Your Restaurant Reopening Checklist

Chris Rumpf

Founder and CEO, 15+ Years of Restaurant Technology Innovation

Your Restaurant Reopening Checklist

After two months (give or take) of keeping the interior of restaurants closed, most states are beginning to ease restrictions and allowing restaurants to start partially reopening their dining rooms. This sounds exciting, but it isn’t as simple as reopening your doors. Even with partial occupancy, there are some important guidelines to follow in order to protect your staff and your customers.

1. Ensure Your Staff Is Healthy

  • Employees should be screened for fever, cough, or shortness of breath before every shift.
  • Any employee that displays any of these symptoms should not be allowed back until after 3 full days without symptoms, even if they’re sure that they do not have COVID-19.
  • Limit the number of employees allowed in breaks rooms at one time.
  • Staff your employees on the same shifts so that if one person gets sick you aren’t jeopardizing the entire staff.

2. Ensure Your Staff Is Prepared

  • Employees should wear masks at all times and replace masks daily.
  • Employees should wear gloves at all times and replace gloves frequently.
  • Require your employees to wash their hands more frequently than usual.
  • Create new internal standard operating procedures and provide checklists for your staff to follow.
  • Provide training on these new operating procedures before you open for in-restaurant dining.

3. Ensure Your Restaurant Is Prepared

  • Increase the frequency and depth of cleaning.
  • Redesign floor plans to ensure social distancing is adhered to. This may require moving or blocking off tables. Keep in mind that 6 feet should be from person-to-person, not 6 feet in between each table. This might mean tables are 10+ feet away from each other.
  • Use disposable or rolled silverware. Utensils should not come in contact with tables or other surfaces.
  • Use disposable menus. Each guest should get a new menu.
  • Provide condiments only upon request, in single-use portions.
  • Implement contactless payments and ordering.
  • Sanitize all surfaces in between guests. This means literally everything gets wiped down with disinfectant. The tables, chairs, check tray, pen, register if they’re standing at a counter, the counter they were standing in front of, the keypad they used to run their credit card. All of it. Wiped clean.
  • Clearly mark one-way direction of travel throughout the business. If possible, use a separate entrance and exit doors so that people don’t have to walk past each other and breathe in each others’ faces.
  • Additional steps you can take:
    • Have staff on hand to open the entrance door(s) for customers so that customers don’t have to touch these common surfaces.
    • Provide hand sanitizer at the entrance of your restaurant for customers and encourage them to use it.
    • Install partitions/plexiglass at relevant locations like cashier stations, between open kitchens, bartenders, etc.
    • Change or update your technology to better facilitate social distancing. The less contact your staff and guests need to have, the better!

4. Ensure Your Business Is Prepared

  • Familiarize yourself with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements (FFCRA, effective through December 30, 2020.) Post the FFCRA requirements on your restaurant premises, as required by law. You can access a copy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s FFCRA poster in English or Spanish.
  • Anticipate that to-go and/or delivery orders will still be a larger portion of your business than usual.
  • Consider the following:
    • How might you expand your occupancy using tents or other outdoor seating?
    • How can you better ventilate your space for safety?
    • How can you show/market your safety measures to your potential customers?
    • Does keeping your dining room closed until occupancy and consumer confidence is higher make more sense?

There are still a lot of unknowns but it’s crucial that you are as prepared as possible before reopening your restaurant. Second, you must let your guests know what you’re doing to protect them and your staff.

The data has shown that people are not just willing to go out and risk their health for a meal. You need to earn their trust and the only way to do that is by using your social media platforms to SHOW them how seriously you’re taking this.

Not sure how to accurately get that message across? We’re offering free social media and business consultations through the end of May. Need to update your technology so that you’re better prepared to reopen? We’re also offering free phone service installation and no up-front costs on new POS systems through the end of May. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

Stay safe!