Restore Chester County
Economic Action Steps — Restaurants and Bars
Bars and restaurants face extreme difficulty sustaining business as occupancy limitations remain in place, absent of significant continued financial support. While some customers will not be receptive to dining out until COVID-19 is under control, those that are amenable to dining out with safety measures in place need to be engaged and made to feel comfortable or given the opportunity to order take out.
Current Restaurant and Bar Practices
The following practices are being implemented by restaurants and bars around the county and nation to address COVID-19-related disruptions. These practices may be helpful for restaurants and bars not currently using them.
- Repurpose food production facilities as 'ghost kitchens'.
- Create a market to sell supplies, ingredients and prepackaged food items to the public.
- Implement takeout, home and curbside delivery, and third-party delivery services.
- Pivot to selling frozen entrees and meal kits, partnering with other businesses that have adequate freezer capacity.
- Adopt reservation-based single-booking model for indoor dining.
- Invest in marketing to overcome customer avoidance.
- Utilize contactless authorization and payment methods.
- Work with local press outlets to publish stories about safety measures that have been taken.
- Update websites and utilize social media to communicate new hours, programs, and safety measures in place.
- Remove self-serve options or provide cleaning after use.
- Clearly communicate where customers can remove masks, and require customers to wear mask while standing.
- Hold virtual programing such as cooking, mixology, wine, or beer courses.
- Be noticeably visible in cleaning protocols for guest confidence and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Take advantage of drinks-to-go with themed specials.
- Consider winter outdoor dining where municipalities approve, which requires shelters, heaters, and adequate air flow.
- Offer to-go full holiday meals for the family.
- Provide loyal customers with an appreciation gift or value added service.
- Allow customers to use a smartphone to photograph one menu or qr code.
- Improve air quality, potentially through HVAC system that uses 100% outside air or replacing normal air filters with medical grade filters.
Actions to Support the Restaurant and Bar Industry
The following actions by governments, economic development organizations, trade organizations, and others would provide support to the restaurant and bar industry during the current COVID-19 crisis.
- Provide regulatory assistance with relaxing service and parking/loading restrictions.
- Provide technical assistance with navigating federal assistance/tax policies, business adaptation, and social media/marketing.
- Encourage businesses to join the free Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association Industry Advocates to be current with state regulations and for advice and support.
- Provide signage to assist small operators in enforcing COVID-19 safety compliance among clients.
- Facilitate a safety 'self-certification' program that features consistent branding and signage.
- Facilitate bulk purchasing of PPE for distribution to small operators.
- Advocate for businesses that do not fall into clearly defined industry categories per state guidelines.
- Provide additional hiring and training assistance.
- Allow owners to move into next door space, if vacant, with a temporary certificate of occupancy.
- Provide warehouse space for extra chairs, tables and other related furniture.
- Advocate for restaurant and bar occupancy standards that are similar to standards used for conventional retail.
To see recommendations for other industries, click on the industry link below: