How to safely reopen your restaurant for indoor dining [checklists + resources]

The United States is embarking on the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic: Recovery. COVID-19 vaccination rates are increasing, millions of Americans are receiving much-needed aid, and more states and cities are reducing indoor dining restrictions. In March, the restaurant and hospitality industry hired 176,000 people, the most significant increase in any industry and an indication that restaurant operators are preparing for the fully reopening for indoor dining. 

As you consider what reopening looks like in your indoor dining operations, it’s critical to put your staff and customers’ health and safety at the center of your restaurant reopening strategy. To help you safely reopen your restaurant for indoor dining, we’ve put together checklists and a list of resources. Please click on any of the links to jump a section: 

Covid-19 guidelines for a safe and healthy restaurant environment for employees and customers checklist​

  • Know the latest restaurant reopening guidelines for your city and state and stay up-to-date on changes since they can occur quickly. 
  • Develop processes and procures for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout your restaurant’s Front-of-House and Back-of-House. 
  • Mandate strict hand-washing practices and communicate these practices with your staff. 
  • Make sure your management team and employees are trained on the latest health and safety guidelines. 
  • Post signs in highly visible areas for both employees and customers on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Modify your front-of-house layout to ensure all customers can socially distance themselves.
  • Ensure ventilation systems are operating correctly.
  • Increase the circulation of outside air as much as possible. 
  • Install partitions and sneeze guards in areas where it is not possible to maintain six feet of distance. 
  • Limit the usage of communal spaces, such as break-rooms and waiting areas, to limit crowding. 
  • Leverage contactless payment systems to conduct business and reduce the indeed for contact. 
  • Offer contactless takeout or delivery for your customers. 

Protecting the health and safety of your employees at work checklist

  • Communicate the measures you are taking to establish a safe and healthy work environment for your staff.
  • Train all employees on your updated cleaning and disinfecting processes and procedures. 
  • Provide PPE for your employees, such as gloves and face masks. 
  • Establish an updated protocol for when staff members become sick. This updated protocol should:
    • Educate your employees on when they should stay home. 
    • Communicate to employees that they need to stay home if they have tested positive, have symptoms or have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
    • Follow CDC’s Criteria for when it is safe for an employee to return to work. 
  • Develop a backup staffing plan to accommodate any employees who are unable to work due to illness. 
  • Establish a staff member for each shift who fellow staff members can report COVID-19 related concerns.

Communicating your indoor dining reopening plans with customers checklist​

  • Let your customers know the measures you are taking to safely reopen for indoor dining through social media, your website, and email. 
  • Post signs in high-traffic areas throughout your restaurant that encourages guests to sanitize and wash their hands.
  • Provide ample hand sanitizer throughout your restaurant.
  • Encourage mask-wearing within your restaurant. 

Resources and information to help you adjust to the new normal for restaurants

We understand how difficult it can be to reopen your restaurant for indoor dining during this time. To help you reopen successfully, we’ve compiled a list of resources and information available to restaurants regarding COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, financial assistance, and business resources. 

COVID-19 guidelines and resources from official government organizations

Financial resources and information for restaurants and bars 

The latest business resources from the restaurant industry and Grubhub 

The ‘new normal’ for the restaurant industry will include indoor dining, takeout, and delivery 

COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of delivery and takeout, and many industry experts predict delivery and takeout orders will continue to grow.  In a recent survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 53% of survey respondents reported that buying takeout or delivery food is essential to their way of life. 

To reach these customers, look for a partner like Grubhub to build your takeout and delivery business. With over 31 million active customers, Grubhub can deliver more orders and generate new customers for your restaurant. And in a recent survey conducted by Technomic, Inc. ⅔ of independent restaurants ranked Grubhub highest as a strong partner for their business–higher than the average competitor. 

As you prepare to reopen your restaurant for indoor dining, it’s critical to keep your staff and customers’ health and safety top of mind. Developing new cleaning and disinfectant procedures and processes, supporting your staff with PPE, and following the latest health and safety guidelines for your city or state will ensure your indoor dining operations are safe.  

Ready to get started with Grubhub? Sign up today.