Restaurant Remodeling Strategies in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic announced this year has irreversibly shaken our perception of “normal” and its impact on many industries, including hospitality, will remain with us for many years. The most reasonable possible solution in this situation seems to be the adaptation of the restaurant to the applicable restrictions. Redesigning a restaurant with the COVID-19 pandemic rules in mind can not only help your business survive but also save a lot of time and money. Here are some helpful tips to remember when renovating your restaurant during a pandemic.

Social Distance

​Minimizing contact is now crucial for your customers. The owners have come up with effective ways to make this possible and provide clear and visible indications that hygiene and distance are the most important. Floor stickers, parking bollards, installation of plexiglass windows – all this to keep the distance while standing in the queue. Customers do not perceive this as an inconvenience but as conscious action. ​Current technology and software systems​ should be updated to maintain contactless capabilities such as contactless ordering, pick up, and payment.

Floor Plans

​Part of the new financial model will be more efficient floor plans. One reason we have seen unit expansion plans curtailed is because of the need to rethink restaurant designs and layouts. Floor plans need to consider new safety and queuing needs, expanded take-out, drive-through and curbside pick-up space and less crowded dining rooms and do so in a more compact space.

HVAC Upgrade

​Upgrading your restaurant HVAC or air filtration system will improve indoor air quality, customer and staff comfort, and energy efficiency. Appropriate facilities, such as sufficient and adequate ventilation, can help minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in the air. The addition of particulate filtration and air disinfection will enhance this effect. HVAC modernization has a huge impact on increasing safety.

Separate Entrances

The trend of having separate entrances was very popular before COVID-19 hit. Currently, its usefulness is undeniable. It can help keep your restaurant running smoothly by reducing congestion as well as reducing waiting times for those who just want to pick up an order and leave. It can also help increase the safety of customers and staff.

Harmful Substances

Any time restaurants remodel or make structural changes, employees and contractors must be very careful about exposure to harmful substances. When hazardous chemicals are in the air and inhaled, they can cause coughing as well as sinus problems. Coughing helps spread viruses. Therefore, take appropriate precautions when remodeling your restaurant.

Frictionless Curbside Pick-up and Frictionless Drive-Thru

Curbside pickup soon will become part of virtually every full-service operation. Apps will allow for ordering, payment, communication, and pickup with the goal of zero contact between customers and staff. Industry experts predict widespread adoption of greater no-touch protocols for quick-service restaurants and ultimately fast-casual drive-thru. These will include ordering on an app and driving through, no-touch payment at the window, improved window-side sanitization practices, and continued use of gloves.