As we approach February, it is clearer than ever that our lives are not going back to normal for a while. A pandemic we had hoped would be over in the middle of last year is raging on worse than ever. While a vaccine is on the way, logistical difficulties mean it will be a while before enough people are vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
If you’ve been waiting to get your restaurant back up and running, this is not good news. The simple truth is that even when we get back to normal, it will be a new normal. This is not entirely a bad thing. Improved hygiene practices among the general public look set to make long term health differences, and every establishment will benefit from finding multiple streams of income.
However, you need to be savvy to take advantage of what is really a very difficult time to run a business.
Here are 3 tips to improve your restaurant for the new normal.
Refurnish with better, more practical options
In an ideal world, your restaurant would be set up entirely to reflect the theme you wish to portray. But the reality is that practicality is more important than ever. It is important to reiterate that this is not necessarily a bad thing. There is plenty of furniture that is practical without being strictly utilitarian.
You can get gorgeous new booth tables that help with social distancing by creating more private spaces. You can get chairs in expensive-looking materials with natural finishes that don’t get greasy and grimy when a patron touches them. Not only will these changes elevate the hygiene of your restaurant, but they will make the patrons feel as if they are in a cleaner, more classy environment.
Expand the bathrooms
In the past, most people eating at a restaurant would not bother to wash their hands before the meal. The bathrooms were there for patrons who needed to use the toilet. In the new normal, everyone is more hygiene-conscious. As such, they will want a clean and roomy space to wash their hands.
If you can take an extra couple of square meters to expand the bathrooms, it will be worth it. Cramped bathrooms feel unclean and claustrophobic. The experience of a safe and sanitary washroom will help patrons feel more comfortable returning to the world of dine-in restaurants.
Facilitate contactless pay
Hand-washing is not the first means of prevention. On the contrary, it is better not to touch items that may have been touched by many others. This is true of cash and card machines as well.
If you don’t already have contactless payment options, try and get them as soon as possible. With services like Apple Pay, it is easy and affordable for any business to go contactless. Patrons also feel safer this way, as people are increasingly conscious about handing their credit cards over to strangers.
As we adapt to a new normal, your restaurant should make the changes that will help customers feel at ease when returning. Take the opportunity now to do so if you can. It will make a big difference once the country opens up again.