As the world continues to practice social distancing many restaurant owners have made the difficult decision to temporarily close their doors to keep employees and guests safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. They know now is not the time to gather. But the question is what should restaurants and restaurant owners be doing in the meantime? We have compiled a list of things to consider doing to help prepare your business so you can be ready to reopen in the future, help the community and weather these difficult times. 


Get Your Finances In Order 

Communicate communicate communicate. Talk to your landlord, bank, and suppliers.  

This Eater article explains how to talk to your landlord if you are unable to pay rent. Lawyer Jasmine Moy addresses the difficult issues in a question and answer format, and provides a guide to restaurant owners with what they should be saying. 

Apply For A Disaster Loan

This article highlights what you need to know about Economic Injury Disaster Loans for restaurant businesses.:

Create a Local Relief Fund for your restaurant workers. Many restaurants are creating Go Fund Me pages to collect donations to help support their staff that they have had to let go or furlough. No matter how much or how little, this can definitely help. 

Here’s a list of other restaurants with fundraising campaigns.

Take Care Of Your Community And Staff 

Talk To Your Staff

Communicate with your staff and keep them informed on what measures you are taking. In this uncertain time, your team wants to know what’s happening. Be as honest and transparent as you can possibly be. Let them know you’re a resource and provide help where needed. 

Give Back To The Community

If financially possible, donate meals to local hospitals. Pay your staff to help provide meals to workers on the frontline or the eldery who are unable to get food themselves. Restaurants can turn their spaces into soup kitchens. People will remember your efforts when restaurants reopen. This might be a differentiator for potential guests when choosing a place to dine in the future. 

Plan For The Future 

Revenue Streams

With closed doors, focus on other revenue streams. Make sure your website is up to date and try offering gift cards, merchandise, cocktail kits and frozen meals. Use the virtual environment to your advantage. Consider selling online cooking or mixology classes.

High Profit Menu Creation 

When restaurants begin to open again people will be extremely excited for the restaurant dining experience. Make sure your menus are completely up to date. Create a high-profit smaller menu with big margins so when business is back you can begin to generate profits quicker and recover from the hiatus. Analyze each item on your menu to determine its profitability to optimize your offerings. With this information, you can swap out a few of the less profitable items for similar more profitable choices. This article digs deeper into the steps to create a profitable restaurant menu.

We recommend restaurant owners use the down time very wisely. Now is your opportunity to update anything at your restaurant you didn’t have time for before. Maybe that includes making sure your website is clear and easy to use, updating your signage, reviewing your business model, and going over your supplier arrangements. Use this down time wisely as it will help you prepare for a profitable comeback.