With the onset of COVID-19, governments shut down businesses and placed heavy restrictions on operations. In order to reopen their establishments, restaurants and retailers have had to adjust protocols to conduct business during a pandemic era. Taking a slow approach to ensure safety was at the forefront of business, restaurants and retailers have been able to attract a loyal customer base. Working with vendors has been a top priority to leverage cost efficiencies and bring essential customer service to patrons. Here are some of the innovative ways that our partners have ensured a safe experience for customers.
- Use of technology and design upgrades. Electronic and touch-free stations have become readily available to those dining out. Many restaurants and retailers greet guests in person or with large signs outlining safety procedures put in place by staff, and expectations for diners to adhere to while visiting. For example, hand sanitation stations upon entry and no-touch sinks in bathrooms are a must-have. Digital menus available on mobile devices are cost-effective and germ-free. Displaying step-by-step safety protocols throughout the building offers reassurance to guests, while adhering to legal compliances, to help retailers stay open for business.
- Expanding outdoor seating and social distancing tables provide more space for diners. It offers fewer wait times and helps restaurants boost sales. These arrangements provide a greater flow of air circulation and less concern for spreading germs. Adding new entry points to the building allows for easier traffic flow and less contact. And, bringing in more customers to dine-in and/or carry-out increases product sales.
- Energy costs are reduced by shorter dining hours, closing kitchens early, and turning the air conditioning setpoints to run less, keeping fans running and open doors for fresh airflow. The amount of trash pickups is reduced with less paper usage and food waste elimination from standardized menus. Food establishments have limited the number of items and/or types of service on their menus; i.e. salad bars and appetizer samplers to save on inventory costs and minimize health concerns.
- Adjust facilities’ timing; such as lighting and HVAC units to reflect business hours, saving energy, and controlling humidity. Monitor kitchen appliances for safety precautions. Keep employees at a six-foot distance while preparing and handling food, requiring masks and gloves of course. Continue to monitor refrigerator temperatures and clean continuously to eliminate any contamination. Turn off any equipment when not in use, only run dishwashers when full, and eliminate any truck or outside vehicle rolls when necessary.
- Minimize staffing schedules to reflect changes in business hours and delivery/take-out services. Simplified menus ensure smooth transitions of food delivery and carry out. Designate specific areas to optimize less contact and effective execution.
Attention to detail and consistency has assisted our retail and restaurant partners in successfully running a business in a new era. Always making sure that the health of employees and customers is a top priority, to guarantee the business will run smoothly and continuously during this time of uncertainty.
Are you looking for a way for your restaurants to be more cost effective with your energy bills in the new year? If so, reach out to GWT2Energy for a complimentary consultation to discuss some ways we can help get you started!