100 Ideas for the Food & Beverage Industry Post COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis led to major structural and operational changes for the restaurant industry, from the implementation of new health standards to adaptation to new customer expectations. We offer 100 ideas to allow independent restaurateurs or operating in hotels to meet these challenges and choose from this list the most suitable ideas for their activity.

PART I. Back of House

Train employees and display new sanitary measures in the kitchen
2. Buy local products and communicate with the customers
3. Control products traceability
4. Reduce food waste with Winnow Solutions technology
5. Set quantifiable targets for reducing food waste
6. Wearing a mask for cooks (linen mask for more comfort) and all other employees until the obligation is lifted
7. Ensure regular hand washing with a timer
8. Review the goods reception protocol (floor marking) and prohibit anyone from outside to enter into the kitchen (supplier/delivery person, etc.)
9. Remove packaging before storage or disinfect what cannot be unpacked
10. Wash all products coming into the kitchen (for fresh food, do not wash them with a cleaning product, but leave them 24h in the fridge before their use)
11. Reconditioning of all goods received in cleaned containers (plastic or stainless steel) before storage

Management and Adaptation of the Business Model
12. Stay informed of the latest state support measures (example: State guaranteed bank loans) and regulations
13. Stay informed about the support measures for your region and your city (example: exemption from certain taxes, including the public domain occupancy charges for terraces and stands) and local regulations
14. Find out about partial unemployment measures and their duration
15. Ensure the permanent supply of consumables items (hydro-alcoholic gel, wipes, soaps, gloves, masks, trash bags, etc.) 
16. Establish a partnership with bicycle delivery companies 
17. Offer takeaway meals to compensate for the decrease in seating
18. Display the takeaway menu outside the restaurant and on the restaurant’s website
19. Ecological and quality packaging for takeaway and delivery dishes (adapt the meals so that they are easily transportable and keep good quality once delivered)
20. Offer tutorials on the internet to explain how to reheat the food
21. Provide takeaway meals at collection points at local shops (click and collect model)
22. Offer homemade derivative products, for example, delicatessen
23. Offer baskets of (organic) products with a recipe (to be cooked online afterwards with the chef)
24. Offer picnic baskets
25. Create vouchers payable in advance for loyal customers who want to support the restaurant
26. Reduce the menu offer to avoid losses and implement daily specials
27. Prioritize seasonal products
28. Partner with local producers

Sanitary / Cleaning
Establish and display a restaurant cleaning/disinfection plan, visible to customers to reassure them
30. Materialize by marking on the ground or any other ways, the distance of at least 1 to 2 meters between clients and employees
31. Remove the waste regularly
32. Use bins with lid and pedal
33. Check more often and regularly the cleaning of the toilets
34. Permanently check the presence of soaps and paper hand drying napkins (unplug air dryers)
35. Adapt the ventilation/air circulation system to new sanitary standards. Contact professionals for appropriate advice
36. Train all employees in new sanitary procedures (update the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, also called HACCP, if necessary). Control and retrain
37. Establish a health chart to follow and involve employees in its establishment (letter to sign)
38. Mention Safety and Health clause in the new employee contracts
39. Apply the ‘job advice posters’ of your Ministry of Labor (often available on the internet)
40. Organize meals for staff on a different schedule
41. Avoid personal items (cellular phone, bags, etc.) in the restaurant and the kitchen
42. Wash uniforms on-site preferably or make sure the uniforms are washed at 60 degrees and transport in a closed packaging
43. Define the number of people who can have lunch together and leave only the amount of chairs needed
44. Mark the chair location on the ground
45. Clean the employee room (surfaces or equipment in contact with the hands) after each break
46. Pedal taps in the toilets and at the bar
47. Swing doors or automatic door opening (including bathrooms)
48. Prefer furniture made of aluminum, steel, sky or any material that can be easily disinfected
49. Prefer tables and bar tables with a rapidly disinfectable surface

Partie II. Front of House

50. Give priority on reservations to avoid unforeseen groups
51. Have an online reservation system
52. Have a pre-order system via mobile app or restaurant website
53. Extend hours of operation and service
54. Give priority to outdoor spaces and have signs and floor markings. Control the flow of clients to avoid overcrowding (safety first, but it is also part of your reputation too)
55. Implement an uninterrupted service and spread out customer arrivals
56. Have a hydroalcoholic gel dispenser available at the restaurant entrance, on the tables and at the toilet entrance (adapt this measure to the type of establishment, for example upper-luxury hotels will prefer more personalized options)
57. Provide a mask to your customers if needed
58. Take the temperature of customers upon arrival
59. Establish a unique and logical flow of circulation in the restaurant to prevent people from crossing paths
60. Provide a cloakroom at the entrance and avoid coats in the restaurant
61. Take customer contact details to ensure contamination tracking/traceability if necessary
62. Use the COVID-19 tracing applications but consider the right of privacy of each individual
63. Respect the distance between tables
64. Install customers in staggered rows on rectangular tables
65. Place individual disinfectant wipes on the tables
66. Install a screen between tables when social distancing is not possible
67. Install a plexiglass display case in front of the bar
68. Eliminate unnecessary items on the tables
69. Invite the customer to download the menu to their mobile phone using a QR code
70. Display the menu on a blackboard or overhead projection on the wall
71. Display the drinks menu behind the bar
72. Display the bottles of wine/alcohol on a wine list
73. Post the origin of the products and goods to inform the customers
74. Eliminate dressing items on tables or have individual portions of salt and pepper
75. Avoid aperitifs (e.g., chips, peanuts) to share on the table
76. Wearing of the gloves according to the type of service while being very vigilant about regular hands disinfection
77. Place drinks on the table and let the customers refill their glasses
78. Serve individual bread in a paper bag or on request
79. Place the cutlery wrapped in a napkin or in a paper envelop
80. Protect cheese and dessert carts with plexiglass windows
81. Take orders on an electronic device with instant impression in the kitchen and at the bar
82. Have a light signal when the toilets are occupied to avoid too much traffic in the restaurant
83. Send the bill via a mobile application directly to the customer’s phone
84. Add to the electronic bill an online customer satisfaction questionnaire (including hygiene to improve) to be returned by the customer within 24 hours, and act on it
85. Prefer contactless payment and disinfect the bank card machine after each use
86. For hotels, develop the room service offer
87. Target/broaden your clientele base to local customers
88. Offer plate service only
89. Prioritize the portions on a plate and individual portions on the buffet (if buffets are allowed)
90. Develop Show Cooking and Live Station to maintain a buffet and avoid the touch/contact with customers. Install plexiglass screens and sneeze guards to protect the food from customer
91. Carry out feedback and share experiences of the uncertainties of the day to adapt the procedures and measures initially planned
92. Be present and active on social media and update the website to inform customers on the hygiene and sanitary measures taken in relation to COVID-19 (have an Instagram page, post stories and photos…)
93. Work with e-reputation and digital communication agencies or train an employee
94. Know and contact influencers on social media to develop local customers and compensate for the loss of international clientele
95. Have proactive communication: newsletters and emails sent to customers to reassure them and encourage them to come safely to the establishment

Creative Ideas Out of the Box

96. Write the servers’ first name on their masks
97. Draw a smile on the waiters’ mask
98. Concept PLEX’EAT from Christophe Gernigon
99. Film the kitchen and project live on a screen in the restaurant
100. Have an open kitchen to the room or glazed

Written by

Marie-Amélie PONS Roinson, École Hôtelière de Lausanne Alumna and Stéphanie Fichter, Hospitality Management Consultant, with the participation of Eliana Levine, Vani van Nielen, Larina Maira Laube, and Paloma Guerra École Hôtelière de Lausanne Students and Alumna.

Global Asset Solutions, your key partner in hotel asset management, has partnered with a team of three students and two graduates from l’École Hôtelière de Lausanne, with the collaboration of Remy Rein (EHL Lecturer). We are working together to compile best practices to help hotel owners and operators to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. By combining diligent research, expert opinions, and our own experiences, we will be publishing the best practices on the most current topics facing our industry.

Co-Published with Alex Sogno (CEO – Senior Hotel Asset Manager at Global Asset Solutions). Mr Sogno began his career in New York City after graduating with honours at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. He joined HVS International New York, and he established a new venture at the Cushman & Wakefield headquarters in Manhattan. In 2005, Mr Sogno began working for Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI), founded by HRH Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud member of the Saudi Royal family, and asset managed various hotels including Four Seasons, Fairmont, Raffles, Mövenpick, and Swissôtel. He also participated in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of KHI at the London Stock Exchange as well as the Dubai International Financial Exchange. Mr Sogno is also the co-writer of the ‘Hotel Asset Management’ textbook second edition published by the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA), the American Hotel & Lodging Education Institute, and the University of Denver. He is the Founder of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association Asia Pacific (HAMA AP) and Middle East Africa (HAMA MEA).

Thank you to the Food & Beverage professionals who shared their vision with us:
Morad El Hajjaji, Restaurant INDA-BAR, Geneva, Switzerland
Patrick Ogheard, Associate Dean, Practical Art, École Hôtelière de Lausanne