The sweeping closure of cafes, bars and restaurants around the country was a swift but severe process. As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased over the coming weeks and months, the UK will hope to see a gradual return to normality. However, for cafes and other eateries up and down the country, there are still a lot of questions about how their establishments will fit into the new normal.
Implementing social distancing in a cafe setting - It's likely that, for the first few months at least, there will be a continued requirement for social distancing restrictions. It's important to think about how you can best equip your cafe to cope with these requirements. It may be worth considering whether you can use this quiet time to re-design the layout of your cafe, carefully measuring safe distances and updating your cafe chairs
and cafe tables
to fit comfortably into the new layout. Add mobile freestanding screens
to minimise risk of transmission from coughs and sneezes. Look at fun designs that some cafes in the continent have adopted - everything from shower curtains to social-distancing headgear have been incorporated as a way for diners to visit their local cafes, whilst still remaining safe.
How working from home can become working from your cafe - One of the major changes that the COVID-19 outbreak has seen is an increased push for people to work from home if they can. For office and computer-based jobs, this is likely to have a long-term impact on the way we behave, with home working becoming the norm. As offices have invested in new technology and communications platforms, working from home is likely to become a more feasible reality for many more workers. The question becomes, how can cafes encourage people out of the comfort of their own homes and back into cafes? Making sure that you have tables and chairs that are set up for laptop-working is critical - and of course an adequate power supply, recharging points and ideally a wi-fi connection in order to make an ideal work environment. Look for ways to adapt your menu and drinks offering to cater for workers who might want to spend a few hours away from their home, but still be able to work productively.
Offering customers a reason to return - Whether you've used the time to renovate or redecorate, or even just updated your menu - a big marketing push is essential at this time to re-engage your guests. Social media is a fantastic tool for this, sharing fantastic pictures of your newly refreshed interior is a great way to encourage new patrons.