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COVID-19 : Restaurant Re-opening Ideas & Transitioning Message


Customers want to feel safe and know that their favorite restaurant is taking every safety precaution out there. 

  • Keep customers up to date - knowledge is power
  • Let them connect to their favorite staff, ie. a short video of what your staff is going through and how they have been doing. It is not just about the restaurant itself but your staff which is like family 
  • What will be the process for reopening? ie extra cleaning, reduced seating capacity (see below)
  • Videos from the kitchen showing what is going on/process if you are doing curbside pickup and/or delivery
  • Online ordering has helped several clients that have stayed open. We suggest continuing this or starting it up if you have not. This is a great way for customers to support you
  • Offering gift-cards with a promo offer, similar to what you offer for the holidays
  • Family-style dining options for To-Go orders, movie night package, date night package, etc. 
  • Help customers celebrate birthdays, events without having to eat in the restaurant
  • Anniversary or birthday packages that include a birthday cake or a bottle of champagne Thinking outside the box is going to be key
  • Buy dinner for the neighbor - if your restaurant offers delivery
  • Mother’s Day To-Go: special brunch/lunch/dinner for mom
  • Keeping To-Go fresh: new specials to keep customers engaged 
  • Think ahead and come up with a calendar of what you want to promote and when
  • If you are giving back. How are you doing this? 

Even when all restaurants open it will be a slow start plus we are going into the summer. It is time to be more creative with your marketing efforts.  Keeping guests informed is crucial through social media and email. 

Here is the online TO GO software we are using with great success:

Think Donson TOGO online logo

Communicating Your Re-opening Message

Re-opening plans will be announced soon.  As you plan on transitioning to having dine-in guests again, you will want to communicate to your guests what steps you have taken to ensure their health and safety.  Below is a list you can use to come up with a tailored statement for your business.  It is not meant to be comprehensive but a starting point.  Please take the below points and make them your own :) 

Once you have a final statement, add it to your website.  We would suggest a dedicated page on your website to keep customers up to date. This page can then be shared on social media as it will have a dedicated url.

Here is a link with a detailed list or re-opening guidance that you can use:

Statement Example :

As we plan to reopen to customers we want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to make sure all of our guests and staff are safe.  We are following all local ordinances regarding our restaurant hours, occupancy limits and dining restrictions, and are continuing to follow the guidance of the CDC and our local health departments.

We look forward to seeing all of you! We will continue to offer online ordering/curbside pickup/ delivery/ delivery services… for the foreseeable future.

  • We will begin offering dine-in service on (insert date) at xx% capacity.
  • Please use call ahead or make a reservation online to minimize waiting times in the restaurant
  • Providing publicly accessible hand sanitizers
  • Sanitizing surfaces using “hospital-grade” disinfecting products
  • Adding extra staff and additional training to ensure that we meet and exceed the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe guidelines for handwashing.
  • Sanitizing or replacing all menus between uses
  • Nightly disinfecting of all touchable surfaces in all public areas
  • All open areas, tables, booths seats are washed and sanitized between guests 
  • Providing our staff with flexible call-out and time-off guidelines as we reinforce our strict policy prohibiting employees from working while ill
  • Our facility has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.  (provide details on how  ie. did you use a sanitizing service)
  • Our bathrooms are checked and cleaned regularly (list frequency)
  • List any Employee Guidelines, washing/sanitizing protocols you are following - see pdf above
  • Post signage ie. No one with a  fever or symptoms of COVID 19 can enter restaurant

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