Is your restaurant prepared for a possible 3rd wave of the corona virus?

Successful restaurant owners will need to take a meticulous and measured approach to both preparing for future crises, as well as recovering from this pandemic, with the likely prospect of a “third wave” of COVID-19.

The unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic pose an unprecedented challenge to restaurant operations in Belgium and Europe. National lockdowns followed by unequal country reopening arrangements and proprietary procedures and sanitation guidelines have forced hospitality operators and their teams to adapt to a rapidly evolving environment.

Each new wave has broadly the same characteristics: it is always of unknown duration and severity, resulting in a regional or national outbreak, resulting in different measures that will eventually lead to a complete shutdown. To successfully navigate these events, operators must consider these three proven strategies to prepare for each new wave of the pandemic.

What have you learned in the meantime?

The first thing a hospitality business owner should do when the restaurant reopens is conduct a short interview with each staff member followed by a full debriefing of the COVID-19 response. Methodically go through each part of the answer and ask two questions: “What did we do right?” and “What do we need to work on?” By doing this, a successful debriefing will identify both the restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses.

Follow these three rules to decide how to conduct a debriefing:

  • Have this meeting take place within 15 days before reopening. Memories will quickly fade if the staff falls back on the routine and valuable lessons learned can be lost.
  • 100% Participation: Everyone must participate in this meeting, management owner(s) and even part-time employees and flexi-jobbers (students) must participate, as they can offer unique angles on each element of your presentation.
  • Contact a third party to conduct the meeting. It is critical that you receive honest, candid feedback on the management and operation of your crisis plan. This cannot be achieved if the meeting is chaired by the same manager(s) whose policies and procedures will be discussed. Therefore, have the meeting chaired by a person NOT associated with your restaurant. Because when management leads the meeting, employees can become extremely reluctant to say anything that is perceived as critical of their superiors.

After this meeting, it is appropriate to write a full report of all that has been determined. In crisis management we call this an “After-Action Report”. This document will contain actionable improvement steps and building blocks for any future procedure that will need to be implemented to strengthen the restaurant’s resilience.

Prepare for the end of another lockdown

Don’t let the valuable lessons go to waste! Once the crisis meeting has been completed, the recommendations should be anchored in a “Covid-19 Plan”. There is little doubt that the long-term threat of this or possibly a new pandemic has become an integral part of our daily lives. We will therefore continue to bear the consequences for a long time to come, even after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Therefore, restaurant professionals need to prepare for the possibility of new spikes that – depending on the severity – could trigger a public health action, resulting in another lockdown.

Don’t forget other possible crisis situations

The saturation of news about the COVID-19 virus has overshadowed the other natural, technological or security risks restaurateurs face on a daily basis. Contingency plans for restaurants after COVID-19 should consider how to deal with an additional emergency simultaneously with COVID, such as water damage due to storms, road works that make your business less or no longer accessible, a bad season (e.g. coastal tourism and bad weather, a general power outage in part of the city and yes also suppliers that might go out of business). These situations will just become even more complex in the “new normal”.

For example, in case of storm water damage, it will initially include a “save what can be saved” plan, where high concentrations of own staff and contractors will have to work in a small room. COVID-19 also requires adaptation of these often pre-existing disaster scenarios, as workers in multiple locations may need to be protected simultaneously and/or add masks and social distancing barriers to current procedures to ensure COVID-19 precautions are maintained. And what if you want to restart at a temporary location until you can receive your customers in your restaurant again… how will you deal with this?

As you can see… a lot of food for thought to make your company future proof.


Do you want assistance of an external expert in your company?

Do you want to know how or do you need help with this, request a no-obligation. brainstorming session by clicking on the link below.
About the author

Leave a Reply

Business Strategies

Every month we share with you the most up-to-date & inspiring business strategies from home and abroad. This way you stay “already one step ahead” in the development of your future-proof company!

Subscribe for our newsletter

Case Studies