Restaurants: Thoughts on restrictive re-opening

Hospitality businesses have been hit so hard by Covid-19 shut-downs that planning for a positive future can, for some, seem a generation away. Although we are starting to see some tiny green shoots emerging across the world, any permitted re-openings are likely to come with a host of restrictions.

At Xenowledge, we believe in turning challenges into opportunities. We have put together five areas for restaurant owners to think about now, so they can be operationally ready to go when given the green light to begin restricted trading.

  1. Capacity
    This is the big one. It appears likely that restaurants will be allowed to open but with reduced in-house capacity, meaning that while the prospect of revenues will start to reappear, F&B businesses may ask the question “why bother opening?”
    We think there is an opportunity to develop new sales channels which align with the business’s brand, operational capacity and business plans. And we’re not talking about five star restaurants shifting to take-away pizza.
  2. Distancing
    Table plans may need to conform to local and national regulations plus, of course, satisfy the expectations of returning but potentially nervous guests. Ad-hoc table planning won’t be an option, so a fool-proof way of ensuring distancing compliance will be essential while maintaining operational flexibility.
  3. Session duration
    We’re likely to see the need to limit session duration, to ensure diners and their groups do not over-stay, causing convergence of sessions and contravention of distancing measures. Strong management and effect systems will need to be in place to ensure compliance while maintaining the goodwill of diners.
  4. Booking
    Gastronomy-starved diners will want to return to their favourite restaurants and that’s great. However, and somewhat ironically, restaurants will need to carefully manage bookings to make sure in-house capacity is not exceeded and legislation contravened. Double bookings, excessively large groups, walk-ins and lines of people waiting outside could be an operational and PR disaster.
  5. Auditability
    Businesses and individuals world-wide have very quickly accepted the need for enhanced checks, recording of behaviour and proof of compliance – that’s the world in which we now live. Upon limited re-opening, responsible restaurant owners will want to demonstrate that their record keeping is the best, bar none.
    Restaurant owners should think about the compliance data they record, how they collect it, and how it is stored. Naturally it should be quickly retrievable in response to ad-hoc checks. Restaurants with robust systems will be ideally placed to meet and exceed the standards required for any accreditation, should it be mandated by local and national authorities.

Wrapping Up
When the time comes for restaurants to re-open their doors, they will need the best systems in place to manage any extraordinary (and hopefully temporary) restrictions. Now is the time for those businesses to think carefully about embedding processes, tools and behaviours which ready them for a new future.

At Xenowledge, we have some very exciting news for responsible restaurant owners seeking the best re-opening tools. Check back to our blog soon to find out more.

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