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Evolving your Restaurant business during COVID-19

At this very uncertain time during the coronavirus outbreak, many restaurants have been forced to make the decisions whether to close completely or transform themselves into a to-go or delivery service.

If you are taking the step to convert into a to-go or delivery service, we have put together 15 points that you may need to consider whilst making the transition.

  1. Analyse your cash flow. Careful consideration needs to be made as to whether it is worth converting to a to-go or delivery service. If you have never offered these services before, your revenue may go down to around 5-10% of your usual on-site sales. 
  2. Communicate with your employees. If you decide to remain open, your employees must be made aware of their rights and responsibilities. Local governments have released guidance on employee rights and responsibilities. It would be advisable to have these printed and available for view in your staff area.
  3. Adjust labour. Review your requirements and run on skeleton crew. If you have employees that are no longer required due to the COVID-19 outbreak, take advantage of the government retention scheme.
  4. Research a delivery team. There are many services around that offer a delivery service for a fee. Research which companies operate in your area, and which would be most suitable for you. Some companies, such as uber eats, are waving delivery fees for independent restaurants during the corona virus outbreak.
  5. Consider how you are receiving payments. During this time, it is best to take payments as contactless as possible. Is it worth considering implementing a no-cash policy at your venue? Bearing in mind the limit imposed on contactless credit card payments. If you are using an online ordering and delivery company, they may handle online payments for you.
  6. Alcohol to-go. Do you already have a licence to sell alcohol? It is worth reviewing the terms of your licence to see if you are able to sell alcohol with your takeaway orders? This could boost your revenue. If you do not have a licence, consider whether it would be worthwhile offering an ‘everything but alcohol’ cocktail service with food orders. You can supply a premixed cocktail without alcohol to customers for them to add their own alcohol in at home.
  7. Review your menu. Is it worth downsizing what you offer as a takeaway service? With only skeleton staff working, you need to ensure the kitchen is not over stretched and you are able to meet the demand for orders to maintain customer satisfaction. Review what your most popular dishes are and consider only offering them at this time.
  8. Review your opening times. If you are a restaurant usually open all day, it may not be financially beneficial to keep these opening hours the same. Consider only opening of an evening when customers will be most likely to order.
  9. Adjust your ordering accordingly. If you do decide to downsize your menu and opening times; take stock of what is in your inventory and adjust your orders so that you are only ordering what you require. Try not to stockpile certain items and keep to your regular order schedule. A national quarantine has not yet been implemented; however, it is still a possibility and you don’t want to have surplus stock if this becomes the case.
  10. Over-communicate handwashing. Set strict protocols amongst your employees and over communicate the importance of compliance with them. Provide employees with suitable PPE whilst working. If you are still taking cash, provide hand sanitiser at till points for use after handling cash.
  11. Set up an additional hygiene checklist. It is important that frequently touched surfaces are shown additional sanitation during this pandemic. Websites such as coronaviruschecklist.com will provide you with free checklists and resources to implement addition hygiene within your venue.
  12. Check for symptoms. Make it a requirement that any employees with even mild symptoms do not come into work and stay home for 14 days. Likewise, if you are offering a to-go collection service, do not allow customers displaying symptoms to enter your premises. Display posters on your door asking customers not to enter if they are unwell.
  13. Adhere to confidentiality. If one of your employees does become unwell with COVID-19, do not disclose their name. You should however, disclose to your other employees that they may have been exposed to coronavirus.
  14. Market yourself. Let your customers know that you are still open for business as a to-go or delivery service. Consider offers for customers to boost sales and maintain a presence on social media.
  15. Observe social distancing. If you are offering a to-go collection service, ensure your customers are complying with social distancing regulations by providing floor markings in the collection area 2 metres apart. This can be done quickly and cheaply by using tape on the floor. Provide hand sanitiser on your collection counter for customer use.

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