COVID-19 RESOURCE CENTRE: Access guides, infographics, and advisories to equip you with managing and operating your restaurant. Learn More

Social distancing in restaurants: How to protect your revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak

26 March 2020

By: Sarah Yap

COVID-19 has forced restaurants to come out of their comfort zone and relook their table, waitlist, and queue management.

Things haven’t been pretty. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19reservation demand has taken a big dive, with 93% of restaurants in Singapore reported to have experienced a decline in revenue. In addition to a lack of demand, safe and social distancing practices are now mandatory in some cities, while others are on total lockdown

Firstly, don’t panic. Given the fluidity of COVID-19’s evolving situation, it is important to adapt your contingency plan to varying levels of disruption. Our white paper has found this to be particularly important, since COVID-19 appears to be less of a single catastrophic event, but rather a series of events.

Here are some suggestions on how to protect your restaurant’s revenue while still complying with safe and social distancing regulations.

  1. Reduce dining party sizes, increase the distance between dining parties and increase the number of seatings 

Some ways to a enforce safe distance in your restaurant include reducing the number of tables available to create more space between them, unavailing alternate tables or amending the total capacity of each table to allow more space between diners. Creating a safe distance between dining parties, however, means sacrificing some capacity of your restaurant at any one time. How can you protect your revenue if you have to reduce your restaurant’s capacity? 

Instead of sticking to standard session times, consider opening up your restaurant to even more seatings or staggering diner arrival times. Consider running time-dynamic deals with ChopeDeals to encourage demand for off-peak timings. Chope’s solutions also provide you with clear visibility and control over managing your reservations, allowing you to turnover seatings with greater confidence. Our table management system, ChopeBook, even allows you to manage your floorplan on the fly to add, edit and remove tables as required.

  1. Since total capacity has been reduced, start waitlists for specific dining periods that are still in high demand 

Since the advent of COVID-19, we’ve observed that demand for certain cuisines have recovered. In a period where seating capacities will have to be reduced, restaurants that have seen a recovery in their demand may find themselves having to manage a full house.

For peak dining periods such as 7pm on a Friday night, keeping a waitlist gives you the flexibility to maintain a full house, complete with willing parties who are able to take up tables should they become available due to last-minute cancellations. You should expect a rise in last minute cancellations as well, with more people discouraged to dine out when they are unwell.

  1. Avoid building up physical queues at your storefront 

To practice safe and social distancing, physical queues where diners stand in close proximity to each other should be avoided. While some establishments have taken to demarcating spaces to separate different parties standing in line, such measures still do not completely help. Consider queue management solutions like ChopeQueues, where a diner can join a digital queue at your restaurant by entering their party size and contact details. We’ll send a text message together with a web link to update them of their queue status. ChopeQueues automatically informs diners once their table is ready.

To support restaurants during this time, we are offering a complimentary 30-day trial of ChopeQueues. Click on Request a Demo below to speak to a consultant now. Chope continues to keep abreast of new regulations and will continue to update our blog with resources and advice to help restaurants through this period.

Click on Request a Demo to sign up for a free trial of ChopeQueues and learn more about how Chope’s solutions for restaurants can support you during this period.

Access our resource centre for COVID-19 here.


Sarah Yap

As Chope’s Product Marketing Manager, Sarah is excited to share about the opportunities that our technology unlocks to restaurants in Asia.


Create conversations and memories around your restaurant with our full suite of solutions.

Tell us where you're from.