As restrictions are lifted and restaurant re-openings slowly unfold, opinions about partaking in this once go-to activity are as varied as taste buds themselves. Some diners are rushing to make a reservation, and some have more of a wait-and-see mentality.
All in all, consumers are looking for more than just what’s on the menu. They want the perfect pairing of connection and comfort, which really translates to feeling safe. Sanitization and social distancing are now part of the mix – just as much as your favorite flavors and excellent service. Restaurants are eager to deliver on these wants and needs as they welcome the return of their customers.
Here’s what diners need to know as they venture out to their favorite spots.
Reserve a table
Capacity guidelines are going to vary, so checking online to see if reservations are recommended or required will help lessen wait times and aid in the restaurant’s efficiency.
Things may look a little different
In addition to spaced out tables and common areas that allow for social distancing, certain areas may be closed, and outside seating may be expanded.
Operations will be modified
Restaurants are introducing precautions with things like touchless payment and digital or single-use menus, in addition to ongoing diligent cleaning and safety processes.
Spotlight on Safety
Restaurants have always placed great emphasis on sanitization and food safety but expect efforts to be further amplified. More frequent surface area cleaning, staff wearing PPE gear, wayfinding signage, plexiglass partitions and limited access to self-serve areas may now be the norm. Diners should visit their favorite restaurants’ website or social media channels to see (or ask) what they’re doing.
Menu selection may be more streamlined as restaurants ramp up their inventory and staffing. It’s important to remember restaurants are navigating a big shift in business. Many have been focused on convenient family-style delivery items, offering only items that travel well and are having to adapt to shortages in supply. It will take time for restaurants to return to the full menu offering that diners know and love, but a new favorite may be identified in the meantime.
Takeout and Delivery Remain Go-To
Many restaurants relied upon their takeout and delivery business to survive just as consumers relied on it for a sense of normalcy and convenience. With 50% of consumers expected to still lean heavily on takeout and delivery, restaurants will continue building this service.*
No matter what your opinion on the current guidelines, as guests, there is an opportunity to show support for the restaurant’s efforts to provide a safe environment whether it’s while dining-in or ordering out.
Working together, educated and aware, diners can once again enjoy the connection and comfort restaurants provide.
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