empty restaurant with no customers

Have a Playbook if Your Restaurant Faces Closing Again

Lessons from the spring can prepare you to close or shift your business model quickly.

Businesses are experiencing a wave of uncertainty as employees and customers test positive for the coronavirus. You may be forced to close your restaurant again with little warning or time to plan. 

Here are things you should consider, including a checklist to make sure you’re prepared in case your business is affected. 

Stay tuned to what’s happening 

  • Connect with businesses in your area to share best practices. 
  • Know the guidelines and regulations in your area and review often as they change frequently.  
  • Discuss situations with the public health department.

Inform employees

  • Encourage self-reporting if they have a positive coronavirus test. 
  • Assign someone to contact employees and answer concerns. 

Inform customers

  • Over-communicate and be transparent about what your business is doing. 
  • Update Facebook, your website, Google other sources where your hours and business information are posted.  
  • Have guidelines and assignments on how to reply to posts. 
  • Videos are very impactful. Consider one to show how you are keeping your restaurant clean and safe for employees and guests. 
  • Let your customers and employees know what you are doing when you close such as deep-cleaning, refreshed decor, new menu items, etc. 

Be prepared to shift your business model

  • If you close, but are able to continue with takeout and delivery, market these services frequently. Consumers may hear conflicting media reports.  
  • Look at ways to streamline efficiency and create procedures so you can respond quickly to business changes. 
  • If you pivoted to a takeout menu in the spring, consider going back to that menu or specials (such as family meals).

Financials 

  • Be aware of upcoming expenses and your cash flow situation.
  • If you received money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), contact your financial advisor to learn how this disruption in business will affect that program. 

Deep-clean

  • Follow CDC cleaning guidelines.  
  • Create a deep-cleaning checklist (with contacts for services, if needed).
  • Put your plan into action.