Reopening to Sit-Down Diners?

5 Things To Think About Before You Seat Anyone

It has been a quiet couple of months for foodservice businesses like cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars, with self-isolation and distancing restrictions forcing venues to temporarily close, at least to sit down diners. But now the Federal Government has announced its roadmap to reopening, the hospitality industry, one of the sectors to be hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, can begin to make plans for the return of customers and the recovery of the industry.

Most states have adopted a limit on sit down diners, which means it won’t be as simple as telling everyone to come back. Whether it’s 10 or 50 people allowed at a time, you’d be wise to carefully consider your approach. So here’s a few things to consider when reopening and ways to encourage sit-down diners again.

Know your limits

Each state has set their own restrictions on how many people you can sit at a time, what you’re allowed to offer and for how long they can stay per visit. Understanding the maximum number of customers you can have at any time is essential. Not only is this important for protecting your business from fines and penalties, but more importantly it protects your reputation with the customer. Don’t underestimate the importance of your compliance from their perspective.

What’s on the menu chef?

You have likely changed the menu a few times over the last couple of months, but you should be getting used to these revisions. Keep looking into what’s working, and what’s not. Foods like burgers, pizza and banh mi are great for takeaway, but do they work for dining in? Considering you are looking to get people in and out the door quickly, these offerings are likely to remain your staples. But if you’re making adjustments to the menu and want to see all that we have to offer, you can visit our website.

Put health and safety practices on show

If you’re operating in any capacity, your workspace should be spotless. It has surely been tough adapting to the changes, but running a safe, clean, and hygienic operation is your best bet for encouraging the return of customers. Create a comfortable environment and do not be afraid flaunt all of the things that show you’re taking this issue seriously.

Dining times and booking systems

This is a big consideration for cafes and restaurants currently in operation. Working in hospitality, you’re familiar with that ‘rush’ period where things are busy. With a cap on customers allowed at a time, you can’t bank on the peak hours to carry you financially. A lot of venues are combatting this issue by revising their booking system. Make sure booking a table is easy to do either online or in store, you don’t want to lose anyone’s attention at the last hurdle.

Don’t be afraid to explore the idea of booking deposits, given the current situation people should be willing to pay a little beforehand to secure their seat and it helps discourage last minute no-shows. Some booking systems will also allow you to send an automated message, that goes out to the customer reminding them of their reservation. Or perhaps you prefer a more personal touch, and have the time to give them a call to confirm. Either way, you’re sending the message that these spots a valuable, not just to you, but to other customers queueing on the waiting list as well.

Dining is exciting, but takeaway is still your best weapon

It might be less exciting, but takeaway and delivery is still king in the current climate. The consumer has grown accustomed to using delivery apps and picking up their meals on the go. Expect most sales to come from here. If you’re using online delivery apps like Uber Eats, don’t be afraid to tweak your options from time to time. Adding monthly or weekly ‘specials’ is a nice tactic for keeping regular customers excited. We’ve released a bunch of chef created recipes ready for you to view if you’re in need of a little inspiration.

Encouraging customers to come back for dining purposes is a niggly task and one that might be a little disheartening at first. Expect a slow burn in terms of the time it takes for service to return to some sense of normality. If you understand your limitations and stick to government guidelines, your customers will appreciate you for it. Keep pushing your takeaway and delivery menus for now, and   accommodate dine-in if you can, as it’s good for your reputation. Advertise the fact that you’re making an extra effort with health and safety, plus make your processes clear and easy for customers trying to book a table. And finally, remember to smile, even if hidden by a facemask. One thing that the hospitality industry can brag about is a workforce built on character, positivity and friendliness. Something that society desperately needs right now.

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