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*NEWS FLASH* Restaurant industry standards and norms are changing in a Post-Covid19 environment. How can you ensure customer expectations are not only met, but exceeded? What changes can you implement to give your restaurant the best chance to not only survive, but thrive? This ‘Restaurant Solutions’ gives insight into some emerging trends and actions that will set your restaurant up for success moving forward.
Flexible Indoor Seating
Design your space to allow for multiple seating arrangements that accommodate maximum occupancy and social distancing recommendations. As a society, we have become accustomed to social distancing for quite some time now. It may go away or it may be here to stay…we just don’t know yet. The general thought is that social distancing limits the number of customers inside your space. However, with proper space planning, you can maximize potential. So to drive this home, let me pose one question. Why is flexible indoor seating so important? Because in current times, you give customers peace of mind and confidence that your restaurant is upholding the highest standards to keep everyone safe. And going forward, your space is ready for whatever the future holds. The right design partner will guide you through multiple indoor seating options for your space and ensure your maximizing the opportunity for success now and going forward.
If your space allows it, include outdoor seating within design. Customers love the open and fresh air and you’ll benefit from another seating option. Whether it’s only a couple tables or a full on patio, this gives customers another opportunity to dine in at your restaurant. There are many ways design can enhance an outdoor seating experience, including the addition of fireplaces / pits, umbrellas, retractable roofs, water fixtures, plant life, etc. Outdoor seating was a major aspect of restaurant response to COVID-19, and JP Architects, Ltd. expects it to stay prevalent going forward.
Take-Out / Delivery / Ghost Kitchens
Let’s face it – Take-out and delivery are here to stay. If you’re kitchen isn’t already designed to accommodate take-out and delivery as a major element of the business, it may be time to talk with your design partner. Furthermore, an area we’re seeing post-Covid19 growth is ghost kitchens. These are offsite kitchens that handle catering orders and could become your pickup and delivery hubs. Not all customers are going to feel comfortable dining in, and these aspects are a solution to the decrease in dine-in traffic in a post-Covid19 environment.
When you think of everything we’ve learned about Covid-19 over the past year, touchless systems make sense as a solution to increasing customer satisfaction. This can include automatic entrance and exit doors, toilets and bathroom essentials. Your design partner should inform you about the available systems that make sense and could enhance your space.
Indoor Air Quality
Going forward, restaurant owners will need to invest in high-performance mechanical systems and / or air filters. JP Architects, Ltd. believes this is the most critical element of your post-Covid19 operational plan because clean air will not only protect against Covid-19, but other airborne illnesses that may come to the forefront in the future. This is another detail that will give customers peace of mind and provide your location the opportunity to thrive in our ‘new normal.’
Material Selection (non-porous / easy to clean materials)
There are certain non-porous materials that can be used within your restaurant that are easier to clean, as well as, less likely to hold to germs. Think flooring and counters / table tops. Your design partner should inform you of your options and guide you through the selection of a material that matches your restaurants aesthetic.
New technology considerations – Self-Serve Kiosk, Pay-By-Phone, QR-Code Menu, etc.
Technology advancements in the restaurant industry are rapid. There are certain elements you can include within the design of your restaurant that set you up for success now and in the future. These technologies can also help limit interactions with customers and staff – ultimately creating a safe environment for all involved.
Signage – Wayfinding
Within your space, it’s important to have clear signage that explains your social distancing policies / Covid-19 protocols and locations of customer used areas. From these signs, customers will know you take their health seriously and feel safe within your restaurant. Signage and wayfinding have always been a critical element in the design of restaurants; however, in a post Covid-19 environment, it is a major focus and if executed properly, your space will be set up to succeed and thrive.
While you may have already implemented some or all of these, it is a good reminder to always review your practices, as they have a major impact on whether your restaurant not only succeeds, but thrives in a post-Covid19 environment. It’s also important to note…some of these might not be feasible at your location. However, your design partner should guide you through options that make sense for your space and set you up for success moving forward.
Whether you’re looking for an architectural partner to site adapt plans or design the entirety of your restaurant renovation / build-out, JP Architects, Ltd. is here for you. Let’s talk restaurant solutions and post-Covid19 considerations.
Until next time,
Ariel Delao | Vice-President
JP Architects, Ltd.