8 tips on how restaurants can adapt to Coronavirus

Since early January Coronavirus has rapidly spread around the world, and has now arrived on Australian shores. This pandemic is impacting nearly every aspect of our daily lives, including the restaurant industry. 

It’s been inspiring to see many restaurants, pubs and cafes adapting to this changing environment, in order to keep guests and staff safe, but also stabilise their business in these uncertain times. We want to share a list of some ideas that you can consider adopting

1. Take extra precautions… and communicate them!

We know all restaurants are taking extra precautionary measures to ensure that their guests and staff remain safe… some of the things we have seen:

  • removal of extra tables to allow for social distancing
  • hand sanitisers available upon entry
  • disinfecting tables and chairs between service
  • paper menus
  • removing salt and pepper shakers.

People are nervous in times like this, so it’s important that you tell your guests what you’re doing to help keep them safe. See tip 2 below on how to do this…

2. Increase social media activity

Now isn’t the time to go quiet… it’s time to get social (at a distance).

We don’t recommend posting pictures of an empty restaurant, rather show guests you’re still open for business with images of people enjoying themselves.

Better still, have some fun with your social media accounts and post some videos. We have seen a few examples of chefs inviting guest into their restaurants amidst the chaos but we really love this fun video that Nomad created to announce they are now offering delivery. Check it out here.

Nomad Take Away
Nomad getting social with home delivery. Source: Instagram @nomad.au

3. Offer take away and low touch pick up

With this changing environment, we need to look at changing our business model. We have seen a large amount of restaurants make the move to offer their amazing meals to enjoy at home.

BondiTony’s Burger Joint has made the call to no longer allow dine in and will be moving to 100% takeaway and delivery… to make the wait worthwhile, you can also grab a margarita or beer!

Bondi Tonys Delivery and Takeaway
Enjoy a Margi or beer while you wait. Source: Instagram @bonditonysburgerjoint

4. 3rd party delivery services like Deliveroo or UberEats

With the increase of ‘self isolation’, many more people will be dining from the comfort of their own home.

If you don’t have the infrastructure to allow for online ordering or delivery services, the best way is to sign up with an existing platform, like Deliveroo or UberEats, that can handle all of the logistics.

5. Focus on your costs

During uncertain times, it’s important to keep a close eye on your costs. Some areas where you can strip out costs:

  • reduce the menu: it will reduce the amount of inventory you need to order as well as labour costs to prepare the meals
  • remove non-essential costs: if you have any personal expenses that run through the business that aren’t essential (e.g. Spotify, Netflix or even personal gym memberships) put them on hold
  • remove under performers: this is a tough one, but if you’re looking to get through this process, it might be a good time to look at your staff and keep the A-players and lose people that aren’t performing.

6. Support now, dine later!

Offering gift cards not only helps with cashflow, it also allows your regular customers and fans to show their support through this difficult time.

Nel Restaurant has executed this amazingly well and has taken it even further by offering 20% off a Nel dining experience…

Support now, dine later - Giftcards
Source: Instagram @nelrestaurant

7. Check out the governments Economic Response to the Coronavirus

The government has responded to this pandemic with a $17.6 billion economic response and there are some areas that may support hospitality business owners. Things to look out for include boosting cash flow for employers as well as wage assistance for apprentices and trainees. Follow the link for more information.

8. Look after yourself

We saved the most important until last… which is your self care!

In the hospitality industry chefs give and give and give… but with stress levels climbing each day with this pandemic, it’s important that you remember to look after yourself.

Get out for some exercise (at a comfortable social distance) or give meditation a go… you can check out apps like Calm, it can help walk you through your first meditation experience.

Be adaptable

The coronavirus is a very fluid situation at the moment, so it’s important to keep an eye on the latest updates and stay flexible. The market is changing and it’s going to be tough, we really hope you all can adapt to this new world and flourish through the other side.

If there is anything we can do at Life on the Pass to support you, please reach out to us.