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As we all know, the wave of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge pause in everyone’s worlds, with restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms being no different. Over the past few months, restaurants, bars, and tastings rooms have had to be shut down due to the state of the world, however, things seem to be moving towards normal slowly - as on-premise establishments are starting to open up.
Of course, we can’t stay closed forever can we? With restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms opening up, owners’ minds are still running through things like, is it safe to open up? How do we open up? How do we make sure it’s safe, and how can we get our customers back?
So the biggest question stands: How are we going to open up? Let’s go through a couple of things you can do while opening up your on-premise establishment to make sure things are safe, and all set to go.
As we all know, social distancing is still important. According to guidelines, a minimum of 6ft is required between two personnel to match social distancing standards. So of course, you can’t have all your customers back into your restaurant/tasting room. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have some. A great way to reopen right now is by starting with partial capacity. So for example, if your tasting room could hold let’s say 20 people at a time, cut it down to 10. Have no more than 10 people in your tasting room/restaurant at one time. Yes, having partial capacity might hinder business slightly, but it’s still better than staying shut all together. It’s not only important to have partial capacity for the safety of your customers, but it is also important for the safety of yourself, and your staff.
This is very important, along with keeping your premise sanitized, keeping your staff and customers safe, you need to show your customers that your place is safe for them, and you’re ready to fit into the current norms.
Some of the safety and sanitary protocols you need to follow are:
●Make sure all tables are distanced away from each other by 6ft minimum.
●Have sanitizers all around the premises, even on all tables.
●Make sure employees are wearing masks while taking orders/serving.
●Try investing in an online ordering system or a digital ordering system so employees would only have to engage with customers while serving.
●Offer disposable menus.
●Make sure you have contactless payment available i.e card, phone payment etc.
Your customers need to feel safe about coming to eat at your restaurant/tasting room, and the question here is, how are you going to do that? The best way to do this is be transparent with your customers. People like to know what is happening behind the scenes, they want to know if you’re following all safety protocols and if your place is sanitary. When customers come in, show them that things are safe, you can even put up a small video of your kitchen and how you sanitize things and how it works around your restaurant so customers know that you’re taking the right precautions. If you’ve had a previous employee with a Covid-19 case, then make sure your customer knows about it. They need to feel comfortable in your premises, so you can easily tell them yes, someone from our team has been affected, however, they haven’t been in the premises so it’s all safe. Being open with your customers is what will keep them stuck to you, and build trust.
Yes, yes, we know we’re talking about reopening dine-in services and drinking on bars, and offering tasting menus and wine tastings, but don’t forget that not everyone might be ready to step into your premises right now. In fact, if you’re offering partial capacity, then of course, not everyone can come in at a time. With this inline, make sure you keep your contactless deliveries and pick-ups still open so customers can still order from you and drink your wines. In fact, when they come to pick up their wines from you, and they see others dining in, or enjoying a glass of red at a table of yours, it might just incline them to come dine in themselves and enjoy a drink. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Opening up restaurants, tasting rooms, and bars can seem a little scary, but nothing is impossible with a little bit of protocol and safety measures - and the world is opening up, so we’re definitely thankful for that.