In times of uncertainty the importance of a strong community is paramount. Chefs and restaurateurs across North America have been sharing examples of adaptations made to their operations in order to increase transparency to their guests and sustain their businesses. We have compiled a list of some these impactful measures here:

1. Stay informed

This is a fluid situation and countries, states, provinces, and local governments are implementing policies suited for their communities. Know where to get the most up to date information that will impact your business.1 2

2. Sanitization 

Nominate a champion for each shift to coach and monitor that the team is taking extra precautions with food handling.3

3. Employee safety 

Regularly check in with staff, make sure they don’t feel they need to come to work if they are not feeling well; it is ok to stay home.

4. Reach out to guests

Tell them you are open and taking precautions to ensure their safety, control your message, misinformation can spread quickly.

5. Promote an environment of well-being

Eliminate touch screens, create more space by eliminating a few tables, in accordance with the notion of social distancing.

6. Consider delivery

If not in your current business model add it, encourage wait-staff to participate to make up for lost tips, stock up on take out containers.

7. Curbside pickup

Even if you are permitted to operate your dining room with little service disruption (make sure you understand your local authority's current guidance) many of your guests may be uncomfortable with eating out. Offer to bring their meal to their car. If you have an online ordering platform, dedicate staff to create a roll up ordering station.

8. Streamline your menu

Stick to your top dishes, postpone LTOS and the daily special, it will allow for inevitable staff reductions and for less inventory.

9. Family style – review your menu

What mains and sides can you bundle into meals that will serve 2,4, 6 and 8 people? Offer them for delivery or pick up.

10. Remove self-serve areas

No condiment stations, buffets or salad bars; if you need them, staff them to be served or move to Portion Control packs.

11. Offer gift card discounts

Post-date the value for use in the future. Reward customers who come in often with gift cards for future meals, reach out to regulars and thank them for their loyal business.

12. Evaluate your supply chain

Disruptions may occur either from staff shortages in the warehouse or with your distributors drivers. Check in to see if you can change your delivery day or lower minimums. Ask to be alerted if their inventories will be impacted by import delays so you can adjust your menu.

13. Small business economic resources

Know where to go for information4 on important measures and resources that can aid in sustaining your business in the event of cash flow disruption.