The hospitality industry heaved a sigh of relief when the Lagos state government, on the 1st of August 2020, announced the opening of dine-in services for restaurants. The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu also mentioned that social clubs and recreational centres will be opened, although with slight restrictions.
While we are all very excited about this development, it is still very apparent that Covid-19 is still very present in our city, with less than 80,000 tests carried out in a city that occupies over 20 million people, Lagosians have every reason to be worried and concerned for their health and safety.
However, the show must go on! Not only are party goers and restaurant diners itching to go out, but restaurant operators have also endured a painstaking five months of empty spaces and for some, a complete shutdown. The new restrictions also give Lagosians some respite and although these places have to adhere to strict rules spelt out in the provisional safety compliance rules by the state government. If they are going to follow these rules is another article for another day.
For restaurants approved to open from the 14th of August, here are some ways to ensure that you provide a safe environment for your guests while delivering the best services. Putting the safety measures in place to protect your guests and staff is very key to more patronage this period, imagine the PR crisis that can occur if someone reportedly gets infected at your restaurant.
1. Utilize outdoor spaces: If your restaurant has a fairly large parking space, try to limit the use to 50% so that you can use the outdoor space to accommodate more guests. It not only creates a different ambience, especially in the evenings, it ensures enough social distancing between your guests.
2. Go Contactless: To reduce contact between guests and staff, you should explore all avenues of automated service. One of the most common contact points is at payment, ordering and serving. You can upload your menu to your website/social media pages and encourage guests to use these platforms. You can also use a barcode in the restaurant to lodge your menu. For payment, encourage guests to make pre-payment/ transfers.
3. Limit crowd with pre-booking: Encourage your guests to make prior bookings and orders before visiting the restaurants. This will ensure you keep the number of guests in check and adhere to the 50% rule. This applies especially when you have a smaller space and a lot of patrons.
4. Customer Relationship Management – This is the time to set up your CRM system to keep records of all guests and keep them informed. Remember to use digital tools to ease the process.
5. Serve Treats: Customer service has never been more important than at this time. To encourage your customers and appreciate them for taking the courage to visit your restaurants despite the health risks, serve them treats and offer perks, which could be in the form of discounts or drinks on the house. Be sure to treat your customers with utmost kindness to drive repeat visits.
6. Ensure Internal Safety- Your staff must continue to observe a safety protocol. Use face masks at all times, ensure your meal preparation is according to standards, and station sanitizers at every contact point-the gate, every door and every table. Deploy automatic handwash and dispenser systems to reduce contact. You should also ensure that tables are properly disinfected once guests leave and ensure all procedures are carried out with utmost precaution. For guests, take temperature checks and you can install an automated disinfectant system.
7. Keep your customers informed: What use is it if you put all measures in place but no one is visiting? Communicate your new routines and service structure to your potential guests. Use digital platforms to keep them informed and well updated on any changes. You can hit us up for a tour of your restaurant to showcase the measures you have put in place and assure your customers of the best service experience.