13 changes restaurants are making to protect customers and improve profitability

Once the industry begins its recovery, operators will need to have in place new business models and service practices that meet the demands of cautious consumers.

Research shows that about one-third of consumers will be cautious and wait for some period of time before dining out whilst another one-third may not return to dine in restaurants for a long time. Therefore, it will be vital for operators to respond quickly to the market demands. Customers will expect establishments to adhere to appropriate safety precautions whilst maintaining a high level of cleanliness and quality at an affordable price point.

As you plan to reopen in the coming weeks, here are 13 things that many restaurants will be incorporating into their business models and practices to achieve profitability over the short term.

  1. Focus on off-site dining services with flexible, transport-friendly take away menu items, packaging and delivery options.
  2. Provide greater access (and visibility) to hygienic products such as wipes and sanitizers on tables and in public areas.
  3. Change out furnishings and fixtures with surfaces and fabrics that are easier to clean and disinfect.
  4. Switch from linen to disposable napkins and keep them and other items like condiments behind the counter.
  5. Clean cutlery at tableside (or brought to the table packaged) after the customer has sat and ordered to help reassure that they are being hygienically washed & stored.
  6. Place coverings over meal plates that are removed tableside.
  7. Offer digital menu boards or tablets with anti-microbial screens in lieu of paper menus.
  8. Rationalise menus by showing a reduction in prep time and the number of staff needed in the kitchen to maintain social distancing.
  9. Increase spacing between tables and/or breaking up larger rooms into smaller sections
  10. Increase distancing in kitchens or set up pod working spaces (each team member is required to work in a certain area of the kitchen).
  11. Pay-at-table functionality to avoid passing a credit card to a server or if that’s not possible;
  12. Clean each credit card when handed to an employee and upon returning to customer, plus clean the POS terminal between transactions or when a different employee uses it
  13. Offer e-receipts in lieu of paper

Some of the changes your business will make are simple and quite straight forward. However, there are modifications that will impact your current model and processes such as the need to focus more on take away and delivery services. The sooner you have a strategy in place, the sooner you’ll be ready to meet customer expectations. It’s good to keep in mind that you’re not alone – most operators are going through the same exercise, and figuring out how they can best serve customers whilst improving profitability.

During this time, it’s important for the hospitality sector to pull together and support one another like never before. Share ideas, ask questions and don’t be afraid to try something new. If it doesn’t work, start over or modify your approach. Now is also a good time to begin training staff and the new processes. At a minimum, staff should be provided:

  • Food hygiene refresher training
    Covid Secure training

In addition, we encourage you to contact the Enhance team for all your procurement needs. We can look at your supplier’s pricing and compare to current market pricing. Our procurement experts can also secure all the new products you’ll need to open your business including face masks and chemicals, and run the necessary tenders to ensure you have the most competitive pricing.