COVID-19 Social Distancing Tips for Restaurants Opening Their Dining Rooms

COVID-19 Social Distancing Tips for Restaurants Opening Their Dining Rooms

How to keep restaurant customers healthy while providing dine-in service

As states begin the slow process of returning to post-quarantine normalcy after the long isolation requirements due to COVID-19 there are questions about how best to proceed. None of us have ever been through something like this before.

The possibility of outbreak is still looming and social distancing mandates are still in effect. However, the good news is that restaurants and bars will be able to reopen if they can maintain a safe environment for customers.

But what does that look like? How can your restaurant or bar reopen profitably while in the middle of a pandemic? Here are some tips, if you choose to reopen dine-in and bar service.

Maintain Distance

This is the primary consideration for restaurants looking to reopen dining rooms. Maintaining 6 feet of separation between guests is critical. This means extremely reduced capacity and only seating every other, or every third table.

To achieve this distance while maintaining profitability requires maximization of available capacity. This can be achieved with a table management and reservations system like Rezku Restaurant Reservations. Guests can reserve online and you can avoid crowding in the waiting area.

Limit Party Size

The fact is that some people may not be taking the spread of the coronavirus very seriously. When they find out that restaurants and bars are open, they may organize a group celebration. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet.

Larger party sizes pretty much defeat the whole purpose of social distancing. Enforcement also becomes harder as larger groups of people can be hard for limited staff to communicate the need to maintain separation from other guests.

PPE for all staff

Staff should be healthy if they’re on duty. Wearing N95 masks and latex gloves that are frequently changed help to protect everyone from the spread of germs. Servers coming to tables to serve food will be in close proximity to guests.

They can easily spread disease from one table to another table if they’re not careful. Bussing and serving duties should be strictly separated, as touching plates handled by a sick guest and then serving a plate to another guest can spread germs. Especially if gloves are not changed.

Limit Socialization

This is the hospitality industry. We want to be friendly with our guests. But shaking hands, chatting at close proximity and spending time together increases the chance of spreading illness. Explain to your guests that you are thankful for their patronage but must maintain distance.

This goes double for staff. During downtime servers have a tendency to sit together and chat. Especially if they’ve been starved for social interaction for weeks. But you must enforce social distancing among staff as much as possible to protect your guests' health and your reputation.

Summary

While restaurant and bar owners may be hopeful that restrictions on dine-in are being loosened, it introduces a number of variables that could increase the spread of the coronavirus. We have a duty to keep our guests and staff safe.

To maintain social distancing, keep guests separated, limit the number of guests in a party, keep staff and guests protected from spread by properly using PPE and limiting social interactions.

Additional recommendations for reopening restaurants can be found at the National Restaurant Association’s page.

Unfortunately, the most effective means to safely reopen is limiting the number of guests that dine in a restaurant. Just as important is making sure that crowds do not form outside of the restaurant or in waiting areas.

A valuable tool in this fight is Rezku Restaurant Reservations. This is a table management system designed to optimize restaurant table utilization, allowing you to easily solve problems such as specifying a set number of guests, setting available tables and limiting party sizes.

To learn more about the Rezku Restaurant Reservations system sign up for a free, no obligation trial today!

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