Battered Bar and Restaurant Industry Prepare for Another Covid-19 Wave

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According to the Johns Hopkins University, US Covid-19 cases are starting to hit record highs again across America. With summer season ending and cooler fall and autumn with us, will eventually bring the colder winter weather ahead for the holiday season, it’s imperative that hospitality industry operators brace yet again for what seems as inevitable shut downs proceed this winter. Many parts of the country starting from the mid-west states and down to Colorado have limitations beginning again.  With the colder weather the 55-65° Fahrenheit cutoff for comfortable outdoor seating, this will undoubtedly force guests inside to limited seating.

It’s obvious fact that the industry operates on razor thin profit margins, and currently places around the country are again reducing inside capacities to 25%, and further restricting the sale of higher profitable alcoholic drink sales, will create a synergistic effect of battering an industry already on the ropes and making for a cruel long lonely winter.

The restaurant and bar industry are tenacious in their ability to transform itself to the needs of their customers. Those who are resistant to accept these forced changes may pay dearly through this season. Many take-out and quick service establishments were better prepared for the initial shut downs with many seeing increased profits while more traditional eateries and bars suffered greatly by being caught off guard and ill prepared to shift to smooth take-out service for food and beverage that is simultaneously safe for customers and employees.

As many operators quickly discovered that on the fly transition to take out services was slow and cumbersome to bring themselves up to speed. With the re-openings across the country, coupled seemingly with the pandemic fatigue of the virus’s ebb and flow of operator’s ability to finally begin some resemblance of normal business, can all once again come to an abrupt halt. This isn’t over and for survival one must be prepared.

It’s essential for operators of traditional eating and drinking establishments to better prepare themselves for a very smooth flow for their take-out services of food and drink. It might seem a large task to reinvent oneself to cater to this type of service, but it may be the means to survival. What might work in your restaurant, may not work efficiently for takeout services. A traditional cream-based menu item may be very successful in your operations, but most likely won’t be a winner 20 plus minutes later and a customer’s kitchen table. Proper food costing and menu redevelopment might be in order. Many operators who have been successful in the transition to take out services have developed all new take-out specific menus.

Equally important is to create but moreover strictly follow Covid-19 safety protocols – it’s essential.

Safety protocols with employees is imperative. Operators have a duty to have best practices in place to protect the public from possibly contracting the virus. This can further exacerbate the virus breakouts, but also tarnish the brand when word may get out from tracers that the viral origin came from your establishment. The hygiene and safety protocols of employees are extremely important as well. A Covid-19 break out in an establishment can be devastating if a good amount of staff become ill, possibly shutting down operations, halting revenue generation, and wasting of product. Employee safety standards should also permeate into the tight kitchen and/or bar quarters, as well as, employee break rooms and gathering spots. You may have seemingly everything wired tight and numerous employees all take off their masks off to share a smoke which could hamstring all the careful efforts. Resiliency in following these checklists carefully is paramount.

Specific checklists should be developed and followed closely several times a day to ensure the safety of the public and employees. These safety checklists if utilized properly just might end up being the difference between remaining open or closing, or moreover possibly saving lives.

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