As lockdowns and quarantines are eased in many parts of the country and the world, businesses are hoping to bounce from the losses of recent months. But this also means adapting to new ways of delivering their service with the coronavirus remaining a health risk.
The so-called new normal is evident in how restaurants are operating, especially for dine-in setups. Here are some ways restaurants are coping and changing their protocols in the hope of surviving the crisis and staying alive well beyond that.
Social distancing means staying at least three feet away from one another. In a dine-in restaurant, this means there will be appropriate spaces between customers, and some tables will remain unoccupied. Owners are expecting reduced capacity and rethinking their layout.
The place must have enough space to move around to avoid customers touching each other. Even the menus might not be printed out and instead sent to the diners’ mobile. Or an alternative is providing a disposable menu, but this can add to the cost.
Adding See-thru Barriers
It’s easy enough to keep a distance if it’s a solo diner, but most likely people will come in twos or a small group. Restaurants around the world came up with installing translucent barriers between patrons, like plexiglass or plastic curtains. Customers can still enjoy the company without touching and safely engage in conversations.
These barriers are also placed in bars and cashiers. Some, however, fear that the barriers can ruin the ambiance that will keep people out of dining rooms.
Masked Staff and Waiters
Staff and waiters wearing gloves, masks, and additional like carrying hand sanitizers all the time protection will become a common sight in diners. In addition, the kitchen staff might also need to wear PPEs to ensure the food’s safety and their own.
Pay-at-the-table can also be implemented so diners won’t need to hand their credit cards to the waiter. Contactless and cashless payments eliminate a multi-step way of paying and will limit the staff’s exposure between money and food, helping keep the restaurant clean and hygienic.
Dedicated Take-out Area
Restaurants that weren’t offering takeout might now have to consider it. Takeout and deliveries have been keeping many diners and food shops during lockdowns, and it’s not likely to change soon. Even some catering companies are rethinking their business by offering food delivery or partnering with local governments to provide food to those who need it.
But to do this, there must be a dedicated staging area to prepare the food and a takeout window where people can wait for their orders. As restaurants cannot operate on full capacity, offering takeout is a smart idea for the long term.
Some places, meanwhile, are considering closing streets to traffic so cafes and restaurants can set up outdoor dining. This will allow them to still operate on capacity while observing proper social distancing. It will not only help the business owners but also boost the local economy.
Our love for good food and good company will not go away, but new health protocols and looming risks are threatening to change that. In this new normal, people and businesses have no choice but to adapt until things go back to that way they were.