How to Re-Open a Restaurant
The recent COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the need and trend toward technological innovation for the hospitality industry to provide safe dining experiences. In addition to implementing things like online ordering at the table, the required shutdowns of most dine-in restaurants around the country are forcing many to stretch their limits and rely on support from customers to keep them running. But, as things slowly begin to open up again, what kinds of establishments will be in the best position to serve customers safely? Here we will provide you with some great restaurant owner resources to ensure that you are running your bar or restaurant as safely as possible.
Self-pour beverage walls operated with gloves present a much safer way to show customers a good time compared to a traditional bar.
Helping Bars Maintain Social Distancing & Reduce Touchpoints
Traditional bars tend to get overcrowded, and this makes it difficult for customers to respect social distancing, since everyone tries to order from the same bartender simultaneously.
With a traditional beverage dispense method, somewhere between 6 and 8 touchpoints are effectively guaranteed to happen in a given outing:
- Checking in with the host/hostess
- Customer receiving the menu
- Passing napkins and straws
- Receiving food and drinks (on an average visit, this happens 2-4 times)
- Getting the bill
- Passing the credit card to pay
- Signing the receipt
Self-pour beverage walls avoid creating crowds, as wait time is eliminated and every customer can serve themselves whenever they want in whatever quantities they want. This pay-per-ounce model also leads to increased efficiency.
Depending on the establishment’s POS, 1 to 2 touchpoints occur during an outing. These touchpoints happen when:
- Checking in (age verification and receiving PourMyBeer card)
- Checking out (certain POS systems)
As the world slowly recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak, the hospitality industry will need to make sure customers feel safe and ensure that everything will be sanitized and clean whenever they visit their favorite establishments. There are a number of ways in which businesses with self-pour technology will have an advantage in maintaining the environments for their customers safer, healthier, and also more fun! Now, let’s look into these in more detail:
1. The Number of Staff Interactions with a Given Patron is Reduced
Self-pour technology has a simple one-step check-in process, while a traditional bar requires the patron to talk to a bartender or waiter/waitress every time they want to order. Since COVID has a base reproduction rate of over 2, traditional bar activity can exponentially increase the rate of infection when patrons interact with potentially infected bartenders. With self-pour, customers serve themselves (it’s in the name!) This effectively cuts out that additional interaction with each and every drink order, and allows the customer to interact directly with the dispensing machine.
2. Efficiency Is Increased as More Customers Serve Themselves Simultaneously
Several people can be at the beverage wall and far enough from one another to respect social distancing, while still being able to serve themselves as often as they want. At a traditional bar, efficiency is likely to decrease as a few bartenders are required to serve many customers while also taking measures to respect their own social distancing rules.
3. Busy or Concentrated Areas Are Eliminated
A traditional bar is likely to have crowding around the bar area while people wait for their drinks, which can make social distancing difficult or impossible. At self-pour beverage walls, the customers get their next drink without waiting. This means they are much less likely to crowd the drink area because they can approach the beverage wall whenever they feel that it is safe.
Note: We highly recommend for our customers to put up signage encouraging patrons to respect social distancing at the beer wall by utilizing graphics like this or similar.
4. With Reduced Capacity, Self-Pour Allows Space Optimization Due to its Simpler Layout
With social distancing rules likely to be in effect for a while, your restaurant’s layout during this pandemic is crucial. Food and drink establishments will need to make the best use of their floor plan and space to ensure customers can maintain distance from one another. Self-pour setups are very space-efficient and often integrate into walls, leaving much more room for customers to spread out safely. Also, it is important to consider how to arrange seating at your restaurant. Remember that all tables should have at least 6 feet between them to respect social distancing rules.
5. Demonstrating Your Sanitizing & Disinfecting Efforts to Customers is Easier
One question many bar and restaurant owners are asking themselves now is, “How should restaurants clean?” With a self-serve beverage wall, it is easy to frequently wipe down the taps and disinfect everything properly. Doing this visibly in front of your customers will be the key to making customers feel at ease, in addition to being a good sanitary practice that shows you are running your restaurant safely. Bulky bars typically do not provide much visibility to the customer making it harder for them to see what cleaning practices are in place. However, it is hard not to show these cleaning practices at a self-pour wall, which can be a great source of comfort and reassurance for patrons. Relative to a traditional bar, a self-pour wall has many more opportunities to clean and to be seen cleaning, ultimately giving customers more peace of mind. In an age where online review platforms have such a powerful influence, any additional comfort you can provide your customers is worth it.
6. Flow Of Your Customers In and Out Is Maximized Even As We Adjust to a Post Pandemic World
With capacity in many places reduced to as low as 50%, you will want to rotate through your customers as quickly as possible. With multiple customers able to pour their own drinks at the same time, people will leave happier and quicker. Since customers will move through the buying cycle faster, therefore increasing your ability to serve more patrons, you can increase your profit potential during business hours.
The PourMyBeer team had the opportunity to speak to John Felico, the owner of Auggie’s Draft Room, a restaurant and self-pour taproom in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. John shared his experience with reopening Auggie’s in a post-COVID world, and explained the strategies he continues to employ in order to keep his customers safe at his establishment. Learn about John’s strategies by watching the video below!
Auggie's Experience With
Once the COVID-19 crisis stabilizes, the road to normalcy will be a long one and the hospitality industry will need to take many precautions to maintain the safety of their customers. As covered above, there are many perks and advantages to self-pour beverage walls, and we hope that everyone in the PourMyBeer family will capitalize on them.
As always, we encourage everyone to stay safe and continue practicing social distancing even after things begin to stabilize, as well as maintain great hygiene to be thorough. If you have any other questions about PourMyBeer, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 416-9989.
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