July 9, 2021

Can Hospitality Return to Normal Post Corona?

by Illumin8

Your Local Accountant

Hospitality is an industry hit hard by the global pandemic. For many small business owners looking to open the doors again, it won't be easy. There's a number of requirements to adhere too. Here's our summary.

Remember those times when you could enjoy a long black in a porcelain cup, runny eggs on toasted sourdough? Bring on Monday, I say.

After two months of mandatory shutdown, our favourite restaurants and cafes will be re-opening for dine-in customers on June 1 but with staged restriction still in place, will life return to normal? If you are a customer, you may stop reading here but be prepared for change; and please be kind. With some easing of restrictions and the release of detailed guidelines for re-opening, the hospitality industry has been forced to undergo a metamorphosis in a very short period of time. Restaurants and cafes have made dramatic changes to prepare to safely resume operations for customers and staff.

Expect the best, plan for the worst

The fundamental change that we are all going to have to live with for some time is physical distancing. The density quotient requirements are not going away anytime soon, and for the majority of restaurant and cafes, this means this first stage of easing, is it.This is not a short term fix; businesses need to assume that any plans you are putting in place for June 1, are sustainable for the next six or twelve months or maybe beyond. You need to ensure your business is sustainable now and more importantly post-JobKeeper; you need to "ensure you can survive getting off the medication,” as the PM put it. Getting this right is critical. While we're looking at the plan to re-open for dine-in, the plan not to is equally important. Without a considered plan in place, you will be blindly re-opening when the best decision could be to proceed as you currently are, or to keep the doors closed.

Hospitality Industry Guidelines for Covid-19 - A Summary

  • “… intended to assist hospitality businesses to prepare to safely resume operations in accordance with the easing of restrictions, while also ensuring the public feels confident that their health and safety is being protected …”
  • Remember, this is Law. Heavily penalties apply for non-compliance.

Contained within the guidelines is a checklist and an appendix that will assist with ensuring you are complying with the guidelines. These are found on the 2nd & 3rd last pages of the document.

Required Actions & Recommendations (edited)

  • Read the Hospitality Industry Guidelines For Coronavirus (COVID-19) in detail. Twice.
  • Plan, Plan, Plan – we’re going to be here for a while, being prepared, having a plan has never been more critical.
  • Cash Is King – develop a cash flow forecast; knowing not to re-open is more important than blindly re-opening.
  • Protect & Prepare staff – protect the wellbeing of your staff and ensure they we well informed and trained.
  • Online Booking – encourage online bookings to limit walk-ins; consider deposit to limit no-shows.
  • Set & Staggered Seating – limit overlaps between groups and assist in cleaning and sanitation procedures.
  • Minimum Spend – implement limits to minimise loss-making seatings.
  • Record Patron Details – the first name and contact number must be recorded for every patron, not just one every table.  
  • Menu Lamination – laminate and sanitise between each use.
  • Clean – implement processes and procedures for additional hygiene and cleaning; this includes high touch surfaces, bathrooms and hands.
  • Limit Patrons – 20 patrons per separate dining space (not including staff or those waiting for take-away); indoor and outdoor treated as separate areas.
  • Limit Gathering – minimise opportunities for people to mix whilst waiting for takeaways or tables.
  • Density Quotient – 1 patron per 4 square metres.
  • Table Limits – no more than six patrons per table and not closer than 1.5 metres when seated.
  • Patron Awareness – ensure patrons are well informed; including by staff and signage.
  • Signage – patron limits, ‘good hygiene’ and ‘symptoms check’ signage are a must; social distancing and COVIDSafe app signage are encouraged.
  • Contactless Payments – encourage patrons to pay by card but note cash payments cannot be refused.
  • Rip Off The Bandage – customers will be open to a lot of change day 1; take advantage of this time.
  • Be Prepared – have a plan in place should a staff member or customer test positive for coronavirus; planning will mitigate panic.
  • A checklist to follow before you Re-open – see appendix (page 28 of the guideline) for details checklist for business owners and managers.
  • A checklist to follow once your are open – see appendix (page 30 of the guidelines)  for details checklist for business owners and managers.

Come Monday, things will change yet again. Are you prepared and are you sure of the best actions to take to secure the future of your business?

Guidelines can be found here.


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