The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to make significant changes to the way they operate, ushering a “new normal”. One of the biggest examples is the restaurant industry. Social distancing guidelines are expected to significantly hinder dine-in opportunities. No-contact measures will force changes in the way you and your wait staff can interact with customers. How restaurants acquire customers will also need to adjust to less people leaving their homes.

There are many changes that restaurant management and ownership will have to put in place to win the trust of their customers and ensure everyone stays safe. Fortunately, many of these changes are relatively easy to implement if ownership and management are willing to invest in them. Here are a few of the adjustments your restaurant will need to make in light of the “new normal”:

Touchless experiences will become more common

Many restaurants will have to adjust and make sure they are able to implement social distancing in their daily operations. It can be as simple as shifting to digital menus that allow customers to send their orders straight to the kitchen. Ms. Bel S. Castro, Assistant Dean of the College of International Hospitality Management at Enderun Colleges, also posited looking into the use of conveyor belts akin to kaitenzushi restaurants in Japan as inspiration.

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Updated food safety training is now a must for kitchen staff

Food safety has always been a priority for restaurants. In a post-COVID-19 world, however, food safety may be one of the biggest factors in helping you gain the trust and loyalty of customers. Consequently, many governing bodies around the world are looking to update food safety guidelines. This means you’ll want to invest in food safety training for your kitchen staff to ensure they are in-line with the new global standards.

There are many food safety courses, like FoodSHAP® classes, available online. These courses are affordable and help your team apply the highest food safety, storage, and handling standards in your kitchen.

Restaurant cleanliness will be highly scrutinized

It’s not just the kitchen that will need to change its safety guidelines. We can all expect customers to pay even closer attention to how clean your restaurant is in the months to come. Given this, you’ll need to adjust your restaurant’s surface cleaning guidelines to include using disinfectant after the rudimentary wipe down. At the same time, wait staff will need to wear face masks, face shields, and gloves to help convey how important customer and employee safety is to your restaurant. These are small adjustments, but these will go a long way in showing your customers that you care about their health and safety.

Management must start embracing digital services

Dine-in opportunities are expected to be severely limited by social distancing. This means restaurants will have to rely on other ways to reach and serve their customers. If you haven’t done so, now is definitely the time to invest in digital services. Joining services like Grab and FoodPanda are a perfect start and require little capital. Alternatively, you may also opt to develop your own delivery service by setting up digital ordering through Facebook or Viber.