If there is one thing the world has learned during the past year, it’s that COVID-19 has irrevocably shaken up our idea of “normal.” The pandemic has also greatly affected businesses and multiple industries in a way that will be felt for years to come. However, if we can adapt, our new way of life post-pandemic might not be as bleak as we currently imagine.
Remodeling your restaurant during this unprecedented time might seem like the last thing you should do. However, reconstructing and equipping your business with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind could help save you a lot of time, stress, and money if this way of life becomes our new normal or if other illnesses bring on future pandemics.
Being well-prepared rarely goes unrewarded. The same can be said for you and your business. As you prepare for remodel post-pandemic, here are useful tips worth keeping in mind as you begin construction.
Upgrades Can Improve Safety
When thinking over the most significant changes COVID-19 has had on our everyday lives, you’re likely to include the use of masks on that list. Despite some Americans arguing over the effectiveness of masks, most cities have still made them a requirement when entering public spaces, such as restaurants or bars.
Considering that experts have repeatedly noted a mask’s ability to reduce the spread of COVID-19, masks may very become a part of our new normal, at least for some people such as the elderly and other high-risk folks.
When it comes to remodeling, updating your restaurant’s HVAC fan or air filtration system can help improve the indoor air quality, customer and staff comfort, and energy efficiency. This is beneficial not only to your overall business’s atmosphere but with social distancing, according to recent studies, appropriate engineering controls such as sufficient and adequate ventilation can help minimize airborne transmissions of viruses such as COVID-19.
You can further enhance this possibility with the addition of particle filtration and air disinfection. Considering that an HVAC upgrade is a relatively common part of remodeling, it especially becomes a no-brainer when you consider the increase in safety an updated ventilation system can have.
Help Keep the Distance
There are several perks to constructing two separate entrances for your restaurant, one for dine-in customers, and another for curbside and pick-up orders. For one, it can help keep the flow of your restaurant running more smoothly by limiting crowding as well as reducing the wait time for those looking to simply pick up their order and go. It can also help keep customers and staff safer.
With COVID-19, social distancing became a key contributor in reducing the spread amongst our communities. While the trend of having separate entrances for dine-in and take away was well on its way before COVID-19 struck, the usefulness of it is now undeniable. If two separate entrances aren’t possible, there is also the possibility of adding a drive-thru. If our new normal is to include proper distancing when possible, why not make it as easy as possible for customers to maintain.
Update Any Current Weakness
Remodeling doesn’t necessarily always mean construction. Remodeling can also look like a total overhaul of your operational system. The standards for hygiene skyrocketed with COVID-19. This is likely to carry over far into the future, and honestly, who can complain about things like improved cleanliness.
Those at Hospitality Net do a great job of listing key improvements restaurants can make in a post-pandemic world. The list includes:
- Improve Standards: It will be essential post-COVID 19 to increase the general cleaning protocol for areas such as the kitchen, restrooms, and other public areas that people repeatedly touch.
- Update Customer Interaction: How guests are greeted and seated should change to keep the post-COVID situation in mind.
- Upgrade Technology: Current technology and software systems should be updated to maintain contactless capabilities such as contactless ordering, pick up, and payment.
These changes are reasonably simple to implement but are highly effective. Consider any possible weakness within your operating system and search for solutions that will maintain the wellbeing of everyone.
You Can Never Be Too Cautious
It is important to note that your construction efforts should always prioritize safety, especially in a post-COVID world. Any time businesses remodel or make structural changes, employees and contractors must be very careful of exposure to harmful substances. It can not only compromise your health, but, for example, when hazardous chemicals are present in the air and inhaled, they’re likely to cause a cough as well as sinus issues. If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s how quickly things such as coughing can spread viruses.
Throughout construction and remodeling, take the right precautions to protect everyone involved. It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but you can never be too cautious, especially considering how many mysteries still surround COVID-19. Even when a vaccine is developed and available to the public, it’s still hard to predict what will happen. During construction, take all the right precautions and have services such as poison control on speed dial.
At the end of the day, whether you’re a restaurant owner or not, COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed or way of life in more ways than one. As we all try to navigate the current situation and prepare for future ones, it’s important to prioritize health and safety. When remodeling your restaurant post-pandemic, keep in mind the many lessons we have learned already and try implementing them where you can. Your future self is likely to thank you.