Can restaurants endure the double-blow of both local lockdowns and forced closures much longer? Things are complicated at the moment — but in the future, restaurants will need to employ new methods to survive the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions.
For now, we explain below how restaurants are currently turning to digital methods to manage the wake of COVID-related measures — and we help restaurateurs think about how to bounce back in forthcoming days.
Restaurants and the Coronavirus — Updates
The COVID-19 crisis has proved a heavy stress test for many restaurant owners. Unfortunately many restaurants both large and small across the globe have closed for good.
But governments across Europe are currently working on plans to unlock the restaurant industry. Some have a head-start in the race to reopen: in England for example on 12 April restaurants reopened for outdoor dining.
The chances of most restaurants reopening across Europe in early Summer is highly likely. Depending on the success of national vaccination programmes — which are making headway — restaurants will reopen quicker.
The figures are promising. In the UK for instance the vaccine success continues: over half of adults have had at least one jab.
Here is an update on some of the measures that will stay in place.
- When restaurants reopen, both staff and guests will have to wear personal protective equipment and/or face coverings. After a mass vaccination stage, everyone will have to adhere to basic social distancing rules and ensure adequate hygiene.
- With this in mind, restaurants will have to limit guest numbers. Hospitality tactics and policies are here to stay — including expanded outdoor seating and limited table capacity.
Some countries like the UK are currently proposing vaccine checks at the door — but this remains a debated issue. In practice, this will require guests to present a COVID health certificate to gain entry into restaurants, including venues and bars. Restaurateurs will have the choice to impose such measures as they wish.
Figure 1. Restaurant in Mallorca during Covid-19 by Marco Verch via Flickr
For regional updates on COVID restrictions, please consult your local government’s website. The World Health Organisation also provides full recommended guidance for restaurants practicing food safety during COVID-19.
Provide a Safe Hospitality Environment
In the post-pandemic period, governments have said practices (i.e. wearing masks indoors, socially distanced tables, hygiene stations) will remain. This will support local restaurants to combat the re-emergence of the virus.
But there is also good news: customers are looking forward to being served again. Restaurants will have to do very little to bring customers back and entice them to on-premise dining. But safety comes first, and for cautious diners, your restaurant will have to:
- Ensure customer safety
- Manage restaurant capacity
- Promote guest confidence in health measures
So how can your restaurant stick to guidelines while also providing quality service?
McKinsey has recommended updating your restaurant’s operating procedures: to employ a digital solution.
For over ten years, software has been a regular feature of dining out — especially in the US. Hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world are now using reservation software to manage guest intake, using online systems to book and check tables.
Since COVID-19 has shifted the way restaurants operate, forcing professionals to close their venue’s doors, guests are now accustomed to online services and delivery technologies; instead of phoning in to arrange a booking, they would prefer to use digital platforms.
So the business of eating out in a post-COVID environment will have to keep up with today’s tech-first world.
Figure 2. Businesswoman using a smartphone by Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr
Using the Carbonara App Makes Reservations Easier
Using a digital reservation book the Carbonara App makes restaurant reservations easier — blending online booking with smartphone access.
Instead of a pen-and-paper book, your maitre d’ or front-of-the-house staff will use their smartphone (or smart device) to process guest bookings digitally. Device sync makes this convenient for everyone — one app, less hassle.
Stressing over no-shows? Admittedly, social distancing measures have created a system that causes an overreliance on restaurant bookings. When guests don’t show up, this threatens your restaurant’s bottom line…
But this can be avoided. Find out how the Carbonara App helps reduce the chance of no-shows saving your staff time and effort.
And don’t forget to check out our ultimate guide to make the most out of today’s restaurant reservation software options.
FREE Digital Guest Management is Simple
Today’s casual-dining sector will likely have to switch to a more reservation-based system. Your restaurant fits the casual dining bill if you have:
- A queue
- A host stand
- A pen-and-paper waitlist
But in the wake of COVID-19 measures, a stand-in waitlist is unviable. Guests who stand in line, queueing in person and waiting for tables, threaten to breach COVID regulations.
For the past year, the Carbonara App has evolved to meet the expectations of today’s casual dining world — stepping up to the challenge, transitioning from a waitlist-only app, and making room for reservations PLUS waitlist features.
The service is simple. The Carbonara App has a virtual queue system with restaurant SMS features that enable text callbacks, letting customers know when it is time to return and be seated. For a fuller explanation of how these works see our guide for more details on the Carbonara App’s waitlist functions.
Worried about disappearing guests? Your restaurant could use standby seating— an advanced tactic that ensures you fill restaurant tables efficiently.
Support Local Restaurants with Drink Pre Ordering Feature
Since April 2021 government regulations have required restaurant operators to follow indoor practices, using QR code menus and keeping track of customer details (name, address, phone number) to prevent further spread of the virus. Though necessary, this proves to be a burden for restaurants, as it creates an extra step in attending to guests.
Guidelines are crucial, but a difficult measure for restaurants to keep up with.
So what if customers could ease matters and pre-order before they’ve even entered restaurant doors?
Carbonara App provides a drinks pre-ordering feature to relieve restaurants of COVID-related stress. Totally contactless, this feature allows guests who’re waiting in a virtual queue to buy alcoholic drinks remotely while they wait.
Using this feature means restaurants can now avoid crowded indoor settings. When customers enter your restaurant they’ve already bought drinks — all without having to leave their seats and order at the bar, preventing any overcrowding between tables.
Figure 3. Drink Pre-order Feature by Carbonara App
Also, Carbonara App comes with a Customer Tracking feature. When activated, this logs customer data automatically, avoiding any extra steps.
This information remains confidential and is safely stored in the app’s system. But the restaurant will share guest information if: 1) health authorities request it or 2) a customer contracts COVID-19 then reports it. All processes are strictly confidential, completed only when necessary.
Bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on the Carbonara App’s features. Or if you’re curious, why not give it a go? The Carbonara App is free and provides you with all you need to tackle the post-pandemic period. Try it today!