The coronavirus pandemic had shut out all and any desires we had to dine out, go out with friends, and have a good old time. However, as dining out resumes, experts say that it is safe to dine outdoors. Longer days and warmer temperatures in themselves have increased the need for outdoor dining. A survey conducted with the best restaurateurs, hotel managers and some institutions considered to be the best culinary schools in India and across the world, has revealed some great tips to resume dining experiences in the new normal.
- Take Advantage Of Relaxed Permits
Cities across the country have started relaxing their guidelines for dining out and restaurants should utilize this to their advantage. Once restaurants acquire the appropriate permissions and permits to execute an outdoor dining experience, you can think about the next steps. Check with local government authorities about regulations and related formalities in your area.
- Start Slow
Rolling out dining out immediately might not be an advisable step. Many restaurants around the world were first reopened for delivery and takeaway and gradually they started rolling out areas for people to enjoy their to-go meals.
- Embrace Surroundings
Your immediate surroundings and restaurant premises only provide for seating for so many people. In these situations, embracing nature around you and converting these natural settings into fine dining experiences can cater well to those who wish for idyllic settings amid challenging times.
- Safety and Distancing Guidelines
Regardless of whether you’re opting for indoor or outdoor dining, the most important factor that should not be compromised is social distancing. You can change things around in your setup and consult a few designers to ensure that diners feel safe and comfortable sharing meals in a public space.
- Set Expectations With Guests Upfront
Even though you are now open for business, it’s probably not going to be the same. First and foremost, assure incoming customers that you have tried to make the premises as safe as humanly possible. Informing customers of rules to keep in mind to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for other diners should be communicated immediately. Make an addition to your menu if it is deemed necessary.
- Make Smart Outdoor Decor Investments
The best hospitality management colleges in India and across the world are now teaching students how to maintain safety and balance in the post-COVID world. Complimenting this need to create better customer experiences is investing in smart outdoor decor. Solar-powered lights could really help with not only cost-saving but also help forge an uninterrupted dining experience.
- Create Branded Atmosphere
Of course, not just any tables and chairs will do – a successful outdoor experience should feel like an extension of your typical restaurant vibe. Give your diners an extension of your brand with a new twist. Matching colours, aesthetics to reflect the brand value, all of these things fall under the umbrella of cementing your restaurant brand for the post-COVID world
- Extend Floor Plans
By carefully managing your tables outdoors, you can more accurately adjust your reservation availability. Making outdoor tables reservable allows you to set expectations with guests, so they know they’ll get the royal treatment that they’re used to inside your restaurant.
- Adjust Food and Drink Menu
When you start out with outside dining in your restaurant, try scaling down the number of items on your menu. Start with customer favourites and bestsellers at first, and start rolling out the rest of the menu gradually. Completely taking a u-turn in terms of this strategy, you can also implement an outdoors-exclusive menu!
- Get The Word Out
Many guests are eager to dine at restaurants again, but they don’t always know that their favourites are open for business. Post photos of your new space and menu on your social media channels and other online profiles to show people what they can expect from the experience. As people are eager to come out and dine with you, show them you are ready for them.
These are only 10 basic things you need to ensure are taken care of when you plan out your outdoor dining experience. Apart from this, there is a tonne of administration and back-room matters you need to figure out as a restaurateur before you go about inviting the masses. Once you’re all sorted, keep customer and staff safety in mind, and proceed.