Many states have begun relaxing restrictions on social gatherings and person-to-person distancing, opening the way for restaurants to restart dine-in service.
But, as many have noted: closing was easy — reopening will be a little trickier. Business owners need to be nimble in making decisions, keeping abreast of changing government guidelines and paying close attention to the conditions in their local community.
To help traverse these difficult issues, here are four questions to keep in mind as you begin re-opening:
1. Which employees should return?
The simplest answer to this is probably: not everyone and not all at once.
Many experts are recommending that employees should come back to work in stages. This translates to a lower density of people on premises and makes social distancing less of a challenge. Also, bringing workers back in gradual shifts allows owners to stress-test the new coronavirus-induced policies that will need to be put in place and possibly adjusted as more and more employees start to return over the subsequent weeks and months.
2. How should you protect employees who do come to work?
While you can take the temperature of employees when they arrive, it may not be very effective to prevent transmission of the coronavirus because many people are asymptomatic when they first contract the disease. Therefore, it makes sense to couple taking temperatures with questioning of employees to determine if they have been exposed in any way, if they exhibit any of the known symptoms and if they have any sick members of their household.
Should you be concerned about employees not telling the truth? Perhaps. One thing to keep in mind: if you can offer paid sick-leave, it’s less likely that employees will come to work when they’re sick. Sick leave may be expensive, but it may pay in the long run by preventing employees from passing illnesses to each other.
3. Is your technology set to accommodate the “new normal” of business?
Don’t let your technology be an afterthought in this environment. Firstly, it’s important to have policies and guidelines set up for touching screens and cleaning monitors. It might even make sense to have one person enter the orders into the point of sale system instead of having multiple people touching the machines.
To accommodate as many revenue opportunities as possible, many point of sale systems include an online ordering component. Make sure it is turned on and integrated with your website. This will allow for customers who are not yet comfortable with dine-in service but still want to enjoy items from your menu to be able to order and pick up their food curbside.
4. Should you make use of self-service kiosks?
There’s two things to consider when it comes to self-service kiosks: first, some customers will appreciate it because it means less face-to-face interaction and, therefore, more opportunity for social distancing.
On the other hand (pardon the pun), some customers may hesitate to use a touchscreen if they’re worried about cleanliness. To alleviate those fears, it makes sense for businesses to place hand sanitizer and screen wipes at self-service kiosks along with signs reminding patrons to clean their hands and the screen both before and after use.
Have more questions about how to use kiosks and point of sale systems effectively during your re-opening? Contact us today to learn more.