How to run a restaurant in the face of uncertainty

The hospitality industry is being hit hard. With small margins, any sustained drop in covers has a big impact. Whether you’ve seen an impact on your business yet or want to prepare now for likely drops to come, here are some steps you can take based on what we’re seeing in the industry at large.

1. Stay informed

As COVID-19 continues to make headlines, reduced travel and government calls to practice social distance and avoid large gatherings are hitting restaurants hard.

  • During forced shutdowns, change your schedule in OpenTable by adding a specific day schedule for the duration of the shutdown.
  • If you’re in a region that allows delivery or takeout, showcase those options.
  • Keep up to date with the latest government advice and recommendations.

2. Connect with your guests

In uncertain times, guests’ behaviours will likely change, and you’ll want to stay in touch with guests who’ve already booked, while continuing to be discovered by those dining out.

  • Call or email guests to cancel reservations, and remember to pause automated email campaigns.
  • Inform guests of precautions you’re taking on your website and via email. You can export your guest list to do this.
  • Update your profile to showcase your delivery and takeaway offering.

3. Meet guests where they are by adjusting your services

People are understandably nervous. Make it easy for people to choose your restaurant and realign the way you operate during these uncharted times.

4. Support your staff

With closures for dine and an increase in delivery and takeout orders, you will likely have a shift in staffing needs and staff members are likely to be concerned. There are ways to take care of them.

5. Adjust operations

As conditions change, stay on top of the impact on your business. Realign the way you operate during these uncharted times.

  • Prepare for delivery and takeaway only.
  • Edit your menu to travel well and offer family meals.
  • Consider selling pantry staples and meal kits.

The state of the restaurant industry

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps people home and some cities, states, and countries limit restaurant operations, our community of nearly 55,000 restaurants faces unprecedented challenges. We’ve summarised the data from the restaurants on our platform of year-over-year seated diners and are updating it daily.

See the latest in the data center→