Restaurants and other food businesses have always adapted to the ever-evolving demands and needs of customers. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has made that incredibly difficult in recent times. More than adaptability, restauranteurs now have to get creative with how they can operate in a Covid-19 stricken landscape or risk falling into closure.
These are some of the consequences of the new-normal lifestyle that can affect the food and dining industry. Because of the current issues, every restauranteur should consider these situations.
Safety and sanitation are bound to be on top of any customer’s priority list when dining outside in the new normal. Try to make it easier for customers to feel safe whenever they eat at your restaurant by providing them with the necessary sanitation tools. The service gives people peace of mind when they dine out at your restaurant.
Having a station at the front door with disinfectants and sanitizers at the ready would greatly appeal to many customers. It gives them the impression that you value their health and the cleanliness of your restaurant.
Safety Protocols and Implementation
Educating your staff about local and state health guidelines prepares them for any potential COVID-related issue that may arise during these uncertain times. It helps serve as another layer of protection for your business and employees, as well as your customers.
Visibly applying these recommendations helps customers recognize that your restaurant takes all the necessary precautions to operate safely in the new normal. It gives them the confidence to freely dine without fear so that they spend more time enjoying their meals rather than worrying.
The CDC has outlined that the outdoors is the safer location for any gathering or activity. It’s because exposure to COVID-19 is less likely in outdoor settings. With that said, these recommendations will define the dining experience in the new normal. It is in your best interest to incorporate outdoor dining in your restaurants so that you don’t fall behind.
The good thing about outdoor dining is not only the fact it’s safe, but it also provides you additional seating capacity, which helps maximize your restaurant space.
Outdoor dining spaces usually end up directly at the storefront of the restaurant. You can take advantage of this fact by adding aesthetically pleasing and functional outdoor dining spaces. They’re a practical investment that gives shade to customers while adding personality to your restaurant. Retractable awnings for commercial establishments can also mitigate a lot of heat when fully utilized. Retracting them allows restaurants to take advantage of the sun’s warmth during cold weather.
Contactless Payment and Virtual Menus
Eliminating steps where customers have to participate in face-to-face interaction wherever applicable is beneficial in the restaurant. It helps limit both your employee’s and customer’s risks of exposure to COVID-19.
You can start by providing contactless ordering and payment to your customers. It removes any handling of bills and coins, which can be potential objects that the virus can stick to and linger. Additionally, it would be wise to generate a QR code that directs to your virtual menu.
While these additions alone already eliminate several of the typical face-to-face interactions present in the industry pre-COVID-19, it is still wise to identify other parts of the restaurant process that can either be digitized or automated. That information can potentially help the restaurant achieve a fully contactless dining experience.
Curbside Pickup and Delivery
Giving customers the option to order food in advance for takeaways or delivery shows that you want to serve them good food in any way possible. Most customers are starting to prefer curbside pickup in the new normal to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Through this, they can still order and eat your delicious food without leaving the safety of their car. Furthermore, having delivery options available for them takes their safety up a notch. They can easily order from your restaurant in the comfort of their own homes.
Another delivery solution to consider is partnering with existing food delivery apps. Establishing a partnership with them gives you access to their user base, which can only help increase the number of potential new customers and the daily order volume of your restaurant.
It’s become clear to see that customers are now prioritizing their safety when dining out. Part of their decision-making in choosing where to eat now involves how seriously a restaurant takes its safety and sanitation efforts. Additionally, contactless payments are rapidly becoming the preferred way to pay. Factoring in these trends in your efforts to stay afloat would greatly help your restaurant thrive in the new normal. It might be an unfamiliar environment, but it is a necessity to ensure customer health and safety.