It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on the restaurant and hospitality industry. Around the world, restaurants are temporarily shuttering their dining rooms and trying to stay afloat on takeout and delivery — resulting in a lot of downtime for restaurant chefs, managers, and remaining staff.

While this slow period is obviously far from ideal, it does offer you a chance to tackle some of those “I’ll get around to it eventually” projects on you’ve been putting off. Here are a few ideas for productive things you can do at your restaurant while the world rides out the coronavirus. 

1. Reorganize … everything

In the busy day-in and day-out of a restaurant, even much-needed reorganization projects rarely get done. Take a look around your walk-ins, refrigerators, stock shelves, and storerooms. You’re almost guaranteed to be able to identify areas that could be more efficient, whether that means better utilization of space or more functionality for where items live. 

You can also take this time to clean out areas that tend to accumulate random items — like the host stand, the break area, the office, and the supply closet.

2. Revamp your menu

Have you been toying with the idea of updating your menu? Whether that’s adding some new dishes, removing poor performers, or doing a total overhaul, now is a great time to get serious about it. Maybe you’ll jump into the kitchen and test out some new ideas, or start planning ahead for a seasonal summer or fall menu. When things settle down, your new menu will be printed and ready to delight your guests. 

3. Switch software

Moving to any new software is always a pain, and can often have a negative impact on business and guest experience while your staff is learning how to use it on-the-fly. If you’ve been eyeing a new POS or scheduling software but have felt hesitant to make the move, now could be the opportune time to take the plunge. You and your staff will have a chance to set up the new system and learn its ins and outs in a less-busy atmosphere, and be fully versed by the time business picks back up. Need some ideas? Take a look at Tripleseat’s Marketplace page for our partnerships and integrations with the industry’s best tools.

4. Focus on professional development

When you’re working busy shifts day after day, professional development is probably the last thing on your mind when you get home. This slow period is a great time to catch up on the latest industry podcasts, check out some trending articles and read those professional development books that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Check out This Week in Hospitality and other blog posts on industry topics for some resource recommendations from Tripleseat. 

5. Spruce up your social media

With the many day-to-day tasks of running a restaurant, neglecting social media is easy to do. Take some of this downtime to audit your social media accounts and correct missing or outdated information. Are your hours, address and contact info listed correctly? Is the menu easy to find? Dive into the details to ensure that your pages are doing as much work as possible. To get started, check out our tips for optimizing your Facebook page

While you’re there, make sure you’re communicating with your audience about how your services might have shifted due to the Coronavirus. If you’re offering a limited takeout menu, curbside pick-up or any other pandemic-related changes, post those where they can be easily found. You don’t need to update all of your page info to reflect temporary changes, but you do want to make that info accessible for potential diners. 

Additional resources

To read more about how the coronavirus is impacting the hospitality industry, read our blog posts. For more tips on how to boost your events business, check out our Events Industry Handbooks.

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