Covid-19 has sparked fear worldwide and caused panic for the general public when it comes to simple outings like eating dinner at a restaurant or attending a small gathering. As a whole, the restaurant and special event industries have been left to pick up the pieces to survive. From creating spaces that still feel welcoming (even behind a mask), to encouraging health and safety, it’s no small challenge.
Luckily, some of the most creative and strong-willed leaders behind this industry and have pulled together to inspire us all.
ADD OUTDOOR SEATING
Organizers with the nonprofit The Better Block call the structure a “parklet.” Their team built the deck-like structure off the sidewalk, in the parking lane of the street. They describe it as an option for expanding outdoor seating.
“Basically, we’ve taken a parking space and converted it into an outdoor café setting,” said Jason Roberts, who owns Revelers Hall and is the founding director of The Better Block. The parklet was built outside his restaurant.
“After the city said we could open to 20 percent occupancy, we were still uncomfortable with having people go inside the restaurant. So, we thought we’ll focus on the outdoor environment,” Roberts said.
So many restaurants have attempted to create instant outdoor seating to accommodate guidelines but have been limited to sidewalk size and more. The Parket is a creative example and practical solution to maximize extra outdoor space, as well as an idea to remind guests that you are open and putting health and safety first.
MODIFY TABLE LAYOUT AND TRAFFIC FLOW INSIDE
We all understand the importance of maximizing our space. Currently, the concept has changed to maximize your space while keeping each table a minimum of 6 feet apart, and structuring your restaurant traffic flow to go in a single direction.
“Developing nuanced solutions to a variety of seating types and configurations will be critical to ensuring financial viability while keeping staff and customers safe.” – MASS
TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTION
Where traffic may seem intrusive, adding sneeze guards can be a great option to help your guests feel safe.
ENCOURAGE TAKEOUT BY MAKING IT FUN
Ordering take-out can feel like you’re missing out on the fun that comes with gathering for dine-in. As take-out takes over, it’s important to help your customers feel like they aren’t also missing out on the experience that your brand creates while dining-in. We love Door Dash’s custom restaurant backgrounds they’ve created to help friends still “gather” together, virtually while enjoying takeout, as well as others who have put together playlists to share with their takeout customers.
We all keep talking about “getting back to normal” soon, but the truth is, no one knows when that “normal” will be or what that will look like. We could be facing more pandemics and problems like this in the future. Beyond creating an inclusive space visually and functionally for your guests, it’s important to create inclusivity by building your local networks and suppliers. Know your local farmers. Get involved in your community. And most importantly, create a safe and welcoming space for your guests with wildly divided viewpoints and differing backgrounds, who may be able to see one commonality during this trying time, a good meal.
Interested in working together to improve your space or concept? Contact us today!