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美国餐饮业该如何复工?餐厅老板们还在摸索

美国餐饮业该如何复工?餐厅老板们还在摸索

Rachel King 2020年05月20日
说到重启经济,许多餐厅经理和老板们首先要回答的一个问题是什么时候复工。但第二个问题“怎么复工”更难给出答案。

到目前为止,无论是美国还是正在逐步解除严格封锁措施的其他国家和地区,对于如何复工都没有明确的方向。韩国最近重新关闭了夜店,中国香港的酒吧也经历过关闭、重新开放和再次关闭的过程,现在又再次恢复营业。

美国餐饮预订平台Resy的首席执行官本·利文撒尔说:“餐饮业必须认识到一夜之间‘恢复正常’是不可能的,这一点很重要。当餐厅重新开业的时候,他们的商业模式将发生变化。下一个阶段,餐厅必须解决如何在店铺以外扩大品牌知名度和提供商品与服务,这个阶段将持续几个月时间。我们正在对此进行研究。”

随着夏季临近,户外座椅作为餐厅恢复营业的秘诀被反复讨论,因为在户外空间,餐桌之间可以更好地保持社交距离,从而降低新冠病毒传播的风险。但这种策略存在许多变数,而且也不是万无一失的解决方案。更不用说,当今年秋冬季节降温之后,如果新冠病毒疫情出现第二波高潮,这种做法将难以为继。

Gitano Garden of Love是纽约市一处热带风格的户外酒吧区,占地2.4万平方英尺。如果当地能够恢复营业,它将利用其开阔的露天空间安全地吸引顾客。但这并不妨碍Grupo Gitano的创始人及老板詹姆斯·加德纳考虑外卖和送餐服务,并推出其他品牌商品,以增加收入。Grupo Gitano在纽约、迈阿密和墨西哥图鲁姆共有六家餐厅和酒吧。

加德纳说道:“我们的面积足够大,而且是在户外,所以我们很幸运,不会像小型室内餐厅一样面临严峻的挑战。”目前,该餐厅没有修改整体设计和样式的计划,因为加德纳说只要搬走部分餐桌,扩大餐桌之间的间隔,充分利用未使用的区域,很容易就能执行社交隔离。

他说:“我们认为此次疫情在一段时间内,会减少顾客用餐体验中的亲密接触,不止是顾客和服务人员之间的接触,也包括顾客之间的距离。我们一直把餐厅看作是人们相互交流和建立联系的地方。”

位于纽约市曼哈顿的Gitano Garden of Love鸟瞰图。图片来源:Courtesy of Grupo Gitano

虽然美国疾病预防和控制中心(CDC)建议不要过快重启经济,但在有些地区,餐厅用来寻找答案的时间已经越来越少。基于NPD集团(The NPD Group)的ReCount餐厅调查开展的一项分析显示,自5月1日以来,已经有接近19.2万家餐厅取消了堂食限制,约占餐厅总量的29%。

NPD食品餐饮业务顾问和《美国饮食模式》(Eating Patterns in America)一书的作者戴维·波特兰迪表示:“许多餐厅经营者衡量了有限营业的价值和复工的成本、健康风险等因素,并选择了继续停业,或者采取仅提供外卖的模式。最近一周的绩效显示,在解除限制令的州,我们已经达到了约30%的潜在交易量。未来一周,还会有46,000家餐厅恢复营业。”

本月早些时候,美国食品与药品监督管理局(U.S. Food and Drug Administration)编制了一份过去两个月可能临时停业的零售餐饮机构清单。需要强调的是,这只是一份指南,因为该局公开承认这“并非一份详细列表”,而且其中是以问题的形式介绍了大部分最佳实践。

位于纽约东汉普顿的Highway Restaurant & Bar餐厅自3月中旬停业以来,一直实行外卖模式,采取了其总经理凯文·林德所述的一个综合性的流程,他认为餐厅恢复营业后应该向这种经营模式转变。

林德解释说:“我们马上推出了一些可以应对需求变化的方案,比如延长营业时间、接受提前预订、扩大配送区域、提供大号菜肴供顾客在家里长时间享用,甚至还提供在家烹饪的膳食盒等。我们认为这些方案可以维持下去,即使餐厅恢复营业之后,也能给人们一些安全的选择。这一切都是因为我们把安全放在首位。”

位于汉普顿的Highway Restaurant & Bar已经开始设想在餐厅内就餐人数减少和社交隔离等因素的影响下,可能出现的情境。过去几周,许多高收入的纽约市民都前往度假屋避难。图片来源:Courtesy of Highway Restaurant and Bar

新的行为规范

即使人们普遍接受餐厅恢复堂食服务,但餐厅的就餐人数依旧会有限制,而且他们必须针对顾客和员工设定明确的规则。

林德承认:“你很难预测未来事情还会有怎样的变化。”尽管如此,这家位于东汉普顿的餐厅仍然计划在今年夏天开放堂食服务。餐厅的团队已经开始进行店面布置,在餐桌之间提供恰当的间隔,同时希望保持餐厅内充满活力的环境。“以前,我们就像是一个充满了欢声笑语的社区空间,给人一种归属感,现在要保留它的本质和活力是一个艰巨的任务。”

位于马里兰州弗雷德里克的Cava餐厅提供乘车取餐服务,这种无接触取餐的形式比较流行;弗雷德里克餐厅是过去几周内Cava连锁餐厅业绩最好的餐厅之一。图片来源:Courtesy of Cava

Cava是一家地中海风格的快速休闲连锁餐厅,总部位于华盛顿特区,在全美有数十家分店。但在已经开始复工的多个州,Cava却并不急于恢复营业。

Cava餐厅的首席执行官布雷特·舒尔曼说:“餐厅肯定要做出调整,以适应消费者行为和心态的变化。”

Cava将鼓励顾客配戴面罩以保护自己和餐厅的工作人员。为了鼓励社交隔离,餐厅将在地面上添加“显眼的”排队指示标记,部分餐桌将明确标记为不开放使用。Cava已经停止使用现金支付,而且虽然舒尔曼强调Cava非常重视其环境影响,但所有餐厅都不再提供可多次使用的餐具、碗和托盘等。在发布新通知之前,餐厅将使用预包装餐具。

该公司已经在每家餐厅设立了店外厨房,与店内的分餐口隔离开来。由于店外厨房在其销售组合中所占的比例更大,因此舒尔曼表示店内厨房将把更多精力用于满足网络订单取餐、开车取餐和外卖。

舒尔曼说:“最终要在所有店面成功推行这种策略,培训是关键。我们一直在大力推广这些业务。”他还表示,Cava正在对每家餐厅和区域负责人执行“COVID合规记分卡”制度,以敦促团队和领导者在餐厅恢复营业时,遵守所有安全和操作规范。

Resy At Home上提供的“营业日期提醒”功能模型。图片来源:Courtesy of Resy

Resy的高管表示,政府和公共卫生官员应该设定指导方针,指导餐厅以最合理的方式恢复营业和招揽顾客。美国疾病预防和控制中心建议餐厅的餐桌至少间隔6英尺(1.8米),并且尽量使用手机应用向顾客发送空位提醒。利文撒尔表示,Resy就是根据这条建议新推出了手机等位功能。

他解释称:“通过与餐厅合作伙伴交流,我们了解到他们最关心的是收入多样化,因为在堂食人数受限的情况下,经营收入远远不够。他们正在考虑其他收入流,比如膳食包、食品杂货、高级用餐体验等。”

利文撒尔强调,针对疫情下的经营环境,经营者构想新的服务形式非常重要,尽管这对于餐厅而言很有挑战性。将在5月底上线的Resy At Home将作为该公司的新订餐和无接触取餐功能。它将出现在一家餐厅的预订页面,顾客可以在一个标签上看到堂食预订时间(如果餐厅提供该项服务),另外一个标签上将显示取餐时间。与Grubhub和DoorDash等基于手机应用程序的送餐服务收取送餐费的做法不同,Resy表示,顾客通过Resy At Home定外卖,平台不会收取任何佣金。

工作场所安全

餐厅恢复营业,除了保证顾客安全以外,还必须考虑为餐厅和厨房的工作人员采取同样的预防措施。在强制隔离期间,许多餐厅彻底停业,也没有提供外卖服务,原因就是为了保护员工,防止病毒传播。

Grupo Gitano餐旅业务的老板表示:“我们预测,在可以预见的未来,餐厅的用餐人数会受到限制,我们正在为此做好准备。”图片来源:Courtesy of Grupo Gitano

由于目前还没有即时检测的方法,因此许多餐厅经理们认为,对顾客和员工测量体温以及要求他们佩戴口罩,对于餐厅的健康管理至关重要。Gitano的加德纳表示,公司的目标是尽量让顾客能够轻松接受这些要求,并且避免干扰顾客的用餐体验,同时还要保护所有人的安全。

加德纳解释说:“最重要的是,我们正在考虑如何以安全有趣的方式完成必要的调整,既要有吸引力又能体现品牌的特色,从而消除顾客的恐惧心理。我们将进行‘有特色的调整’,重新设计制服,餐厅外场人员将配戴带有品牌标志的口罩,并提供遮阳帘和其他惊喜。”

Cava表示,如果员工出现类似于流感的症状,公司将为其提供快速免费新冠病毒检测,如果检测结果呈阳性,公司将发放14天应急工资。此外,员工每次上班之前必须接受体温检测(包括面部识别热成像仪检测),餐厅还将在之前员工和顾客经常接触的重要地点设置隔断。

2020年3月16日,加州洛杉矶市区,一位顾客走出一家星巴克咖啡厅,旁边的标志上写着该咖啡厅仅提供外带服务。图片来源:Frederic J. Brown—AFP via Getty Images

星巴克(Starbucks)表示将对受到新冠肺炎疫情影响的员工提供全方位的照顾,包括灾难补助、精神健康和病假福利、儿童看护支持等。此外,该公司还推出了“星巴克服务薪酬”,在5月轮班的员工每小时可以额外领取3美元。

本月早些时候,星巴克的首席执行官凯文·约翰逊在接受《财富》杂志采访时说:“在咖啡厅恢复营业后,我们首先重视的是健康和安全问题,尽量以更高的公共卫生标准要求自己,努力达到客户的新预期。”星巴克采取的措施包括引导客户排队的位置和限制店内顾客人数;为员工提供口罩和手套等防护装备;在可预见的未来维持清洁卫生高要求;鼓励客户采取减少接触的消费方式,包括得来速、入口取餐和开车取餐,以及外卖服务等。

在4月底,星巴克50%的店铺关闭,仅开放得来速窗口和送餐服务。星巴克的得来速窗口一直对外开放,并通过Uber Eats增加了提供送餐服务的门店。从本月起,在美国和其他国家会有更多的星巴克咖啡厅逐步恢复营业。顾客可以使用星巴克手机应用程序提前预订和付款,然后在咖啡厅门口或者得来速窗口取走订单。在可能执行社交隔离的咖啡厅,将提供外带服务,顾客可以在店内下订单,然后带走享用。

约翰逊说:“顾客想要的是既熟悉又方便还能保证安全的消费体验。他们希望知道无论自己做什么,都不会导致病毒进一步传播,或者让自己面临感染的风险。星巴克已经成为全世界成千上万人日常生活的一部分,所以星巴克恢复营业,肯定会让人们激动万分。我们将坚持将员工和顾客的身心健康与安全放在首位。”

最后的阵地

纽约市是美国疫情的重灾区。当地的餐厅和酒吧可能要等到最后才能重新开放。The Wooly是一家知名的现代美式餐厅和酒吧,坐落于曼哈顿下城的伍尔沃斯大厦(Woolworth Building)。包括The Wooly在内的许多餐厅都不得不快速执行员工工作规程,并期待着顾客重新回来用餐的时刻。

The Wooly Public餐厅的主厅。The Wooly Public是一家现代美式餐厅和鸡尾酒吧,位于地标性建筑伍尔沃斯大厦。纽约州纽约市。图片来源:Courtesy of The Wooly Public

The Wooly的老板之一埃里克·阿多尔夫森表达了与许多餐厅老板类似的观点:他们希望政府出台疫情防护与安全指南,作为餐厅政策的依据。此外,阿多尔夫森表示,他和另外一位老板戴维·托拜厄斯将继续探索如何在这些政策以外,为员工和顾客创造一个舒适的环境。

托拜厄斯说:“归根结底,餐厅应该为人们提供令人愉快的体验,让人们摆脱日常生活中的压力。因此,我们应该采取一些新奇的甚至天马行空的解决方案,而不只是实现某种目的的手段。这正是人们在当前这种时期所需要的。”

加德纳总结道,每个人都在思考一个最重要的问题,那就是“新常态”到底会是什么样子,这个问题的答案就是我们在一段时间内不会恢复正常营业。“我们希望疫情可以让所有人多一些善意,希望顾客能够看到餐饮业在疫情期间的艰难处境,希望他们不仅能到餐厅里寻找享用美食的乐趣和支持我们,还可以多给我们的团队一些小费。”(财富中文网)

译者:Biz

到目前为止,无论是美国还是正在逐步解除严格封锁措施的其他国家和地区,对于如何复工都没有明确的方向。韩国最近重新关闭了夜店,中国香港的酒吧也经历过关闭、重新开放和再次关闭的过程,现在又再次恢复营业。

美国餐饮预订平台Resy的首席执行官本·利文撒尔说:“餐饮业必须认识到一夜之间‘恢复正常’是不可能的,这一点很重要。当餐厅重新开业的时候,他们的商业模式将发生变化。下一个阶段,餐厅必须解决如何在店铺以外扩大品牌知名度和提供商品与服务,这个阶段将持续几个月时间。我们正在对此进行研究。”

随着夏季临近,户外座椅作为餐厅恢复营业的秘诀被反复讨论,因为在户外空间,餐桌之间可以更好地保持社交距离,从而降低新冠病毒传播的风险。但这种策略存在许多变数,而且也不是万无一失的解决方案。更不用说,当今年秋冬季节降温之后,如果新冠病毒疫情出现第二波高潮,这种做法将难以为继。

Gitano Garden of Love是纽约市一处热带风格的户外酒吧区,占地2.4万平方英尺。如果当地能够恢复营业,它将利用其开阔的露天空间安全地吸引顾客。但这并不妨碍Grupo Gitano的创始人及老板詹姆斯·加德纳考虑外卖和送餐服务,并推出其他品牌商品,以增加收入。Grupo Gitano在纽约、迈阿密和墨西哥图鲁姆共有六家餐厅和酒吧。

加德纳说道:“我们的面积足够大,而且是在户外,所以我们很幸运,不会像小型室内餐厅一样面临严峻的挑战。”目前,该餐厅没有修改整体设计和样式的计划,因为加德纳说只要搬走部分餐桌,扩大餐桌之间的间隔,充分利用未使用的区域,很容易就能执行社交隔离。

他说:“我们认为此次疫情在一段时间内,会减少顾客用餐体验中的亲密接触,不止是顾客和服务人员之间的接触,也包括顾客之间的距离。我们一直把餐厅看作是人们相互交流和建立联系的地方。”

虽然美国疾病预防和控制中心(CDC)建议不要过快重启经济,但在有些地区,餐厅用来寻找答案的时间已经越来越少。基于NPD集团(The NPD Group)的ReCount餐厅调查开展的一项分析显示,自5月1日以来,已经有接近19.2万家餐厅取消了堂食限制,约占餐厅总量的29%。

NPD食品餐饮业务顾问和《美国饮食模式》(Eating Patterns in America)一书的作者戴维·波特兰迪表示:“许多餐厅经营者衡量了有限营业的价值和复工的成本、健康风险等因素,并选择了继续停业,或者采取仅提供外卖的模式。最近一周的绩效显示,在解除限制令的州,我们已经达到了约30%的潜在交易量。未来一周,还会有46,000家餐厅恢复营业。”

本月早些时候,美国食品与药品监督管理局(U.S. Food and Drug Administration)编制了一份过去两个月可能临时停业的零售餐饮机构清单。需要强调的是,这只是一份指南,因为该局公开承认这“并非一份详细列表”,而且其中是以问题的形式介绍了大部分最佳实践。

位于纽约东汉普顿的Highway Restaurant & Bar餐厅自3月中旬停业以来,一直实行外卖模式,采取了其总经理凯文·林德所述的一个综合性的流程,他认为餐厅恢复营业后应该向这种经营模式转变。

林德解释说:“我们马上推出了一些可以应对需求变化的方案,比如延长营业时间、接受提前预订、扩大配送区域、提供大号菜肴供顾客在家里长时间享用,甚至还提供在家烹饪的膳食盒等。我们认为这些方案可以维持下去,即使餐厅恢复营业之后,也能给人们一些安全的选择。这一切都是因为我们把安全放在首位。”

新的行为规范

即使人们普遍接受餐厅恢复堂食服务,但餐厅的就餐人数依旧会有限制,而且他们必须针对顾客和员工设定明确的规则。

林德承认:“你很难预测未来事情还会有怎样的变化。”尽管如此,这家位于东汉普顿的餐厅仍然计划在今年夏天开放堂食服务。餐厅的团队已经开始进行店面布置,在餐桌之间提供恰当的间隔,同时希望保持餐厅内充满活力的环境。“以前,我们就像是一个充满了欢声笑语的社区空间,给人一种归属感,现在要保留它的本质和活力是一个艰巨的任务。”

Cava是一家地中海风格的快速休闲连锁餐厅,总部位于华盛顿特区,在全美有数十家分店。但在已经开始复工的多个州,Cava却并不急于恢复营业。

Cava餐厅的首席执行官布雷特·舒尔曼说:“餐厅肯定要做出调整,以适应消费者行为和心态的变化。”

Cava将鼓励顾客配戴面罩以保护自己和餐厅的工作人员。为了鼓励社交隔离,餐厅将在地面上添加“显眼的”排队指示标记,部分餐桌将明确标记为不开放使用。Cava已经停止使用现金支付,而且虽然舒尔曼强调Cava非常重视其环境影响,但所有餐厅都不再提供可多次使用的餐具、碗和托盘等。在发布新通知之前,餐厅将使用预包装餐具。

该公司已经在每家餐厅设立了店外厨房,与店内的分餐口隔离开来。由于店外厨房在其销售组合中所占的比例更大,因此舒尔曼表示店内厨房将把更多精力用于满足网络订单取餐、开车取餐和外卖。

舒尔曼说:“最终要在所有店面成功推行这种策略,培训是关键。我们一直在大力推广这些业务。”他还表示,Cava正在对每家餐厅和区域负责人执行“COVID合规记分卡”制度,以敦促团队和领导者在餐厅恢复营业时,遵守所有安全和操作规范。

Resy的高管表示,政府和公共卫生官员应该设定指导方针,指导餐厅以最合理的方式恢复营业和招揽顾客。美国疾病预防和控制中心建议餐厅的餐桌至少间隔6英尺(1.8米),并且尽量使用手机应用向顾客发送空位提醒。利文撒尔表示,Resy就是根据这条建议新推出了手机等位功能。

他解释称:“通过与餐厅合作伙伴交流,我们了解到他们最关心的是收入多样化,因为在堂食人数受限的情况下,经营收入远远不够。他们正在考虑其他收入流,比如膳食包、食品杂货、高级用餐体验等。”

利文撒尔强调,针对疫情下的经营环境,经营者构想新的服务形式非常重要,尽管这对于餐厅而言很有挑战性。将在5月底上线的Resy At Home将作为该公司的新订餐和无接触取餐功能。它将出现在一家餐厅的预订页面,顾客可以在一个标签上看到堂食预订时间(如果餐厅提供该项服务),另外一个标签上将显示取餐时间。与Grubhub和DoorDash等基于手机应用程序的送餐服务收取送餐费的做法不同,Resy表示,顾客通过Resy At Home定外卖,平台不会收取任何佣金。

工作场所安全

餐厅恢复营业,除了保证顾客安全以外,还必须考虑为餐厅和厨房的工作人员采取同样的预防措施。在强制隔离期间,许多餐厅彻底停业,也没有提供外卖服务,原因就是为了保护员工,防止病毒传播。

由于目前还没有即时检测的方法,因此许多餐厅经理们认为,对顾客和员工测量体温以及要求他们佩戴口罩,对于餐厅的健康管理至关重要。Gitano的加德纳表示,公司的目标是尽量让顾客能够轻松接受这些要求,并且避免干扰顾客的用餐体验,同时还要保护所有人的安全。

加德纳解释说:“最重要的是,我们正在考虑如何以安全有趣的方式完成必要的调整,既要有吸引力又能体现品牌的特色,从而消除顾客的恐惧心理。我们将进行‘有特色的调整’,重新设计制服,餐厅外场人员将配戴带有品牌标志的口罩,并提供遮阳帘和其他惊喜。”

Cava表示,如果员工出现类似于流感的症状,公司将为其提供快速免费新冠病毒检测,如果检测结果呈阳性,公司将发放14天应急工资。此外,员工每次上班之前必须接受体温检测(包括面部识别热成像仪检测),餐厅还将在之前员工和顾客经常接触的重要地点设置隔断。

星巴克(Starbucks)表示将对受到新冠肺炎疫情影响的员工提供全方位的照顾,包括灾难补助、精神健康和病假福利、儿童看护支持等。此外,该公司还推出了“星巴克服务薪酬”,在5月轮班的员工每小时可以额外领取3美元。

本月早些时候,星巴克的首席执行官凯文·约翰逊在接受《财富》杂志采访时说:“在咖啡厅恢复营业后,我们首先重视的是健康和安全问题,尽量以更高的公共卫生标准要求自己,努力达到客户的新预期。”星巴克采取的措施包括引导客户排队的位置和限制店内顾客人数;为员工提供口罩和手套等防护装备;在可预见的未来维持清洁卫生高要求;鼓励客户采取减少接触的消费方式,包括得来速、入口取餐和开车取餐,以及外卖服务等。

在4月底,星巴克50%的店铺关闭,仅开放得来速窗口和送餐服务。星巴克的得来速窗口一直对外开放,并通过Uber Eats增加了提供送餐服务的门店。从本月起,在美国和其他国家会有更多的星巴克咖啡厅逐步恢复营业。顾客可以使用星巴克手机应用程序提前预订和付款,然后在咖啡厅门口或者得来速窗口取走订单。在可能执行社交隔离的咖啡厅,将提供外带服务,顾客可以在店内下订单,然后带走享用。

约翰逊说:“顾客想要的是既熟悉又方便还能保证安全的消费体验。他们希望知道无论自己做什么,都不会导致病毒进一步传播,或者让自己面临感染的风险。星巴克已经成为全世界成千上万人日常生活的一部分,所以星巴克恢复营业,肯定会让人们激动万分。我们将坚持将员工和顾客的身心健康与安全放在首位。”

最后的阵地

纽约市是美国疫情的重灾区。当地的餐厅和酒吧可能要等到最后才能重新开放。The Wooly是一家知名的现代美式餐厅和酒吧,坐落于曼哈顿下城的伍尔沃斯大厦(Woolworth Building)。包括The Wooly在内的许多餐厅都不得不快速执行员工工作规程,并期待着顾客重新回来用餐的时刻。

The Wooly的老板之一埃里克·阿多尔夫森表达了与许多餐厅老板类似的观点:他们希望政府出台疫情防护与安全指南,作为餐厅政策的依据。此外,阿多尔夫森表示,他和另外一位老板戴维·托拜厄斯将继续探索如何在这些政策以外,为员工和顾客创造一个舒适的环境。

托拜厄斯说:“归根结底,餐厅应该为人们提供令人愉快的体验,让人们摆脱日常生活中的压力。因此,我们应该采取一些新奇的甚至天马行空的解决方案,而不只是实现某种目的的手段。这正是人们在当前这种时期所需要的。”

加德纳总结道,每个人都在思考一个最重要的问题,那就是“新常态”到底会是什么样子,这个问题的答案就是我们在一段时间内不会恢复正常营业。“我们希望疫情可以让所有人多一些善意,希望顾客能够看到餐饮业在疫情期间的艰难处境,希望他们不仅能到餐厅里寻找享用美食的乐趣和支持我们,还可以多给我们的团队一些小费。”(财富中文网)

译者:Biz

So far, there is no clear way on how to do this, either within the U.S. or other countries phasing out strict lockdown measures. South Korea recently had to re-shut down nightclubs, while bars in Hong Kong have been shut down, reopened, re-shut down, and are now reopen again—for the time being.

“I think it’s important to recognize that there will not be an overnight ‘back to normal’ for the industry, and when restaurants do reopen, their business models will look different,” says Resy CEO Ben Leventhal. “We are looking at a many months-long next phase in which restaurants are tasked with figuring out how to extend their brand, offerings, and hospitality beyond the dining room.”

With the summer months on the horizon, outdoor seating is being batted around as the secret ingredient to reopening as it has the potential to offer better social distancing between tables and less risk of spreading COVID-19 outdoors. But this strategy depends on so many variables, and it’s not a foolproof solution by any means. Not to mention, it won’t be a sustainable measure if a second wave of the novel coronavirus hits amid cooler temperatures during the fall and winter months of 2020.

Gitano Garden of Love, a 24,000-square foot, tropical-theme outdoor bar area in New York City, is leaning on its spacious, open air floor plan to safely draw customers if and when it can reopen this summer. But that hasn't stopped James Gardner, founder and owner of Grupo Gitano—which oversees six restaurants and bars in New York, Miami, and Tulum, Mexico—from considering takeout and delivery services, among other branded products, to generate revenue in the meantime.

"Given our size and and being outdoors, we are grateful that we do not do not face the significant challenges of smaller indoor restaurants," Gardner says. Currently, there are no plans to change the overall design and form of the restaurant, as Gardner says the establishment can implement social distancing easily by removing and spreading out tables, as well as activating unused areas.

"We do think this pandemic will take a lot of the intimacy out of the dining experience for some time most likely, not only the intimacy that is built between the guest and server but between our guests overall," he says. "We have always thought about our spaces as a place for people to see, be seen, and to connect."

Despite recommendations against reopening too soon from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), time is already running out to figure out the answers for some regions. Since May 1, restaurant dine-in restrictions have been lifted for nearly 192,000 restaurant units—about 29% of all units—based on an analysis using The NPD Group’s ReCount restaurant census.

“Many restaurant operators have weighed the value of limited operations versus the cost of opening, health risks, or other factors, and chose to remain closed or continue with a takeout-only model,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The most recent week’s performance suggests we’ve achieved about 30% of the potential volume in states where restrictions were lifted. Looking ahead to next week, another 46,000 restaurants could come back online.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prepared a checklist for retail food establishments that might have temporarily closed over the last two months. It should be stressed that these are guidelines, as the FDA openly acknowledges that it is "not a comprehensive list," and most of the best practices are presented in the form of a question.

Highway Restaurant & Bar in East Hampton, N.Y. pivoted to a takeout model as soon as dining rooms were shutdown in mid-March with what general manager Kevin Lind describes as a comprehensive process that should transition through reopening.

"We added several options right away that we thought would accommodate changing needs, like extending hours of operation, taking advanced orders, adding some delivery areas, and offering large-format meals that can last at home and even make-at-home kits," Lind explains. "We think these have staying power and give people safe options even after reopening. All of this was done with a focus on safety first."

The new code of conduct

Even when there is broader acceptance for restaurants to reopen for dine-in services, there will be capacity restrictions, and rules will need to be established and made clear for patrons and employees alike.

"It’s very hard to know how things will continue to change," Lind acknowledges. That said, the East Hampton eatery plans on being open for dine-in service this summer. Within the restaurant, the team has started to work on a floor plan that will provide the proper spacing between tables, while also, hopefully, maintaining the restaurant's lively ambiance. "It’s an uphill battle to preserve the essence and energy of a restaurant which once served as a neighborhood space full of laughter and community."

Cava, a fast casual Mediterranean cuisine chain based in Washington D.C. with dozens of locations around the country, is holding back on opening dining rooms in states already reopening.

"The restaurant experience will most certainly evolve to accommodate a shift in consumer behavior and mindset," says Cava's CEO Brett Schulman.

Cava will be encouraging customers to wear facial coverings to protect themselves and its team members. To urge social distancing, there will be "hard-to-miss" floor markers for line queuing, and certain tables will be clearly marked as not open for use. The company also discontinued the use of cash for payment and, while Schulman stresses that Cava very much cares about its impact on the environment, all multi-use utensils, bowls and trays have been removed from dining rooms. Pre-packaged cutlery will be used until further notice.

The company already has off-premises kitchens for every restaurant, separate from its in-store serving lines. With off-premises becoming a larger part of the sales mix, Schulman says more interior production space will be dedicated to digital order pickup, curbside, and delivery.

"Ultimately, for us to execute this successfully and consistently, training will play a key role, and we’ve really dialed up in this area of operations," Schulman says, adding Cava is deploying a "COVID compliance scorecard" for each restaurant and area leader, which will hold teams and leaders accountable to adhering to all safety and operational protocols in reopening its dining rooms.

Resy's leadership says government and public health officials needs to set the guidelines for how best to reopen and patronize restaurants. The CDC recommends restaurants should space tables at least six feet (1.8 meters) apart and try to use phone app technology to alert a patron when their table is ready. Resy’s new Mobile Waitlist feature, Leventhal notes, was designed to fit this recommendation.

“In talking with our restaurant partners it has become clear that revenue diversification is top of mind, since operating at a limited dine-in capacity will not yield them enough revenue,” Leventhal explains. “They are thinking about supplemental revenue streams, like meal kits, groceries, premium experiences, and more.”

While it's a challenging proposition for restaurants all-around, Leventhal stresses it is important to equip operators with new services imagined for a pandemic environment. Resy At Home, launching at the end of May, will serve as the company’s new meal ordering and contactless pickup functionality. It will be embedded onto a given restaurant’s reservation page, so guests will see dine-in reservations slots (if those are being offered) on one tab, and pickup slots on another tab. And contrary to the fees charged by app-based delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash, Resy says it will not charge any commissions on takeout orders booked through the Resy At Home.

Workplace safety

Just as critical to ensuring customers are safe upon reentry, the same precautions must be taken in consideration to dining room and kitchen staff. Many restaurants shut down entirely during shelter-in-place mandates without pivoting to takeout for this very reason: to protect employees from the spread.

Without immediate testing available, temperature checks for customers and employees alike have been cited frequently by restaurant managers as critical to health management, along with face masks. Gitano's Gardner says the objective will be to make these requirements as painless and non-intrusive to the guest experience as possible whilst also reassuring that everyone's safety is being protected.

"Most importantly, we are thinking about how we can deliver the necessary changes both safely and in a fun, engaging, branded way that neutralizes the fear factor," Gardner explains. "We are going to 'own the look,' redesigning uniforms where the front of house will include branded masks, sun visors, and other surprises."

Cava says it will be providing employees experiencing flu-like symptoms with access to fast and free COVID-19 testing as well as emergency 14-day pay for any team member who tests positive for COVID-19. Employees will also be required to take temperature checks at the start of every shift (including testing a facial recognition thermal imaging device), and partitions will be constructed at strategic spots where guests and employees previously came into contact.

Starbucks says it will be offering comprehensive care to its employees impacted by COVID-19, including catastrophe pay, mental health and sick pay benefits, childcare support, and more. Additionally, the company introduced Starbucks Service Pay, providing a premium of $3 per hour to retail partners for shifts worked as scheduled through the month of May.

“As we reopen stores, we are appropriately prioritizing health and safety concerns, working hard to exceed public health requirements and adjust to new customer expectations,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in an interview with Fortune earlier this month. This includes directing customers where to stand and limiting the number of customers in a café; providing partners with protective equipment, including masks and gloves; maintaining elevated cleaning and sanitation procedures for the foreseeable future; and promoting low-contact channels for customers, including the drive-thru, entryway and curbside pickup, and delivery.

At the end of April, 50% of Starbucks locations were closed and available only for drive-thru and delivery. Drive-thrus remained open to serve customers, with additional delivery locations available via Uber Eats. Starting this month, more Starbucks cafés are slowly reopening across the U.S. and other countries. Customers will be able to order and pay ahead of time using the Starbucks app, and pick up their orders at the door or at the drive-thru window. At select locations where social distancing can be implemented, stores will offer “grab and go,” so customers can place orders in the café and then take them to-go.

“Our customers are looking for experiences that are safe, familiar, and convenient,” Johnson said. “They want to know that whatever they’re going to do is not going to contribute to the further spread of the virus or put them at risk of getting sick. Starbucks has become part of the daily routine of millions of people around the world, which we think they’ll be excited to get back to. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our partners and customers will continue to be our top priority.”

The final frontier

The region hardest hit nationwide by COVID-19, New York City’s restaurants and bars will likely be among the last businesses to open their doors back to the public. Restaurants like The Wooly, a popular New American restaurant and bar located in the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan, have had to quickly implement protocols for employees working while looking ahead to the future when customers reenter the establishment.

Co-owner Eric Adolfsen reiterates what many restauranteurs have said: They're looking to the government to provide guidelines for protection and safety that will be the basis for its policies. Additionally, Adolfsen says he and his co-owner, David Tobias, will continue to explore ways to go above and beyond these policies and create a comfortable environment for employees and patrons alike.

"At the end of the day, a restaurant is supposed to provide people with an enjoyable experience and a break from the stressors of everyday life," Tobias says. "In order to do this, our solutions should be novel and possibly even whimsical at times, not just means to an end. This is what people need at times like these.

Gardner concludes that what the "new normal" will look like is the biggest question on everyone's minds, answering it will not be back to business as usual for quite some time. "We hope that this pandemic will also lead to a lot more kindness on all sides, that our guests will see how hard this business is in the pandemic, and not only come out to have fun and support us, but also tip the team well."

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