Covid-19 has delivered the foodservice sector an unprecedented challenge. Shutting with a moment’s notice was very hard to plan for but even with both hands tied behind our backs the sector has done what it always does – thought on its feet and adapted. 

This is a time to review operations from the point of view of safety and sustainability as well as revenue generation and capitalise on the trends and changes in behaviour that have emerged during lockdown. 

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63%

Of operators are most concerned about a lack of customers and financial insecurity on re-opening

25%

Have moved to a delivery during COVID-19 and will continue after re-opening

98%

Are willing and able to focus on environmental and social sustainability on re-opening

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How to Re-Open Right

 

Put Safety First

Diversify your Revenue

Source for a New Menu

Communicate

Put Safety first

Customers
Consider table spacing, in all likelihood, you will need to reorganize your floor plan and layout to follow latest social distancing advice. Ensure you are using any alfresco area you have to its full advantage. Design queuing and waiting lines according to precautionary measures and consider installing physical barriers. Provide no-touch trash cans and disposable towels or tissues for customers. Hang hand washing signs in restrooms, replace bin bags frequently in all areas and implement contact-less payment and if possible, go cashless.
Staff
Where possible, establish alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, allowing them to maintain distance from one another. Government have outlined guidance on shift working and staggering processes, which recommends only having essential staff on site at one time. You may want to develop policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees and customers. Ensure good hygiene practices using this government checklist and remind staff and diners of the latest public health advice with these posters, leaflets and other materials.
The Restaurant Building
Check all your equipment is working efficiently. (HVAC, fire alarm (use the test), consider replacing air filters frequently, check sinks, pipes and fridge/freezers for leaks. Check your lightbulbs and consider switching to LED.
Food & packaging
The UK Government and guidance states clearly that it is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. The WHO advises that the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is very low. However, you should make sure you are following Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) guidance on good hygiene practices. Also useful for reference is this European Commission report on COVID-19 and food safety 

Diversify your revenue

Delivery
Planning rules were relaxed on 17 March 2020 to allow pubs and restaurants to operate for 12 months as hot food and drinks takeaways and since then there has been a dramatic increase in usage. According to YouGov, health-conscious consumers are increasingly moving towards food delivery apps. This consumer group is more likely to be attracted by veg-led options and is also willing to pay more for goods without artificial additives. Make sure you’re following the government’s guidance on allergens and provide information about portion sizes to avoid over ordering and unnecessary food waste. For reference, use the chartered institute of environmental health’s Food Delivery and Takeaway Guidance
Produce boxes
Many restaurants have teamed up with their existing produce suppliers to supply their customers with fresh and wholesome produce.  During the pandemic, 3m people have tried a veg box scheme or ordered food from a local farm for the very first time. Look to the WheatsheafLussmanns and Gladwin Brothers for inspiration.
Mealkits
Demand for mealkits has shot up during the covid-19 pandemic and foodservice businesses with a strong brand/product, could look at producing mealkits as a way of capitalising on demand for their food. Look at Mindful ChefHonest Burgers, Patty & Bun, Pizza Pilgrims’s ‘frying pan’ pizzas for inspiration.

sourCE for a new menu

Source locally & seasonally
Use resources like this one to get started with local and seasonal sourcingSee what’s in season and forge links with local growers to reduce food miles and boost your local economy.
Find local suppliers
Use social media to find local suppliers, they will probably have an increased presence at the moment as they try to sell direct to consumers. Additionally, lots of local councils have collated information on local suppliers who are still active, check out your local council’s website. Farmer’s shops may be a good option for some restaurants, but not larger businesses.
Find sustainable produce
These supply chain aggregators provide lots of information about sustainable production methods: Farmdrop, Natoora, Foodchain, Pale Green Dot, Fresh Range and Tried and Supplied.
Highlight sustainable options
Use the WRI’s behaviour change playbook to ensure your menu encourages diners to choose more sustainable options. 
Avoid waste
Complete a regular food inventory and select ingredients that will work in a range of recipes to avoid food waste. Service is likely to fluctuate during the initial opening period. Check your inventory is thorough and consider carrying it our more regularly so you can adapt your menu and supply as needed.

communicate

Keep in touch
Maintain communication with your customers – if you don’t they’ll think you’re closed for good. Start tempting people with delivery, a cooking channel or quiz? 
Make sure people feeling safe
Shout about the measures you’re taking to ensure their safety.
Create a new marketing plan
There are some great articles such as this guide from Thoughtfully: How the hospitality industry will make a comeback from coronavirus.
Tell the sustainability story
If your new menu is built around ingredients from local suppliers tell their story. Build on the environmental and social dividends that have been the only upsides of the crisis, share your and plant positive and community stories.
Think local
More people than ever are connecting with local news sources. Connect with local businesses– Talk to your neighbouring businesses over the internet and see if you can forge new local relationships. Harness the power of street WhatsApp group.

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