Back to Business: Your Hospitality Reopening Checklist
As hospitality businesses in the UK reopen, the industry may look a little different than it did before. New rules to reduce the risk of infection mean business owners are confronted with a whole new set of challenges.
But whether you’re a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe – you can still give guests an enjoyable experience while keeping them and your employees safe. Lightspeed has put together this checklist to help you ensure you’re ready to get back to business and start doing what you do best once again.
This article is intended as a guide for what you should consider when reopening your business. Be sure to familiarise yourself with official government guidelines. As of July 4th, the social distance rule will be cut from two metres to ‘one metre plus’. This rule should inform all the changes you’ll need to make to your business going forward.
Let’s dive in!
1. Assess the risks
Are your premises suitable for social distancing? You may need to rethink your floor plan, consider utilising outdoor space, and work out the maximum number of customers your venue can hold while still keeping within the rules (groups of larger than thirty people are against the law).
Can you ensure the safety of your customers when they eat or drink with you? You’ll have to retrain both front and back-of-house staff on how to prepare and serve food safely, and install plexiglass to protect customers and employees in high contract areas such as cash registers.
By carrying out a thorough assessment of the potential risks posed to customers and employees, you can more proactively work to reduce them and restore confidence in your business. Be sure to communicate your risk assessment clearly.
2. Acquire personal protective equipment (PPE)
You’ll need to be able to supply your employees with Personal Protective Equipment before safely reopening. Even if it’s not legally required, supply masks and gloves for your employees and strongly encourage their use.
Drill staff in the safe use and disposal of face masks and dispose of all used PPE in a closed container separate from other waste collection.
3. Update your technology stack
It’s likely that ordering at the bar will not return when businesses reopen, and even table service comes with certain risks.
One way around this is to integrate mobile order and pay solutions into your existing ePOS software, allowing customer to order and pay for their food and drinks straight from a mobile app. This better facilitates social distancing, as well as speeding up service and reducing queues and crowding at the bar.
4. Communicate with customers.
Be vocal about reopening. Inform your customers of how you plan to proceed and how your restaurant may operate a little differently from now on. Make sure customers know how to reserve a table, and that they have all the information they need about social distancing while in your restaurant. Communicate your reopening locally, on social media and on your website.
Also inform customer of mobile ordering and order ahead apps to avoid queues as best you can in and around your venue.
5. Review your menu and prices
Food costs are likely to rise due to the pandemic, so you may have to adjust your menu and prices to better reflect the new measures or to generate more turnover with fewer guests. Make sure that these adjustments are implemented in your cash register system.
Before you reopen, run a food cost calculation so you know what to expect during the first few months back in business.
6. Restock your food inventory
Make sure your restaurant is well stocked to handle reopening. You should not be using anything that you were storing before the lockdown. Check all the use by dates and ensure stock is stored correctly.
It may be worth doing a refresher with your staff to remind them of stock control best practices.
7. Clean your premises
Update your cleaning schedule and retrain cleaning staff in line with government guidelines. Pay extra attention to high-contact surfaces like card machines, cash registers, reusable menus or table condiments. Clean and clear tables thoroughly between reservations, and give ample opportunity for customers and staff to sanitise their hands when necessary.
8. Check your hardware
Check that your hardware (cash register, printers, kitchen screens, handhelds etc) are in working order and connecting to the internet. Try entering a test order to verify that the system works and that your payment software and other integrations are still working with your ePOS.
9. Go contactless
Reduce the risk of infection through physical contact by going cashless, at least temporarily, and focusing on contactless payments. Implementing integrated payment solutions and paperless payments to your existing technology stack is not only safer, it allows for quicker processing of customer purchases.
10. Optimise your reservation system
Taking customers on reservation only basis will help you stay within your venue’s new maximum capacity. Use time slots in your reservation system to stagger tables and avoid overcrowding. Use this also to ensure cover numbers do not exceed government restrictions.
11. Adjust your floor plan
Separate parties must sit a safe distance away from each other. If your dining room has moveable tables, you simply need to rearrange your existing floor plan. If your restaurant has fixed tables or booths, try leaving every other table empty so that an adequate amount of space is left between different dining parties. Update the floor plan in your ePOS so you can keep track of your new layout.
12. Don’t forget delivery
If you don’t already offer delivery, now would be the time to try it out. This will mean reviewing and adapting your menu for delivery and setting up a workflow between your kitchen and couriers. If you’re continuing to deliver as before, make sure that you have safety protocols in place to keep your couriers and customers safe.
If you think you won’t be able to reopen your restaurant dining space with the current distancing rules in place, consider setting up and a dark kitchen or virtual restaurant and access new revenue streams through online delivery.
13. Look after employees
Instead of bringing all your employees back at once, consider staggering return dates. When they return, clearly communicate new functions, rules and safety measures and how they affect their day-to-day. Encourage employees to report symptoms and make it clear having symptoms will not cost them their job.
Get ready to reopen.
As businesses reopen, they’re facing challenges they never thought they would. Your priority during this time should be keeping your business operational whilst also keeping your employees and customer safe. Nothing could have prepared the hospitality industry from the giant hit it has taken.
Remember that you’re not alone, small businesses everywhere are navigating these strange times together. Reach out to fellow business owners, share your strategies and offer support. This way, our industry can come back stronger than ever.