Back-to-Business Guide: Reopening a Restaurant After Quarantine

August 04, 2020 | 07:50 PM Bidfood - News

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced thousands of restaurants around the world to close temporarily. Sadly, dining establishments in the United Arab Emirates also experienced the same.

And although some continued to operate by offering delivery services, their businesses still suffered significantly since the majority of their income and profits usually came from dine-in customers.

The good news is that restaurants in the UAE have already been allowed to reopen since May. This means that they are accepting dine-in customers once again. For many, this signifies going back to business as usual.

However, for those in the restaurant industry, it is not back to business as usual. With the coronavirus still a huge health threat, dining establishment owners have to make several changes in their operations to protect their customers, employees, their reputation, and their source of income.

Must-Know Facts and Tips About Reopening Restaurants Post-Quarantine

As one of the trusted food suppliers in Dubai, we want to help restaurant owners like you get back up on your feet as you reopen your business. We have researched and created a guide you can use as you welcome customers back into your establishment.

Below are the important rules and tips you have to follow as you reopen your restaurant in the UAE:

1. Implement social distancing practices

The UAE government has emphasized the importance of observing social distancing to minimize the risk of disease transmission. In line with these precautionary practices, they have also implemented stricter policies for restaurants to follow.

These rules include:

  • Placing tables at least two meters apart
  • Allowing only a maximum of four people to sit at each table
  • Serving only a maximum of 50 meals per order
  • Not allowing customers to stay in the waiting area to avoid crowding
  • Wearing masks is a must for both employees and customers at all times, except when eating

2. Observe proper cleaning and sanitizing practices

Since good hygiene is crucial to lowering the risk of acquiring and spreading the coronavirus and other diseases, your restaurant should take a proactive approach to keeping your restaurant clean and sanitized at all times.

The government has implemented these rules regarding cleaning and sanitizing which all dining establishments have to follow:

  • Wiping and disinfecting tables immediately after a customer leaves
  • Using only disposable cups and eating utensils for serving food and beverages. Establishments that have automated dishwashing facilities, however, can provide customers with regular cutlery.
  • Placing hand sanitizers in strategic areas inside the premises

Although it is not yet a rule, as a preventive measure, ensure that all surfaces inside the premises are disinfected properly during closing time.

3. Rearrange your dining area

With dining establishments only allowed 60 percent of the total capacity, you won’t need all the tables and chairs in your dining area. As such, before reopening, consider redesigning your space.

Whether you have a small or spacious dining area, remove some tables and chairs, especially if they block off paths and the entrances or exits to your premises. Also, stagger the seating in the dining area to make it less crowded.

This simple step can help you protect both your customers and employees.

4. Rethink your menu

When you reopen your restaurant, you can’t expect that your earnings and profits will go through the roof immediately. To sustain your business as you recuperate your losses and avoid wasting money on unnecessary things, such as ingredients you don’t often use, review your menu first.

List down the dishes that diners often order and consider removing the ones that are unpopular from your menu. With a well-thought-out menu, you will avoid spending money on supplies that you are not sure will be used.

Another strategy you can consider is maintaining a menu mix of proteins, pasta, and vegetarian options but limiting your offerings. In addition, consider the option of introducing a category rotation, with different items offered each week.

Also, to minimize costs and workload, speak with your kitchen staff to find ways to reduce the prep time and execution of the menu items you want to serve.

5. Start or continue offering delivery services

If you did not offer food delivery service during the quarantine, you could start now. Since many people are still hesitant about going and dining out, it is a great way to reach out to your loyal customers and boost your restaurant’s earnings at the same time.

In case you are already offering delivery services, continue providing it even after you reopen. Again, many people will still want to eat in the comfort of their homes, so do not block this extra stream of income for your business.

Additionally, inform customers that you also offer takeaways and accept advance orders for faster, more efficient service.

6. Let customers know about your efforts

Your investment will go to waste if customers do not know about all the work you put into preparing your restaurant. To encourage diners to visit and eat at your establishment, promote the new measures you have implemented.

With people online most of the time, use your website and social media accounts to promote the reopening of your restaurant and the measures you have in place to ensure a safe dining experience.

Make sure you put out as much information as you can regarding the reopening of your restaurant. Engage with interested diners as well; answer their questions as promptly as you can.

7. Prepare well for the reopening

Finally, to ensure your restaurant reopens without a hitch, prepare well beforehand. This means stocking your pantry and fridge to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients for your menu items.

Get in touch with your meat suppliers in Dubai for your protein needs. Order your other supplies from your providers days before your opening as well.

Also, ensure you have sanitized the dining area, kitchen, toilet, and furniture the night before reopening. If you need to rearrange anything, do it days in advance.

Your employees need to undergo testing prior to your opening as well. Make sure everyone does so and check that they are cleared to go back to work.

Reopening your business after quarantine takes a lot of work. You need to continue following the rules and implementing the crucial health measures as well.

If you need help with going through the entire process, get in touch with us. We can guide you as you prepare to open your doors and accept diners again.