3 Scheduling Tactics for Your Bar & Restaurant During Covid

September 9, 2020 | 593 views

3 Scheduling Tactics for Your Bar & Restaurant During Covid
3 Scheduling Tactics for Your Bar & Restaurant During Covid

Open-for-business signs are glowing, again, at bars and restaurants—what a welcome change from our earlier lockdown days. People can finally address their toast to good health and celebrate birthdays. 

This is great news for restaurant owners, too, but regulations still abound. For many, there are legally mandated restrictions on which services you offer (no buffets, perhaps), where the services can occur (dine in vs. dine out), and how many customers are allowed in your door at a time (if at all).

Depending on your locale’s restrictions, you probably will need to get creative with your scheduling. One thing is for sure: 2020 and its aftermath will make us more flexible than ever before. If you are looking for workarounds that still meet legal imitations and public health orders, maybe these scheduling tactics will be helpful for your salon:

1. Stagger Your Tables Service.

Restaurant tables and bar stools are often close together—too close to use at the same time and still maintain social distancing. If this is true at your location, every other table will need to be eliminated from use. This reduces capacity, of course, but you can also save money by scheduling fewer bartenders and servers. Be sure to supply bussers and bar backs with appropriate disinfectant solutions and fresh towels for cleaning between restaurant patrons.

2. Take it Outdoors.

To make up for fewer inside tables and social distancing requirements, move it outdoors. Just last weekend, I watched a beach island vacation destination kick everyone off the sand late in the afternoon. Then, every restaurant along the boardwalk set up dozens of tables on the beach and scheduled many more servers than usual to accommodate al fresco dining. One good thing right now is that retail centers and city permit offices are streamlining the expanded use of parking lots, grass areas and other spaces to increase distancing so you can increase revenue. 

3. Flex and Extend Your Hours.

With so few seats to offer, potential patrons and diners sometimes have to wait. After a shutdown, it is extremely frustrating to turn away customers or lose them when wait times become excessive. Extend or flex your operating hours if your business can handle it. Opening for dinner an hour earlier could mean an additional turn. And staying open later can increase lucrative bar tabs. With a bit of creativity, your food establishment will keep everyone working, even if the times seem unusual.

Stay flexible as you determine the best way to arrange schedules. It will take effort and a willingness to change quickly to accommodate patrons and employees. To make it simpler, be sure to utilize scheduling software that allows for changes, immediate updates, and specific requests. By keeping everyone informed and able to work, your bar and restaurant will maximize its revenue with creative scheduling while keeping your clientele returning for seconds.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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