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4 Innovative Ways to Open a Restaurant During a Pandemic

January 06, 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose many challenges for restaurants, both economically and logistically. So, does that mean restaurateurs can’t fulfill their dreams of opening restaurants? The good news is, the pandemic doesn’t mean you have to give up on your culinary dreams. Through innovation and planning, your establishment can survive these times and stand out in significant ways! Our restaurant supply and wholesale food store shares all you need to know.

How Do You Open a Restaurant During a Pandemic?

Opening a restaurant is always tricky initially, which is even more true during these unprecedented times. However, you can still open your establishment with these four industry tips from our restaurant supply and wholesale food store. In fact, now might be the perfect time to launch your epicurean empire. 

1. Safety First

With COVID-19 still a concern, consumers are gravitating to restaurants that take safety seriously. When planning out your restaurant design, think about all the safety requirements laid out by your county. Have clear signage explaining policies, make sanitizer and hand washing available for guests and staff, and adequately space seating according to social distancing guidelines. 

Make sanitizer and hand washing available for guests and staff.

To stand out, go beyond the required minimums. Consider investing in:

  • Powerful HEPA air filtration and tabletop air purifiers for indoor dining.
  • Spacious patio spaces with heaters for winter weather.
  • Separate walk-up windows for takeout orders.

2. Burst on the Scene with a Pop-Up 

Temporary restaurants are a fantastic way to test your culinary concept, fine-tune menus, and create buzz. Like food trucks, opening a pop-up involves less of an upfront investment. However, the mystique surrounding a dining experience that’s here one day and gone the next entices people to experience your cuisine sooner rather than later. 

Pop-ups still have the same safety requirements as permanent restaurants, but their temporary nature allows for more innovative dining spaces. Winter dining in RESY’s Yurt Villages combined a unique eating adventure with social distance pods to keep diners safe. For your pop-up, think outside of the box in terms of menu and atmosphere. When dining returns to a level of normality, you’ll already have a fan base waiting to visit your brick-and-mortar.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage 

The embracing of technology by restaurateurs has been an upward trend even before COVID-19. Now restaurant owners are getting even savvier and utilizing tech to help maintain safety and monitor products. 

Use technology to your advantage.

  • Use existing technologies to reduce financial burdens: Portland, Oregon’s Kachka converted a large parking lot into an al fresco dining experience for the summer. Instead of having traditional table service, guests place orders directly from their cell phone while seated. To maximize the experience, the new restaurant dubbed Kachka Alfresca amped up the decor with kitschy 90s vibes and lots of vibrant oilcloth table covers that were not only colorful but easy to clean. 
  • Take your restaurant online: Don’t shy away from taking advantage of the virtual space. Hosting online cooking classes, wine tastings, and mixology lessons that pair with your menu can create excitement around your new restaurant and establish a dedicated customer base. Why not plan an online soft opening to launch a few days before the physical opening. Offer introductory specials, a virtual meet-and-greet with the chef, and more!
  • Seek system integration: COVID-19 affects various aspects of restaurants. Price increases, lack of access to products, and ever changing opening guidelines all impact the day-to-day operations. Integrating multiple management systems, like linking inventory tracking with digital menu boards, allows you to instantly make necessary changes. That goes a long way to keep customers happy and informed.  

4. Take Your Restaurant On the Road 

Many restaurateurs got their start cruising down the culinary lane with a food truck. Mobile kitchens allow new restaurant owners to go where the action is, expand their creative horizons, and reduce overhead. In fact, since COVID-19 first emerged, restaurants on wheels have seen a resurgence. Plus, food trucks seem to have a little more flexibility in restaurant closure restrictions and can promote social distancing

Your Restaurant Supply and Wholesale Food Store

No matter where your new culinary venture takes you, we’re your one-stop-shop for all your restaurant needs. We provide high-quality products at competitive prices, easy online shopping and pickup through Click&Carry, and top-notch customer service at all of our locations. Don’t have time to stop by? No problem! Through third-party delivery, you can get your supplies in a pinch. Contact us today to set up an account.  

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