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Dining out in the age of COVID-19: What are the best practices your restaurant can adopt to ensure a safe distance among diners?

With COVID-19 now a full-blown global pandemic, government and health advisories across the region are strongly encouraging everyone to practice social and safe distancing. While social and safe distancing advisories vary from country to country, the general rule of thumb applies: Reduce duration and proximity of physical interactions. This measure has been adopted across most aspects of everyday life: From the closure of schools and the splitting of work teams, to mandatory work-at-home notices and the cancellation of large scale events.

How does social distancing affect the way you run your restaurant? Depending on the severity of COVID-19 in your market, you’ll need to take mindful steps when encouraging diners to patronise your restaurant. Here is a list of best practices you should adopt to maintain a safe and healthy environment for your diners.

1. Manage seating plans.

  • Use a table management plan like ChopeBook to optimise your seating plan for maximum revenue and spacing.
  • Seat parties around the floorplan rather than concentrated in one section, at least one metre apart.
  • Allocate seats in an alfresco area to provide more ventilation.

2. Reduce congregation of front-of-house staff at diner touchpoints.

  • Group staff schedules and stagger shift hours and station duties to limit interaction between groups of staff.

3. Eliminate physical queues.

  • Limit the number of diners queuing outside your premises.
  • Use queue management systems such as ChopeQueues to allow diners to queue virtually from their mobile phones.

4. Offer off-peak promotions.

  • Launch promotions during off-peak hours to encourage diners to avoid high traffic time slots.
  • Create time-based deals on platforms such as ChopeDeals.

5. Take extra precaution when hosting events and parties.

  • Reduce crowding of participants and improve ventilation of premises.
  • Ensure that all communal dishes come with serving cutlery.
  • Provide extra hand sanitisers and frequent cleaning of shared spaces.

6. Implement contactless payments.

  • Utilise mobile payment and digital wallet services to reduce contact between staff and diners.

Apart from social distancing, and ensuring that diners and staff limit physical contact as much as possible, the measures below are absolutely necessary to ensure a safe environment. If you have yet to put the practices below in place, now’s the time to brief your staff to ensure that everyone is on board.

1. Introduce mandatory temperature screening and registration.

  • Take the temperature and particulars of each diner, along with a declaration of their recent travel history.
  • Use an online Google form and place the QR code by the entrance to minimise the use of hard copy forms.

2. Turn away diners who are unwell or have travelled recently.

  • Do not allow people who are unwell or have recently travelled to dine in.
  • Offer takeaway solutions instead.

3. Communicate measures and changes.

  • Update diners and staff about the new hygiene and cleanliness practices set in place.

Lastly, as the COVID-19 situation is uncertain and constantly evolving, it’s important for you to keep updated on government and health advisories. Ensure that you are swift in fleshing out both short and long-term solutions for your restaurant’s road to recovery.

Save the infographic below to share with your organisation and community.


Click here for more best practices on how to get your restaurant ready for COVID-19

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Adibah Isa

A digital and print journalist turned content manager for brands that believe in the power of storytelling.


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