Indoor Dining Returns: Is Your Restaurant Ready?

After more than a year, indoor dining is coming back. As more vaccinations roll out across the United States and life finally edges toward normal, restaurants are excited to return in full force.

However, this transition won’t be quick. We’ve tried rapid reopening and closures before, last summer, and it cost the industry steeply. The road to recovery will involve adaption for the return of indoor dining.

Rearrange the Indoor Dining Space

Customers will expect restaurants to respect social distance and other COVID-19 regulations long into the future. Thus you’ll need to physically rearrange the space to accommodate six feet of distance while still maximizing the floor. That’s why having a Point of Sale capable of managing the service floor helps; design it all on screen first and develop a new layout complete with designated sections and seats.

Throughout the pandemic, you may have kept open patio seating. Unlike any outdoor tables you may have, indoor dining takes different work. For example, what ventilation systems do you have installed? You may need to rethink how you air out or heat up the inside space to make sure it won’t cause more risk for COVID-19. Additionally, if your waiting areas are set up inside, then change where or how people queue. Outdoor waiting spaces and text notifications can help maintain social distance.

Think about not just where, but how you’ll reopen indoor dining. Give customers and staff a safer experience.

Create New Habits

Change rarely sets in all at once. More likely, you’ll have to ease customers, employees and yourself into these new ways of doing things. Establish restaurant systems that make sense and clearly lay out your expectations from the start. This way, anyone can reference the new guidelines when they come up against any confusion.

Incorporate these new habits into training as you hire back some of the furloughed workers who got laid off at the start of the pandemic. Maybe you’re moving seats from outside back in, or planning to apply a lot more time to takeout channels. Put all of this into orientation so that your employees know exactly what to expect when they return to work.

Throughout all this, communication remains key. If you’re unsure about any new policies, or just want their input as the face of the company, ask your staff directly. They know their own needs best.

Prepare for Indoor Dining

As you restart indoor dining, remember that the restaurant industry is opening into a different world than the one it left behind. Understanding and open communication will drive your business to new heights. Giving your staff PTO and sick leave, for example, leaves time to get vaccines or recover from the virus. Not only does this improve your overall operations, but contended employees work harder. If they feel valued, they’ll put more effort into their time with you.

In the meantime, stay flexible. As you reorganize the service floor, maybe your back office is currently used to pack takeout or your dining space has given way to the queue. Thinking on your feet and adapting to the day’s new needs is crucial, as the pandemic continues to surprise us and new guidelines, recommendations and data comes out about the virus every day.

Overall, remember that COVID-19 isn’t over yet. Outbreaks can still happen. Rather than having to close again, take reopening slowly and carefully. The new normal is still a ways away.

The Future of Food Service

As your restaurant gets back to normal, you’ll want to streamline your operations as much as possible. Smart restaurants rely on a modern Point of Sale.

eatOS offers an all-in-one cloud-based eco-system exclusively for restaurants. From Point of Sale to Contactless Ordering, Pay & Order at Table, Kitchen Display System, Customer Facing Display, Online Ordering APP / Website and Workforce Management there is everything to help a restaurant succeed no matter the size. Click Here to Schedule a demo to learn more about how your restaurant can make a smooth transition into the world of restaurant technology made simple.

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