving from a legacy (or traditional) POS to a more modern version.
Another technology upgrade to consider is the use of reservations software to change seating arrangements and reduce the number of people waiting at the door. An online ordering system for guests to order takeout is another useful solution.
When you get the all-clear to have a full house again at your restaurant, these steps will keep you ahead of the game. Contact TipHaus today for your tip distribution and tip management solutions!