The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt every industry like aviation to hospitability, from tourism to automobiles, from telecom to insurance. Restaurant business does not remain untouched by it. As the number of infected persons continues to pile up, customer’s expectations and behaviour keep on changing. Now the restaurants are reopening throughout the US, the onus will be on the restaurant owners to provide a healthy and fear-free dining experience while still generating revenues and be profitable. Today at residencetalk, let’s discuss how to restaurant design and layout is changing.
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How Restaurant Designs & Layouts Will Be Changed?
With thermal screening, masked waiters, social distancing, table partitions, etc. becoming the new normal, the restaurant industry will have to evaluate their strategies to survive in these uncertain times. More importantly, as the customers become reluctant to go out and socialize again, you, as a restaurant owner, will have to go out of your way to invite and attract them. It means changing your restaurant design and layout, maintaining hygiene, training your staff, and many more. Here ishow you can accommodate the emerging expectations and requirements of your customers in the near future.
1. Assure Social Distancing
Depending on your restaurant design, you have to come up with innovative floor plans and seating arrangements to maximize the seating capacity in your restaurant while adhering to social distancing norms. Follow these tips to assure social distancing and minimize exposure between customers in your restaurant.
- Rearrange the Furniture
If yours is a restaurant with an open dining area, you can rearrange the restaurant tables and chairs to maintain a gap of at-least 6-feet between them. Rather than using bulky, vintage furniture, most of the restaurants will opt for flexible, light-weight, minimalistic restaurant furniture made from plastic or stainless steel.
- Acquire Table Partition
Another way of implementing social distancing in small restaurants is by installing restaurant table partitions. These table partitions offer a quick, temporary, classy, and cost-effective way to separate your guests. Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, finishes, colors, etc., you can set them as per your restaurant theme and take them out when not in use.
- Train your Staff Accordingly
During these testing times, a little bit of compassion and caution from your restaurant staff can go a long way in establishing its brand image and gaining the trust of your guests. Train your staff in maintaining the utmost levels of hygiene in and around the restaurant. Equip them with masks, gloves, face shields, etc., and frequently sanitize the dining, kitchen, and utility areas of your restaurant.
2. Go Contactless
With an unparalleled emphasis on the contactless dining, you can use technology to provide a touch-free dining experience for your customers. An inherent advantage of implementing the technology in your restaurant is that the customer does most of the work himself. Adapting to technology reduces the burden on your staff, fastens the process, and streamlines the activity. From making table reservations to paying the bills, here are a few ways to provide contactless dining.
- Build an app for reserving tables.
- Install sensors to open and close the entrance/exit doors without touching them.
- Introduce tablets or digital menu at your restaurant tables for ordering.
- Get foot-operated or automatic soap/water dispensers, flush systems, etc. in the washroom.
- Set up POS for payment at the table itself.
Investing in technology might seem overkill to some traditional restaurant owners, but the improvement it offers in the overall functioning is remarkable. Additionally, by letting your customers do most of the activities, you can run the restaurant with fewer staff members.
3. Provide Flexible Takeaway Option
The traditional dine-in norm of eating out and socializing is long gone, thanks to the COVID-19. Under these circumstances, takeout is proving to be the safest bet for both restaurant workers and customers. Takeaway orders not only minimize exposure but since they eliminate the need to frequently cleaning and sanitizing the restaurant tables and chairs, they bring down the operational cost as well. Follow these tips to create a flexible and convenient takeaway option at your restaurant.
- Provide online food ordering and payment options so that the customers can order in advance. Create a designated area for collecting takeaway orders.
- Install self-ordering kiosks and drive-through for ordering and collecting meals in your restaurant. Create a waiting area or a parking lot as your customers wait.
- Simplify your takeaway menu for takeaway meals by including items that are easy to prepare and pack.
4. Make Most of the Outdoor Space
As the infection is less likely to spread in the open air, you can utilize the outdoor space in your restaurant. You make your garden beautiful and set up a good garden restaurant. Apart from offering protection from the virus, the outdoor seating arrangement makes a pleasant ambience that enhances the dining experience for your guests. Whether it is the unused patio space, backyard, or terrace in your restaurant, you can set up tables and create a cozy outdoor dining area. However, while expanding your restaurant layout, make sure to embrace your surroundings, and create an ambience that complements your interior decor. From rust-free metal chairs to vintage wooden furniture, you can select the outdoor restaurant furniture according to the atmosphere you wish to create.
Survival in the restaurant business amidst the COVID-19 pandemic requires you to evaluate and evolve your business strategies consistently and continuously. From your staff’s behaviour to your restaurant design, from the menu to your restaurant furniture, from contactless dining to table partition, this article highlights some aspects of the restaurant business in the future. Hopefully, by using this guide, you will be able to invite the customers again in your now-reopened restaurant, provide a hygienic dining experience, generate revenue, and come out profitable.