What You Need to Know Before Reopening Your Restaurant

Amanda Bullock / May 30,2020
What You Need to Know Before Reopening Your Restaurant

What You Need to Know Before Reopening Your Restaurant
Do you own one of the more than 1 million restaurants scattered across the country? If so, you’ve likely been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic over the course of the last couple of months.
The good news is that it sounds like you should finally be able to get back to doing what you do best soon. Most states throughout the U.S. are starting to reopen little by little, so it shouldn’t be long at all before you’re able to open your restaurant back up.
Restaurant safety is going to be of the utmost importance moving forward, though. Things are not just going to return to “business as usual” for restaurants, especially since the threat of a second wave of the coronavirus lingers in the air. You’re going to need to take all the proper precautions to keep you and your employees safe.
Need some help opening your restaurant back up in the safest way possible? Here are some restaurant safety tips that you can put to good use in the coming months.
Follow Your Specific State’s Guidelines as Far as Reopening Your Restaurant
Every state throughout the country is taking a different approach to reopening. Some states are allowing restaurants to reopen right from the start, while others are going to wait until later on in their reopening process to give restaurants the green light.
You should monitor your state’s plans and follow the guidelines that are being put into place for you. You might be tempted to rush to reopen your restaurant so that you can work towards getting your business back on the right track. But you could get yourself into trouble by opening too soon.
Instead, use your time off to create a list of restaurant safety rules that you’re going to ask customers and employees to follow. It’ll prevent you from having to worry about doing it later on.
Sanitize Your Restaurant From Top to Bottom Before Reopening
Whether your restaurant has been open and offering takeout throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic or closed for business, you should make a strong push to clean your restaurant from top to bottom before reopening and welcoming people back inside.
Sanitizing your restaurant will provide you with peace of mind. It’ll also prevent any dangerous viruses or bacteria from spreading inside of your restaurant right from the start. It’s why you should clean your restaurant before reopening it, even if it’s been shut down for a while now.
Rearrange Your Restaurant to Allow for Social Distancing
Although many states are starting to give restaurants the go-ahead with regards to reopening, most of them aren’t loosening the social distancing guidelines. They’re still telling people to maintain their distance when they’re out in public.
You should take this into account and use it as motivation to rearrange your restaurant accordingly. You can put all the new restaurant safety procedures into place that you want. But they won’t do much good if you have customers and employees sitting on top of one another in your place of business.
Spread out the tables and chairs that you use to serve your customers. It might mean scaling back on how many people you can have in your restaurant at one time. But it’s a necessary measure that you’re going to want to take.
Put Sneezeguards Into Place, If Necessary
If you own a fancy restaurant that doesn’t have a buffet or food out where people can see it, you don’t have to install sneezeguards. But if you have food out on display in your restaurant, you’re going to need to put sneezeguards into place pronto.
Or if you don’t want to invest in sneezeguards, you may want to consider serving your food in a different way than you are now. Generally speaking, many people aren’t going to feel comfortable eating food from a buffet anyway. You may want to keep your food in the kitchen for the time being and bring out what people want to eat for them.
Keep a Close Eye on the Expiration Dates on Food Items
Speaking of the kitchen, you’re going to need to keep health and safety in the kitchen in mind at all times from here on out while running your restaurant. The last thing you want to do is help spread any diseases by not taking steps to serve up food that is as fresh as it can be.
You should have been doing this before the coronavirus pandemic anyway. But it’s essential for you to monitor the expiration dates on food items and throw out anything that has expired. It’ll keep food that has spoiled off the plates of your customers.
With many restaurant owners losing lots of money in recent months, they’re going to be tempted to cut corners when it comes to serving food. But this should not include serving up food that is even close to having gone bad.
Stress the Importance of Properly Preparing Food to Your Employees
In addition to serving food that is fresh, you should also speak with your employees who work in the kitchen about preparing food properly at all times.
To that end, you should retrain them on how to cook certain dishes to completion. You should also put new restaurant kitchen safety rules into place for any employees who operate out of your kitchen.
Your employees are going to need to clean up after themselves on the fly and make sure they’re not exposing food to potential contamination. This is, again, something you should be doing all the time. But it’ll be extra important right now.
Make Sure Plates, Cups, Utensils, and More Are Cleaned Thoroughly
In a perfect world, all restaurants would start using paper and plastic plates, cups, utensils, etc. after reopening. While this would result in the creation of more waste, it would also solve a big problem that many restaurants are going to have.
Restaurants are going to need to work extra hard to sanitize all of the plates, cups, utensils, and more that their customers use. These things can easily spread germs from one person to another if they’re not cleaned.
They can also spread germs to your employees if they aren’t wearing masks, gloves, and other forms of PPE. Equip your employees with everything they’ll need to avoid exposing themselves to germs while at work.
Wipe Down Tabletops, Countertops, and Other Surfaces on a Regular Basis
Most people didn’t use to think twice when they saw a restaurant employee walking around and wiping down tabletops, countertops, and other surfaces during their shifts. But nowadays, it’s going to be expected.
You might want to appoint one specific employee to focus solely on wiping down the various surfaces in your restaurant during their shifts for the foreseeable future. This will ensure that these surfaces are cleaned regularly when you reopen.
Encourage Employees Who Aren’t Feeling Well to Stay Home
In the past, most restaurant owners would get annoyed at their employees when they called out sick from work. Even if the employees were sick, them calling out made life hard on restaurant owners.
But those days are long gone. Today, you should encourage your employees not to come into work if they’re not feeling well. You should pay close attention to any employee who complains of having a high fever or a cough.
Sick employees aren’t going to be doing you any favors by coming into work when they’re not feeling well. They could put you, your other employees, and, of course, your customers at risk by not staying home when they’re under the weather.
Reassess Your Restaurant Safety Policies Early and Often
Once your restaurant is back open for business, things are going to move quickly for you. It won’t be long before you’re juggling reservations from customers and trying to put in large food orders again.
Things might move so fast that you don’t even realize that some of your restaurant safety policies aren’t working the way they should. You should be mindful of this and make it a point to reassess your policies early and often.
Stay in constant communication with your employees to find out what is and isn’t working for them when it comes to your restaurant safety rules. They can talk to you about what you can do to make your restaurant safer over time.
Start Getting Ready to Reopen Your Restaurant Now
It might not be time to reopen your restaurant just yet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for your reopening now.
Begin kicking around some restaurant safety ideas sooner rather than later so that you don’t get caught off guard in the near future when your restaurant reopens. Your employees and customers will appreciate your taking the time to put a plan into place so that they’re safe inside your restaurant.
Interested in finding out more ways to make improvements to your restaurant in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic? Browse through our blog articles to find some fantastic ideas.

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