Jon Taffer, the host of the hit reality series Bar Rescue on the Paramount Network, said on Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow that restaurants and bars have an important role to play in restarting the U.S. economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But he said establishments have to first learn how to adapt themselves to a vastly altered commercial landscape.
Jon Taffer outlined several ways that bars and restaurants can help themselves once state and local governments start lifting restrictions and social distancing requirements.
First and foremost is the issue of trust, Taffer said. “Trust has to be transparent today,” he said, adding that establishments must take concrete steps to show customers that they take health concerns seriously. He said customers will be more inclined to patronize restaurants with higher and more visibly apparent health standards
“These are the kinds of things as an industry we need to think about going forward.”
Bars and restaurants represent a vital part of the economy, but they have been among the industries that hardest hit by the Chinese coronavirus, which has forced many to close table service and rely on the less lucrative delivery or curbside service.
1. Safety seals on delivery food packages
Taffer cited a 2019 study by U.S. Foods that found that 28 percent of delivery drivers touch or eat some of the food they are carrying. To avoid potential health risks, he recommended restaurants implement safety seals on all delivery packages to ensure that food and beverages haven’t been compromised. “The bag should be folded, stapled, and should have a seal across it,” Tapper said.
2. Spreading out tables inside restaurants
When bars and restaurants re-open, they will almost certainly have to provide more spacing between tables. Taffer said that the burden should be on the government to provide some kind of minimum standard so that restaurants can show customers that they are adhering to the law. “There needs to be a standard we can all follow,” he said.
3. Longer hours
An increase in table spacing means fewer seats, which means that businesses will have to find new ways to make up for lost revenue. Taffer said bars and restaurants can start by increasing their hours of operation. “I’m going to lose 40 percent to 50 percent of my seating,” he said. “So I have to extend my operating hours.” Gradually, businesses can start adding back seats once things start returning to normal. “It will evolve back,” he said.
4. More outdoor seating
Another way to increase seating capacity while maintaining greater table separation is to provide more outdoor seating. Taffer said cities should start examining this option so that restaurants can be ready once they re-open. “It has to be done in some organized way on a local basis,” he said.
5. Owners shouldn’t be afraid to appeal directly to your customers
Consumers know that bars and restaurants have been struggling. Taffer said businesses should make their circumstances explicit to the community: “We can say to the consumer, ‘Support us, we’re in this together.’ That’s powerful.”
6. Replenish your food and beverage inventories
Many establishments will face empty refrigerators when they resume full service, so owners should be planning now to replenish their inventories. “Restaurants buying that inventory is critical to the reset of America,” said Taffer. He said those orders will impact farmers, ranchers, truck drivers, and many other industries along the supply chain.
7. Government should provide an inventory credit for product lost due to coronavirus
Taffer said the government should help businesses by providing an inventory credit so that they can get back on their feet. He also said establishments need an allowance to buy sanitizing equipment, new uniforms, and other necessities that will help them handle food and drinks in a safe way.