Preparing your Restaurant for Opening after Lockdown

“We’re All In This Together” by Anthony Quintano is licensed under CC 2.0.

Preparing your restaurant for opening after lockdown is necessarily fraught with concerns.

How do you best keep your customers and employees safe in a Covid-19 world? How do you access the latest industry recommendations to ensure you’re in compliance? What are the risks you’re still facing in your geographic location?

With a careful plan in place, you can manage this unprecedented time and foster safety in your restaurant to the best of your capabilities.

Use the following tips to prepare for your post-lockdown restaurant opening.

Masks and Gloves

Before you can safely reopen, you need to ensure that your employees have the protective wear they need to reduce their risk for contracting or passing on the virus. This is no easy feat in light of shortages that continue to plague various areas.

First, check with the restaurant industry about their current recommendations as to the types of materials you should be using. This should be an ongoing concern as recommendations change. Check on industry recommendations each morning to ensure you’re following the latest guidelines in terms of safety materials.

Staff Training

You’ll need to provide training for your staff about the use of these materials–not to mention a host of other things.

For instance, let them know how to properly remove protective wear and whether and how to clean protective items.

Your staff is sure to have questions so be certain to provide answers before you reopen.

Related: Top 10 Food Safety Tips for your Restaurant

Supplies and Deliveries

Before reopening, businesses must investigate their supply chain and whether they can rely on deliveries to operate.

In some places, delivery service has been interrupted and remains so because of the virus.

In other cases, restaurants might not be able to procure the items they regularly order or may not be able to obtain them at previous pricing.

As restaurants contemplate reopening, they must determine if they can source the food products and other supplies they need to serve clientele.

Revise Menu

Rework your menu as you are not going to be opening to the same number of customers sitting in the same number of chairs for quite some time.

If this is not due to legislation, which it probably will be, it will certainly be due to customer spending patterns.

Strip down that menu, cut your stock holdings, ensure that every item has a good food cost (this will not be the time to sell loss leaders).

Minimize the number of products you’re holding and ensure they work in multiple dishes.

Involve your staff in this, your chef and your management team. Besides the valuable insight they will provide, you will be showing them you are already planning for the future.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve your Restaurant Food Cost


Businesses are putting testing protocols in place as they develop their plan for reopening.

Restaurants, too, may be considering steps to ensure employees are not exhibiting symptoms of illness when coming to work.

Test kits and processing of the tests for COVID-19 are not available at a scale where all businesses can rely on them. Businesses are procuring supplies for temperature checking employees as a preliminary step for checking wellness.

Restaurants may wish to consider putting procedures in place to ensure their employees aren’t working while sick.

Finally, be sure to revisit these topics on a routine basis as the reopening of the economy is a dynamic situation.

Outbreaks may affect your business should they occur near your restaurant.

Stay informed about changes in best practices and guidelines. This will reduce your liabilities and maintain the safest environment possible for your staff and customers. 

Use these essential tips for preparing your restaurant to ensure a smooth opening.

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