Reopening a Restaurant in 2021
After over a year, restaurants finally look forward to reopening back up for good. Despite continuing safety regulations, you can still build a strong business while paying attention to the procedures that get the world back to “normal”.
Restaurants that pay attention to customer preferences and streamline their business to prioritize profitable sales channels will move forward faster. If last summer is any indication, reopening will be a long, tricky road fraught with close calls, temporary closures and more scares. When you err on the side of caution, you create a stronger foundation on which to rebuild your business.
1. Digitize in Response to Limited Capacity
Restrictions on who can visit your restaurant and when naturally limit profit. This year, we’ve witnessed online ordering grow far past what we could have foreseen before. From delivery to takeout, optimize your online channels as they will continue to play a role in customer service moving forward. For example, curbside service has gotten popular because it eliminates contact and guests don’t have to pay delivery fees.
Smart technology automates time-consuming tasks so your workers can focus on providing a great customer experience. It also reduces your labor cost long-term. Especially given that profits will remain thinner than usual while waiting for capacities to go back to 100%, digital channels could save your business.
2. Build Precautions into Your Reopening
Expect people’s fears about infection to linger. Rather than opening your restaurant as it was before all of this, and then adapting for social distance anyway, build contact-free service into operations as you’re preparing the restaurant to return to full service. This will save you time later on.
Once you’re back up and running, don’t slack on sanitation and safety precautions. Deep cleaning before reopening and then continuing to do so on a regular basis will help guard your store from another outbreak.
3. Bring Self-Service to Dine-In
Self-ordering is one trend that’s expected to last after the pandemic ends. How will you integrate it into your sit-down service?
QR codes let customers scan with their smartphones to pull up a digital menu. They can order and pay from the convenience of their own screens.
As long as you have a procedure for sanitizing between uses or on a regular schedule, Self-Service Kiosks increase average ticket size and cut lines way down.
Even payments are now contact-free when you sign up with eatOS. Whether guests want to use their mobile wallets or rely on near-field communication, they can complete transactions on their own time with whatever payment method they like best.
However you choose to incorporate it, there are plenty of ways to get on the self-service trend while reprioritizing your dine-in seating.
4. Focus on the Customer Experience
No matter what else goes on in the world, this is always the key to a strong business. Show that you appreciate continued patronage through this tough past year. Personalize orders with little details, like thank-you notes in the takeout bags. Auto-modifications on your self-service platforms also help guests create the perfect meal while their online profiles automatically apply loyalty points. All of this builds a more convenient and customized guest experience.
5. Advertise Reopening on Social Media
This is always a great final step whenever you make big changes. Spread your message with clarity and consistency so as many of your customers see the news as possible. As we shift back to normalcy, restaurants’ expectations will vary by city and ownership. Lay out your COVID-19 policies before guests come in so they’re ready to follow your lead.
The closer we get to reopening the service industry back to normal, the more restaurants will find that the market relies on features they got to know during the pandemic like self-service and contact-free ordering.