How to Safely Reopen Your Restaurant for Outdoor Dining

How to Safely Reopen Your Restaurant for Outdoor Dining

If you own a restaurant, you are facing a predicament unlike any you’ve dealt with before. Safety concerns and local restrictions originating from the novel coronavirus pandemic have kept you from allowing people to dine inside your restaurant. For the past few months, you’ve been offering takeout to customers, but this service is not enough to keep up with your expenses. Thankfully, one safe alternative exists; socially-distant outdoor dining. If you’ve never used your outdoor space to seat customers before, take the following steps to make sure you’re ready for your first day.

Reuse Your Indoor Furniture

There’s no need to buy lots of new furniture, unless you don’t have any usable seating or you have extra money and want to support your local economy. Instead, move your indoor tables and chairs onto your patio, spacing them far apart from each other. Consider putting plexiglass or another clear material between tables to further promote social distancing.

Add Shelter

One downside of outdoor dining is that it’s weather dependent. Create shelter from the sun and rain using some aluminum railing and plastic or metal roofing. Spend some time designing this structure, as you want it to look visually appealing and not sloppy. If you’re in an area that experiences cold weather, invest in outdoor heaters.

Train Your Employees

You and your employees are used to the safety routines associated with takeout. However, you need to step up your safety training to get ready for outdoor dining. Reiterate the importance of wearing a mask at all times at work, and provide face shields to wear on top of your masks if possible. Review your county and state’s most recent guidelines on what behaviors are acceptable, and teach your employees how to communicate this information to your customers. Remember, if you want your restaurant to stay open, safety has to be your priority.

Stock up on Cleaning Supplies

To comply with safety guidelines, you need to clean all high-use surfaces such as doorknobs and bathrooms frequently, and you must disinfect tables and chairs after each customer leaves. Purchase plenty of disinfectant wipes, gloves, toilet bowl cleaner, and glass cleaner before your first day. Don’t forget to find a reliable source for refills, too, since many grocery stores are still experiencing shortages.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has been especially challenging for restaurant owners such as yourself. As you prepare to open for outdoor dining, take these measures to keep yourself, your workers, and your customers safe.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that win. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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