Making your guests feel safe and welcome

Think individual dividers to create booths, or even devising a one-way system

Safety is paramount to a successful re-opening. By following a few basic steps, you can ensure your customers are confident to return to your venue. For example, making sure hand sanitiser is easily accessible for customers and staff from the moment they first walk in and around the venue will help to make a huge difference. Also, consider placing signage and reminders throughout the venue to prompt both staff and customers to regularly use hand sanitiser and comply with social distancing guidelines. Both staff and customers will undoubtedly understand and appreciate a renewed emphasis on good hygiene standards.

Getting your inside capacity right

When customers are permitted to dine inside again from 17th May, you will need to consider methods to help your venue continue to comply with social distancing methods. Think individual dividers to create booths, or devising a one-way system for your outlet with a separate entry and exit.

Shout about it

Having spent so long at home, people want to socialise again, but safely. Therefore, it’s important to get the word out about your re-opening plans to as many potential guests as possible. We would advise a mixture of both high and low-tech solutions to make this happen. Consider ordering banners and new outdoor signage to help advertise that you are looking to welcome customers back inside soon. If in a workplace, is there an atrium or other parts of the client office where you can advertise your offer and reopening message.

Look to use your social media channels (or create some if you haven’t already). Social media is a free marketing tool that you can easily take advantage of and reach the vast majority of your audience. In addition to the primary re-opening message, incorporate health and safety cues into any external communication to bolster confidence that your outlet is a safe place to enjoy food and drink.

Planning for success

Guests will be looking to get back to as near to normal as possible, and that includes a social experience of sharing a meal with their colleagues, friends and fellow students. You may need to limit capacity to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to, so introducing a booking system will help you plan for success and manage covers. Although the old method of pen and paper would work, it would be advisable to consider upgrading any booking system/s to an electronic one. A good electronic booking service can help staff manage customer numbers and work with reduced capacity to the best possible effect. In addition, it can also help you to manage your team’s numbers to ensure you are using your staff efficiently.

Social distancing

We can’t get away from it just yet, there remains a need to keep people at a safe distance particularly while queuing in your outlet. To help facilitate this, you may need to reorganise your outlet to allow multiple queues in order to keep people apart and ensure you are being as efficient in service as possible. Think about how you can make your offer visible to multiple queues.

  • Additional soft drinks chillers to duplicate your offer so they can be accessed on impulse via multiple queues
  • Menu boards for both food and soft drinks are a great way for guests to see what’s on offer if they cannot see your display/fridge – place these near the queue so guests can take a look while they line up
  • Reduce the amount of touchpoints and think about the balance of self/operator served offerings and pre-packed solutions that make guests feel more confident

A staggered approach

To make the most of your space, particularly if you are a small outlet, you may want to think about extending your opening hours, especially for ambient food, or stagger mealtimes so that you are not inundated at any one time.

Want more advice about re-opening?

Read the next tip for re-opening this spring: Engaging your guests to drive sales to pre-Covid levels

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