As many businesses are starting to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, several health protocols are now strictly implemented in old and new restaurants. Aside from making sure that the dining utensils and the restaurant itself are properly sanitised and disinfected, food businesses should ensure that customers and staff are practising social distancing. This is per the health protocol of the World Health Organisation, which indicates that coronavirus is transmitted easily when in close contact with other individuals.
With that said, here are several significant impacts of social distancing to restaurants that business owners should know so that they can adjust and strategise their plans:
Impact #1: Relatively lower number of customers
Due to social distancing protocols, restaurants are likely to see fewer customers as tables and chairs are minimised to comply with the one-meter-apart requirement. Due to this, restaurants can only operate at a maximum of 70 per cent capacity, usually much less for smaller establishments. Additionally, many customers are still hesitant to dine in because of the fear of contracting the virus.
Restaurants can cope with this impact by offering promos and deals. Owners can also provide better service and menu options to entice old and new customers to visit their places once again. By doing so, business owners can help protect and ensure their long-term profits despite the limitations.
Impact #2: Entirely different dining experience
There will undoubtedly be many changes in customers’ dining experiences. In terms of dining in, customers will most likely be required to sanitise their hands and submit to a body temperature check upon entering. Once inside the premises, social distancing will be implemented in terms of the seating layout, and fewer employees will be available to tend to their needs.
In terms of transactions, many businesses today have shifted to online payments to minimise person-to-person contact. There are others who are also now using technology to receive orders. Aside from that, some establishments also require advanced reservations to minimise walk-in diners.
Impact #3: Stricter hygiene protocols
Most importantly, restaurants are expected to implement stricter health and hygiene practices for their employees and customers. The use of barriers in tables will soon become the norm. Aside from that, many restaurants will require customers to provide contact information for contact tracing.
Additionally, restaurant employees will need to wear face masks with a protective face shield for further protection. The use of hand gloves when collecting payments and serving meal orders should also be observed.
Impact #4: Localised sales
Apart from social distancing, travel restrictions are also practised in many countries and cities. Due to this, customers are choosing to dine in restaurants in their locality. This is understandable, as many people are still afraid to travel long distances in fear of contracting the virus. Aside from that, many working individuals have shifted to working from home, making restaurants in their immediate community their primary choice.
Social distancing protocols will continue to be implemented as long the cure or vaccine for the coronavirus is not yet available. However, many businesses can’t afford to wait for everything to cool down, as their survival depends on their companies. To cope and adjust with the situation, old and new restaurants must practice stricter health and hygiene protocols to continue serving their customers.
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