Restaurants are at the heart of American society. People gather to eat, drink, and connect with friends and family in these public venues. But the Covid-19 pandemic combined with the upcoming winter will be doubly stressful for restauranteurs. Here’s how to prepare for the winter season.
The 2020-21 winter will be drastically different from previous ones. The ongoing threat of coronavirus transmissions combined with the rise in influenza cases during winter will be a major public health challenge. Restaurants will need to revamp to continue to attract customers.
In the coronavirus era, restaurants are faced with satisfying government mandates designed to help curb the spread of infection. Limited patron capacities and seating arrangements or tables that are spread out six feet apart are now common—if not expected—in restaurants.
Despite the public health concern surrounding the highly contagious coronavirus, people still want to experience good times; and restaurants are ideal places where memorable moments can unfold. But for restaurants to thrive in the trying, colder months ahead, adjustments are in order.
1. Install Sneeze Guards
Design changes to the restaurant’s physical environment will be necessary to protect patrons. Physical barriers, like sneeze guards, may be seen as unpleasant interruptions to a restaurant’s unique style. Alternately, sneeze guards can be an opportunity to integrate aesthetics with health safety.
Restaurant patrons will be safer and feel more comfortable when partitions between tables are installed. Custom designed partitions, for instance, offer privacy to dine-in guests while allowing restaurants to maintain safe indoor environments that limit the spread of viruses and germs.
2. Mandate Face Coverings
Restaurant employees may be mandated by state and local laws to wear face masks when interacting with the public. Restaurant owners are encouraged to also require that customers wear face coverings when picking up orders or dining in. Be aware of medical exceptions to wearing face masks.
Restauranteurs might even go a step further to promote their business by having a company logo printed on face masks worn by staff. Restaurant owners should be financially prepared to provide these customized masks to employees. Patrons in turn appreciate restaurants that help them feel safer.
3. Offer Delivery/Pick Up
Innovative restaurants now offer takeout and delivery in addition to dine-in options. Online ordering is the primary tool that restaurants use to stay afloat during these challenging times. Even if an existing business model does not cater to takeout options, it is important to pivot to survive.
If the current health crisis were to prompt another nationwide shutdown this winter, restaurants would have to remain indefinitely closed to dine-in guests. Some states are already restricting dining in. Offering delivery or curbside pickup allows customers to support local restaurants while having a contactless method to receive food.
Amidst dining closures and harsh winters, restaurant patrons will turn to food delivery services, like Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash. It is in the best interests of restaurants to partner with third-party resources to maintain momentum despite Covid-19 concerns and bleak winter weather.
4. Invest in Heating Elements
The chill of winter may prevent some customers from dining at restaurants. By investing in a range of outdoor heating contraptions, restaurants will continue to draw patrons. Powerful radiant space heaters can transform a cold outdoor dining area into one that feels like a cozy indoor space.
Upon obtaining clearance from local fire officials, restauranteurs with optimal space might elect to build a fire pit or outdoor fireplace to entice guests. Especially for restaurants that are located in colder climates, extending warmth to guests during the height of winter encourages their continued support.
When choosing to offer outdoor dining during the winter months, consider investing in furniture that is built to withstand the elements. Sturdy patio furniture that will not warp, discolor, or peel in high heat or subfreezing temperatures is ideal. Plus, this practical investment saves on replacement furniture.
Pre-wrapped blankets might be made available to guests when space heaters fail to keep them sufficiently warm. Consider loaning the blankets or offer them for a small fee. Due to the coronavirus and the spread of winter germs, restaurants will not be able to reuse these blankets.
Covid-19 concerns have also prompted many businesses to offer outdoor dining. Sidewalks and parking lots that have remained empty since the start of the pandemic are now being smartly utilized as dining areas. Heat lamps in these revamped spaces go a long way in keeping guests warm, safe, and happy.
The changes now being made by restauranteurs to serve the immediate needs of customers may extend well into the future. Remember that the hospitality industry operates in cycles. According to industry experts, new design elements that are incorporated into a restaurant can last for 15 to 20 years.
One thing that does not change, however, is the dependability and professionalism of your local cooking oil collection company, Mahoney Environmental. Restaurants continue to rely on us for our prompt service, industry experience and flexible scheduling. We’re available to meet your cooking oil needs.
Restaurants also count on Mahoney Environmental for the delivery of fresh cooking oil. We offer a Preferred Oil Program, a comprehensive service that includes the installation and maintenance of equipment, pickup of used cooking oil, recycling, and delivery of fresh cooking oil.
As winter patrons continue to bustle through your restaurant doors or order online, you’ll need a clean grease trap. Mahoney Environmental technicians are available for indoor and outdoor grease trap maintenance in commercial kitchens and to ensure that grease is safely removed.
We are also an environmentally conscious company. Mahoney Environmental turns recycled cooking oil into renewable resources, like biofuel and animal feed. Our specialists will even build a recycling program that suits the needs of your staff and customers and protects the environment.
Successful restauranteurs understand the need for timely collections of used cooking oil. When you aim to thrive each season, call Mahoney Environmental for all your cooking oil recycling, pick-up and delivery needs. We offer a reliable nationwide network to meet restaurant demands.