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Steps to reopening a restaurant in COVID-19: Download our essential checklist

Conor Ward
Author Conor Ward
Restaurant table

If you are the owner or manager of a restaurant, bar or café, the chances are you’ve had to close your doors during recent months due to the COVID-19 lockdown. That’s been the case for many thousands of hospitality businesses worldwide during the crisis, with operations and revenues suddenly halted.

Thankfully, we are now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel and, for many in the hospitality sector, the idea of reopening a restaurant seems more plausible again. The pandemic has not gone away and there are major economic challenges resulting from it. However, governments in many countries have started to relax social distancing and movement restrictions, largely opening up society and business activities again.

In some parts of the world, restaurants and bars have already reopened in great numbers. Meanwhile in other countries, timelines are being put in place for hospitality businesses to restart over the coming weeks, along with other economic and leisure activities across society as a whole.

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Not simply business as usual

So, thankfully, you may find yourself in a position to begin planning the reopening of your restaurant someday soon, if you have not already done so. However, in the new altered reality of COVID-19, it’s not simply a case of reopening the doors and going back to business as usual. The virus is still active and precautionary measures are required.

Upon restarting, businesses have a serious public duty to act responsibly and do all they can to halt and prevent any further spread of the virus. This requires a series of measures and tasks to be undertaken within restaurants, bars, cafés and other hospitality outlets. It’s been widely acknowledged that putting these measures in place will involve quite a big effort, particularly where dine-in services are concerned.

However, doing this work will be well worth the effort. Putting in good planning to adapt and refine your operation for the ‘next normal’ will position you to bounce back quicker and restore strong levels of revenue.

With all that in mind, we wanted to lend you a helping hand. Our goal here is to make the process of reopening a restaurant as simple as possible for you, given all the other demands that come with restarting a business. So we’ve prepared a practical checklist to guide and assist you through it.

Steps to reopening a restaurant

The checklist highlights the key tasks you should carry out to prepare for reopening your restaurant, bar or café (or multiple outlets as part of a chain or franchise), after COVID-19 lockdown measures are relaxed.

It can be used as a practical tool and guidance document. The checklist will help you to make adjustments and put all the necessary measures in place for your business.

It covers social distancing and hygiene measures for relaunching your dine-in facility, along with important marketing and communication activities to re-engage customers and get you back on track. Taking these steps can help to ensure the overall smooth running and success of the business during this challenging time.

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Tips for using the checklist

  • The checklist is simple to use. Just print it out, pin it up on your office (or kitchen) wall and tick off the box for each of the tasks as you complete them.
  • Not all these tasks may be relevant or necessary for every business. This is a comprehensive list of key tasks - some may be mandatory and others optional for additional benefit. You should tick off the ones that do apply to your business.

Simply download the checklist below. You can print it out to use as a handy guide to reopening a restaurant. We hope it proves helpful as you get up and running again.