In the current state of the world, the Centers of Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) encourages us all to practice social distancing. But, what does this mean for your customers and your restaurant?
New regulations are in place and adjustments have to be made with your daily operations. Restaurant guidelines vary across the country. But, one thing remains the same, social distancing will limit the risk of spreading COVID-19. Follow your state guidance from the National Restaurant Association’s Coronavirus Information and Resources.
We’ve going to cover some practices for you to put in place and also stay within regulations. These will help you keep business running and keep your customers safe.
What is social distancing?
According to the CDC, social distancing is “…keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.” Health experts suggest limiting face-to-face contact with people. This acts as the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
To practice social distancing, stay at least six feet apart from one another and avoid crowded places and gatherings. Social distancing will help us flatten the curve and restore the restaurant industry.
A tip for social distancing, stay connected with your guests. It’s important to effectively communicate with your customers during this time for their support.
Here are five things you can do to make social distancing work in your restaurant:
1. Curbside Pickups
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, restaurants have shifted to curbside pickup. Curbside pickup is a safe way to pick up orders from restaurants.
The delivery staff has the option to wait in the car and the restaurant staff will run it out to them. This keeps everybody six feet apart and ensures social distancing.
To improve your curbside takeout efforts, get a restaurant management system that allows you to text guests on the spot. With CAKE’s Guest Manager, you are able to directly text your guests when their order is ready.
Alongside this, third-party delivery services then have the option for a no-contact delivery. With this method of delivery, you can drive business growth and increase your sales. Get set up with an online ordering solution today to support this.
2. No-contact Delivery
Stay home and order online. Many restaurants have begun to offer no-contact delivery. This is a practice that you can offer yourself or partner with a third-party delivery service.
If you are offering delivery yourself, don’t forget to ask the guests for their phone number. This way you can call or text them when their food has been dropped off.
Your guests can “opt-in” for a contact-free delivery with third-party services and you. Opting in to the system helps maintain social distancing and reduce contact between people.
Some services offer no-contact delivery no matter what, but, some don’t. If you’re looking to order in, simply change your delivery preferences to “non-contact” and then enjoy. This provides the employee and guest a safe delivery experience.
Here is information on some third-party delivery services resources for no-contact delivery:
3. Avoid Overstaffing
With social distancing in order, it’s important as management to do the best you can to put this in place with your staff as well as your guests.
Because of cutbacks, only work with who you need. Smart scheduling during this time can keep social distance in order. With less staff on, there’s less risk at hand. This allows you to keep more staff employed and business running.
It’s difficult during this time to keep all your staff happy. With the move to off-premise dining, consider offering your FOH staff a driving position for delivery.
Take precautions such as making sure your employees are healthy and want to work. Some people do not feel comfortable and would rather not be in a public setting. If this is the case, that allows you to give different employees more work time.
To learn how to handle employee’s scheduling during COVID-19, check out this blog post.
4. Protective Covering
Restaurant workers are essential workers. To continue services while practicing social distancing, they need to protect themselves.
Social distancing measures are harder to maintain during work with your staff. Ensure that all your staff has a cloth face covering while being at work at all times to reduce their risk. It’s also recommended that all workers wear gloves when handling any other people’s used items.
This will help stop the spread while customers are in your restaurant while ordering. A tip, have your guests wait outside while their order is being prepared and text them when it’s ready. This allows your staff to remain safe as you want to avoid gathering people inside.
For more information on how to wear a cloth face covering or make one, here is a CDC resource.
5. Measure It Out
Many restaurants are unable to offer methods of online ordering and no-contact delivery. But, if you must still allow patrons inside to order and pay, ask that they maintain social distancing.
Something that is being done in grocery stores and lots of public settings is markers on the ground to physically show six feet apart distance.
This is a practice that you can do at your POS system where your lines begin. The markers of six feet will protect your front line staff and guests.
Why it’s important
As simple as social distancing seems, it’s been very hard to follow. Restaurants are taking a major hit with the sudden shift and in order for on-premise dining to return, we all must practice social distancing.
It’s about doing the best that you can and being mindful of your surroundings. Something that complements social distancing is maintaining a clean restaurant and proper hygiene. To keep everybody safe, make sure you know how to properly sanitize your restaurant.
As more restaurants begin to practice social distancing, the more food safety restaurants can ensure. Curbside pickup, no-contact delivery, and healthy staff improve social distancing practices.
These are trying times and we all must do our best to reduce the spread. Let’s make social distancing a priority for your restaurant.