New Normal for Restaurants?

Apr 29, 2020

With strict stay-at-home orders in effect and limited businesses open, carry out, and delivery are the only options permitted to foodservice operations. Now, as states begin to open their economy, restaurant owners are looking for ways to create a safe environment for their guests while adhering to recommendations by state and federal guidelines. There are many factors restaurants want to consider before reopening, including cleanliness and sanitation, to-go and delivery, social distancing, and updated menu options.

What we expect to see in the coming months:

Face coverings and gloves: All restaurant staff may be required to wear some type of face mask including, staff in the back of the house and the front of the house. All kitchen workers would be required to wear disposable gloves. Whether or not guests will have to wear one remains in question. Currently, San Francisco’s mayor has ordered restaurants to turn away customers who aren’t wearing a face covering.

Sneeze guards: Not only for use at buffet stations, sneeze guards, or acrylic barriers may also be seen at the checkout stand as an extra measure of precaution. Plexiglass situated between diners may not be too far-fetched, either.

Contactless payments: Say goodbye to cash (for now) and say hello to more contact-free payment options. This includes accepting payments by phone, online, or through a mobile app.

UV light: Standard cleaning procedures will be more stringent. Restaurant owners may invest in UV sterilizing cabinets for kitchen knives and other UV light technology to provide increased sanitation throughout the restaurant.

Limited occupancy: With the term “social distancing” now ingrained in all our minds, it will come as no surprise that restaurants will limit the number of people that enter at a time. States like Tennessee are mandating a restriction of 50% occupancy rate, and Texas is preparing to reopen restaurants at 25% capacity.

No physical menus: Laminated menus will no longer be available and will instead be replaced with single-use, disposable, paper menus to mitigate the spread of germs.

Updated menu options: Do not expect dine-in traffic to increase—customers will continue to expect to have take-out options that cater to their needs. Restaurants will need to update their menus options to include family-style meals.

Denying service: Guests may notice signage stating that they may not enter if they have a fever or feel ill. Temperature checks of guests may become standard practice.

The fact is, the outside world is going to look and feel a lot different than it did before, particularly at restaurants. If you would like more information on reopening your restaurant, please see our COVID-19 resources. Please note that Synergy is available for remote support at discounted rates during this time.