Published 21 Jul 2023
Temporary Closure of Cafes and Restaurants
Many businesses across industries suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and the hospitality industry is not exempt from its effects. Cafe and restaurant businesses have to restrict people dining in and transition to take-out and delivery options. Some have responded to this demand, but others have had to close up temporarily. This temporary closure has side effects on different aspects of the businesses, including food safety, hygiene, housekeeping, and maintenance.
Cafe and restaurant businesses planning to reopen may encounter issues depending on their location, PPE availability, people management, and implementation of new precautionary measures. Business owners have the responsibility to plan ahead and manage health and safety risks as they resume their business operations, especially as government restrictions and guidelines evolve.
In this article
- Cafe and Restaurant Reopening Tips
- 4 Key Areas to Inspect Prior to Cafe and Restaurant Reopening
- Technology to Help Streamline Reopening Operations
- Featured Cafe and Restaurant Reopening Checklists
Cafe and Restaurant Reopening Tips
Cafes and restaurants have begun reopening their doors to the public when it is safe to do so. This doesn’t guarantee, however, that the ongoing risks of the pandemic have materially changed, so it is paramount for businesses to ensure safety before commencing business reopening. Restrictions or policies change depending on the progressive number of COVID-19 positive cases. The following tips can help in planning a business reopening:
- Revise employee policies and require employees to wear face masks and shields at all times.
- As part of the new routine, employees should practice frequent hand washing and strictly comply with hygienic practices.
- Encourage customers to use cashless transactions.
- Use QR codes and other contactless payment systems to avoid physical contact.
Cafe and Restaurant Design
- Maximize the use of kiosks and come up with ways to order that avoid physical contact as much as possible.
- Space out tables and install dividers to practice physical distancing.
- Cap the number of customers who can dine for a period of time.
- Transform indoor spaces into smaller areas.
- Invest in outdoor seating as it is safer than contained spaces.
- Assign personnel to check customer and employees’ temperature before entering business premises.
- Use full-body disinfecting systems before entering the premises.
- Create customer logs and have customers register with their names and addresses for possible contact tracing.
4 Key Areas to Inspect Prior to Cafe and Restaurant Reopening
It is crucial for business owners to ensure the safety of their premises prior to reopening their business. Conducting inspections is necessary to secure a healthy environment for their customers and employees. The following key areas should be inspected prior to cafe or restaurant reopening:
This is the most crowded area in a restaurant or cafe because this is where customers gather to enjoy their food. It is important to disinfect this area and redesign it according to physical and social distancing guidelines.
The kitchen is the center of food preparation and other services. It is critical to keep it hygienic to avoid food contamination and foodborne illnesses. Sanitize all kitchen tools and ensure all staff adheres to hygiene and safety procedures.
During the temporary closure, there may have been perishable goods left in the stockroom that have gone beyond their shelf life. Check your inventory and look at the expiry dates of all stock items and dispose of them if necessary. Check for pest infestation and ensure all stocks are in good condition.
This is often overlooked when reopening a business, but it is important to address the issue of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Check the ventilation systems and observe if there is airtightness within the property. This can lead to customer suffocation or even fatalities. Also, check the water systems for the visibility of Legionella bacteria.
Technology to Help Streamline Reopening Operations
In order to protect the health of the general public, as well as thrive from a business perspective, compliance with organizational and regulatory standards is vital to the reopening and operation of cafes and restaurants. Using SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor), cafes and restaurants can take advantage of an easy-to-use, mobile-ready app to streamline not only restaurant reopening inspections but the entire safety and quality initiative.
To get you started we have collected cafe and restaurant reopening checklists designed to help businesses get back on track after closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and manage evolving government guidelines simply.
Please note that this screening checklist is a hypothetical example and provides basic information only. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such a checklist is permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Featured Cafe and Restaurant Reopening Checklists
This food premises assessment report was converted using SafetyCulture by the City of Canada Bay. It is used by environmental health officers to assess if food businesses follow COVID-19 precautionary standards, including those related to staff hygiene, cleanliness, and business operations. This assessment report is based on guidance in the Safe Food Australia (2001) publication A Guide to the Food Safety Standards.
This restaurant reopening - COVID-19 checklist is used by Stine Enterprises to inspect their premises if it complies with the “new normal” standards. SafetyCulture’s reference feature allows them to include best-practice reference images in their template to assist in inspections. Floor plans are also added to visually refer to and mark social distancing pathways for guests and to indicate close tables.
This hospitality industry task sheet is based upon the guidance issued by the UK Hospitality Trade Association. It is used to assess the understanding of staff in compliance with the “new normal” precautionary measures. This checklist includes inspection items related to handwashing, cleaning, food services, deliveries, and more.