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Restaurant Business published an article this week stating that many cities have reopened in-house dining rooms, allowing customers to visit their favorite eateries starting immediately.

Due to the continued spread of COVID and the important Black Lives Matter protests, restaurant owners are finding they aren’t prepared to reopen as quickly as expected.

We’ve put together a Restaurant Revival Checklist, helping to prepare you to open doors and welcome customers back for dine-in, quickly.

Download the Revival Guide PDF so you always have it on hand!
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1. Talk to your staff, listen to your staff

Your staff’s level of comfort with opening will be a key factor to reopening your restaurant. Listen to your staff and understand that they may require additional security, like face masks, distance rules, gloves, or limited seating options.

2. Check your city and state guides

Things change quickly, but city and state governments have put together resources to help you prepare for a reopening date. You should also consider the thresholds of reopening and ensure you meet the requirements. Click here to view State reopening resources from the National Restaurant Association.

3. Talk to your vendors and supply chain

In order to prepare meals for in-house dining guests, it’s important to understand how much inventory you have on hand. Many areas of the industry have been affected by COVID, which means your supply chains may also be experiencing delays or shortages. Talk to your vendors to ensure you’ll be able to place inventory orders to fulfill guest’s meals.

4. Put customer safety first

Your guests may have initial concerns about eating out even after limitations have been lifted. Ensure your dining room is spread out far enough that guests feel safe and are not sitting too close together. This will also help relieve your staff of any concerns.

5. Higher hygiene standards

Increase your hand washing policy and encourage staff to wipe down surfaces more often. This is a good practice to implement regardless of COVID, and will help prevent the spread of illness.

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6. Create a store flow

To make sure customers and staff are following social-distancing guidelines, outline distances when necessary, like pick-up lines or table wait lines. You can place strips of tape on the floor or print out signage to maintain 6ft separation.

7. Make sure your online hours are correct

Google and Yelp took steps towards updating restaurant hours on their platforms during the pandemic. This may mean your store, online, shows you have different or incorrect hours. Contact your account rep or support teams to make sure your hours are adjusted.

8. Include hand sanitizer for guests

Offer a bottle of hand sanitizer on each table, if possible, or near doorways.

9. Final cleaning

While you’ve probably kept your space clean, or haven’t been using it as frequently, it’s important to do a full cleaning/disinfection of your restaurant prior to opening for the public. This will keep customers at ease and get rid of any lingering germs.

10. Have a protocol in place if an employee gets ill

If your employee comes down with COVID-19, ensure you have a plan in place on how to mitigate the situation. Make sure your other staff members are healthy, ask for testing as necessary, and prepare to pause service again, if required.

11. Follow the CDC guidelines for reopening

Don’t get a fine! Make sure you’re following the CDC guidelines for reopening. Click here to visit the CDC website.


Things to consider when reopening:
  • Are you able to renegotiate your rent?
  • Make sure you’re prepared to handle your online orders and your in-store orders with proper staffing and inventory
  • Does your team need updated training?
  • Engage with guests on social media! Let them know you’re open for in-house dining
  • It might not be the best time to offer promotions, but consider a loyalty program to rebuild customer retention and engagement
  • It may take some time to build back up to where you were. Keep positive, work hard, and know diners missed you just as much as you missed them!

For additional resources regarding your restaurant and COVID-19, visit

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Alex Canter

Alex is a restaurant industry innovator, in-demand speaker, and passionate advocate for restaurant operators and workers. He was raised in the kitchen of the world-famous Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles, where he invented Ordermark. A fourth-generation restaurateur, the restaurant business has been in Alex’s blood for over 85 years. In addition to being the visionary and leader of Ordermark, Alex is active with the Techstars network and enjoys mentoring other restaurant technology entrepreneurs. A 2019 recipient of the Forbes 30 Under 30, Alex has previously led several technology ventures.