Ideas For Building A Restaurant That Is Corona Safe
Within a matter of weeks, the coronavirus closed countless restaurants around the world and instantly changed the food industry. There are more than one million restaurants in the United States alone that had to figure out how to adjust and change their business plans to match with new regulations for health and safety. Entrepreneurs who had recently made a business acquisition of a property or a building space but hadn’t started construction were left in a predicament. They waited for instruction on the next steps they could take and had to decide where to delay construction or try to sell their property in an impossible market.
As more information has come out and steps forward have been implemented, owners now find themself figuring out how to build and open a restaurant during a worldwide pandemic. Not only do they have to figure out how to market and show customers dining with them is safe, but they also have to figure out construction loans in a challenging economy, and hire building teams during a strange season. It seems like an impossible task. While the building process may still look fairly similar, there are quite a few new additions and considerations business owners have to consider as they prepare to build or renovate their restaurant during the times of Covid-19. Here are some tips, tricks, and restaurant dining room ideas to implement as you start.
Safety Questions To Consider Before Starting Construction
As you work with commercial builders to make a construction plan, there are a few questions you can use as a checklist to make sure that your construction plan will allow for a “corona-safe” space.
- What layout will be best in the long run but will also create the lowest-risk of virus transmission possible?
- What materials can we use to make sanitation and cleaning as easy as possible?
- How can we limit self-serve areas?
- How can we create as much space as possible for employees to practice social distancing?
Remember that corona regulations may change as time goes along. While it’s extremely important now to create a space where social distancing can be practiced and everyone is safe, you don’t want to build a space that only serves that and would not be realistic in the future when regulations are changed. Get your basic layout down first and then consider temporary options for restaurant dining room ideas that can make the space “corona-safe”, such as plexiglass barriers or barriers.
Key Steps In The Building Process
While you will undoubtedly need to make some extra considerations for restaurant dining room ideas that will keep your space “corona-safe”, you also need to ensure that the most important aspects of your building are properly done so that your building will be both safe and long-lasting.
Whether you’re building a new restaurant or moving into a pre-existing space, you need to be sure that the roof is in good shape. Having issues with your roof can lead to not only expensive issues but can also become a health hazard. Roofs that have leaks or have been installed incorrectly can have issues with mold or mildew that creates an unsafe environment for food to be prepared and handled in. Make sure to do your research to find the best companies that provide commercial roofing services to either install a new roof or repair your current roof. Based on the materials used, you can expect a properly installed roof to last anywhere from 10 to 40 years.
The next thing you’ll want to check over as you either build or update a restaurant space is the HVAC system. In a restaurant, you are trying to provide a good all-around experience with both food and ambiance for your guests. The temperature and climate of your restaurant have to be comfortable for your guests to enjoy their experience and want to come back. Heating and air conditioning installations are one of the most important things you should consider as you work on your restaurant dining room ideas and layout.
The HVAC not only affects your guests, but it will also impact your food. If you can’t properly cool down your restaurant space during a hot summer, you may have issues with food melting or not holding its integrity. If you have problems with heating a restaurant during winter, warm food won’t stay at the right temperature, or it will take longer to cook. Either way, make sure you stay on top of your HVAC services not only for the guests’ benefit but also to ensure the best food comes out of your kitchen.
Be careful with the delivery of your unit as well. Make sure that there is no damage before it’s installed so as to prevent future need for repairs once it’s in place. You can check out local forklift dealers to find a machine that can be used to move your unit.
Plumbing is extremely important in any public venue. Guests will need to use the restroom, you will need to ensure that you have clean, running water for both food prep and guests needs, and you definitely want to ensure that sewage is properly removed from the premises. Plumbing services are essential when building or renovating a space, so make sure you take the time to find a plumber that will help you get the best possible result.
Electricity is another extremely important element that you will need to ensure is done right when building or renovating a restaurant. Electricity is vital for any building, but specifically, with a restaurant you will want to make sure your electrical system can handle all of the different tools and devices that need to be plugged in at once. Work with a commercial electrician to ensure that you have a strong system that can hold up to your needs.
Covid-19 Regulations And Examples For Implementation
Each state has different regulations for restaurants based on a phased opening or rules decided on by the state government. Check on the specific regulations for your state before you move forward with the building process. There are a few regulations that are fairly similar across the states. Here are some of those regulations and examples and restaurant dining room ideas for how to follow said regulations in your restaurant.
As some states open in phases, there have been regulations put in place to limit the occupancy allowed for guests in the restaurant at a given time. For example, Washington State regulations allow for 50% occupancy in both phases two and three of their reopening plan. This number does not include employees, however. There may also be a specific limit to how many guests can be included in a party. Using Washington as an example again, no more than five people can be seated at a table at once. Parties larger than that have to be split between separate tables.
As far as restaurant dining room ideas for lower capacity, you shouldn’t have to change much about the layout of your space. You may need to create different server zones and charts to ensure that guests don’t get bunched in one section, leaving another server with no one to help.
Bar And Counter-Seating
If your restaurant has a bar or counter seating area, you will have to check the regulations in your area to see whether guests can sit there or not. Many states have restricted seating at bars or counters entirely because of the close proximity guests would be in as well as the bartender. Some states allow counter-seating in some areas where guests can still maintain a distance of six feet between them and the restaurant employees. Sushi restaurants where the food is delivered via a conveyor belt is a great example of the type of counter seating that could still be permitted.
If you have a bar or counter-seating in your restaurant or plan to, there are a few restaurant dining room ideas you can put into place to keep your restaurant corona safe. If you have a bar but can’t use it for seating, you may consider converting it to a to-go order station. That way you can keep tables open for seating. If you have counter space, simply space out the seating so groups are at least six feet apart. You will also want to make sure your employees stay six feet back from guests as well if they’re working at the counter. Another great idea is to install commercial paving beneath counter seating, especially if it’s outside. This makes it easier to clean and keep sanitized.
Buffet Or Self-Service Stations
Buffets and self-service stations at restaurants are one of the areas where strict regulations have been placed as well. Many restaurants have closed their buffet sections or changed it so guests tell an employee what they’d like and the employee serves and delivers the food. Some have reopened their buffets but with increased regulations.
If you have a self-service or buffet area and plan to have it open, here are a few tips for how to keep it as safe as possible:
- Place sneeze guards over the food and sanitize them often
- Sanitize the serving utensils guests use often
- Discard any food that has been or has possibly been contaminated
- Have an employee monitor the area to make sure everything is clean and handled properly
- Have hand sanitizer available for guests to use
The Center For Disease Control and many other large entities have endorsed “social-distancing” or “physical-distancing” since the spread of Covid-19 began. Social-distancing is the practice of putting six feet of space between you and others. This creates a distance where the germs from respiratory droplets are less likely to reach. In almost every business you enter, you’ll see signs that support the practice of social-distancing in their space.
Social distancing is not something that changes per state. The regulation of six-feet between people is practiced across the country. As you work with limited occupancy, that may also work to your advantage of practicing social distancing as well. One of the best restaurant dining room ideas for allowing for social distancing is to alternate the tables you seat guests at. Making sure there is an empty table between tables with guests should give you the six-feet necessary to practice safety.
Another great option on the list of restaurant dining room ideas for social distancing and safety is to place tape or signs on the ground to help guests visually see six-feet and know how far to stand from other guests. You may also consider creating alternate routes for guests to walk so they aren’t passing directly next to tables with other guests seated.
Safety Is Key
The thing to remember most as you build a restaurant and plan to run a business that is “corona-safe” is it’s always better to error towards safety and precaution. Even if your state doesn’t have some of the regulations others do, people want to feel safe while they’re out. Do everything you can to ensure the safety of your guests and your employees. Put out hand sanitizing stations. Post signs that ask people to wear masks while they aren’t eating. Sanitize all surfaces after they’ve come in contact with people. There are quite a few restaurant dining room ideas you can put in place to be safe. While there are quite a few things that go into running a successful restaurant business, health and safety have made their way to the first to be considered.
As you build or redesign your restaurant amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, you will have to learn quite a few tips and restaurant dining room ideas to make your space safe for serving guests. While it may be a difficult process, people are still dining out or ordering food to be delivered, maybe now more than ever. As long as you take the right precautions to keep yourself, your employees, and your guests safe, you can still open and run a successful restaurant business, even during a pandemic.