Restaurants are slowly making a comeback in. For many restaurateurs there’s probably the struggle between it feeling a little too slow and fast all at once. Practically overnight restaurants have had to completely change how they accommodate customers dining in.
New protocols include maintaining 6 feet between patrons who are not from the same family or group, enhanced sanitation measures, face coverings for employees and customers, and offering a range of online ordering and delivery options.
eHungry has you covered when it comes to getting set up on an online ordering system, but have you started to think about how you’ll accommodate customers in this new world when they choose to dine in?
Current studies show that by following social distancing and wearing a face covering we can significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a restaurant owner you want to do your part.
Here are some creative ways you can invite customers in for a safe and enjoyable dining experience.
Add Mannequins or Cardboard Cutouts to Block Seating
This is so much more inviting than a big X over a seating area and allows you to have some fun. One restaurant in Thailand created cardboard dragons that it sat at each seat they did not want people sitting at. Another restaurant in Japan used giant stuffed animals. And a restaurant in Virginia added mannequins to tables they weren’t allowing people to sit at, so the restaurant didn’t feel so empty. It offers a lighthearted way to say, “sorry, not right now”.
Use Shower Curtains to Separate Tables
Clear shower curtains can be placed between tables to provide a barrier between patrons, while not distracting from the environment too much. We get it. Shower curtains aren’t what you had in mind when you first opened your little cafe or bistro. But this is a small sacrifice to your environment that will keep patrons safe and allow you to still operate. Plus you can find some fun and creative shower curtains online or you can always go with the standard clear ones.
Offer Silly Hats
When it comes to using ridiculous hats to encourage social distancing, Germany takes the cake. Burger King in Germany debuted 6 foot wide crowns to encourage social distancing and a small cafe offered patrons sitting on the patio pool noodle hats to encourage a smile and the proper spacing between everyone. Of course, this might not go over well if you’re a fine dining restaurant.
Create a Plexiglass Barrier
Plexiglass is an affordable, quick way to erect a barrier. Most grocery stores have put up plexiglass barriers in an attempt to keep workers and shoppers safe. Restaurants can do the same thing by placing a barrier between tables.
Plexiglass can be used to create individual dining pods for restaurants that cater to the lunch crowd or individual diners.
Offer customers the chance to dine without having to touch anything to pay or get reservations. The fewer touchpoints the better. That means that if your payment, service, and delivery methods are all minimally touched, you’re helping to slow the spread and showing patrons you care.