Will COVID-19 Lead to Any Long-Term Changes in Restaurants?


The situation with Coronavirus/COVID-19 is changing rapidly. The restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit. It’s not hard to understand why. People linger in close quarters in restaurants for extended periods, so it’s not ideal for social distancing. But diners enjoy eating out, and restaurant employees need to work.

What Changes is Coronavirus Likely to Bring to Restaurants?

There will be more pickup and delivery. Restaurants that already offer this option are well-prepared to take on this challenge. If pickup and delivery haven’t been part of your business model, it’s time to ramp up fast. In some states and cities, it will be the only restaurant option for a while. And when this is all over, there will be people eager to get back out who will return to dine-in after having enjoyed your meals at home. Others will remain afraid of going out for a while and stay sequestered for longer than needed. Or they might find they enjoy your food in the comfort of their own homes.

How Can You Prepare for on-the-Go Meals?

Decide which of your meals travel the best. Be flexible because there may be a shortage of ingredients. You are likely to have a lot of idle waitstaff on your hands. Put them to work in your kitchen, at the pickup counter, or making deliveries. They might not be earning as much as they are accustomed to, but it’s better than having no income at all.

How Can Restaurants Help Prevent the Spread of Illness?

The Coronavirus pandemic will eventually pass, but its rapid spread has opened our eyes to how easy it is to spread contagious illnesses, from the flu to colds, which can be lethal to immunocompromised individuals. Consumers may be more aware of the risk of infection, both during and after this crisis.

For restaurants to succeed in this new environment, they must keep diners safe and increase consumer confidence.

Consider These Tips:

Social distancing. Restaurants may need to rethink maximum capacity and how seating is arranged to prevent the spread of illness.

Enhanced cleaning. Most restaurant employees are aware of the need for cleanliness in the front and back of the house, both for safe preparation of food and to keep the premises appealing. Still, they may need to take it up another level to ensure it’s genuinely disinfected as well as surface clean.

Sick days. It can be tough for restaurant employees to take time off when they are ill, but the Coronavirus has revealed just how dangerous a “just power through it” attitude can be. Restaurant owners and managers may need to revise their policies.

This crisis will eventually be behind us, and the restaurant industry will go back to business as usual, but now with the added benefit of what we have learned. Restaurants who embrace the lessons learned and can adapt are the ones who will thrive.

Recruit Leaders Who Can Stay Calm in Crisis

When you’re searching for top talent for your restaurant executive and management team, contact the restaurant recruiting experts at Horizon Hospitality today.



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