Few industries have been hit quite as hard by the pandemic as your local restaurant. Since March, businesses of all kinds have faced challenges in the ways they do things, but for restaurants, it’s been especially tough.
The past several months have been a test of how restaurateurs think on their feet. The transition to takeaway and curbside, implementing online ordering, hooking up to delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats, plus wrestling with ever-changing guidelines has made quick-thinking just as important as great food.
During the summer months, many restaurants pulled out all the stops to create the outdoor seating space they needed to find safe places to service patrons. And they didn’t just toss out some folding chairs either; many businesses invested heavily in expanding patios, bringing in tents, heaters, and even leasing additional space from neighbors or their municipalities to make it work.
Those efforts were largely successful, but now, in the cold months of winter, indoor dining is as inevitable as it is risky. Bringing patrons indoors has been proven to expose staff and visitors at a remarkable high rate. Studies have shown that coronavirus patients were two times more likely to have dined indoors than a control group.
Here in Michigan, the Department of Health and Human Service announced on October 29 that it would enforce a number of new guidelines targeted specifically at restaurants aimed at mitigating this heightened risk. First, restaurants cannot seat more than six people at a table. Additionally, all patrons would be required to check-in with their name and phone number in order to help contact tracers get in touch in the event of an outbreak.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but we’ve been using a very simple, contactless option that we wanted to share. Instead of using a pen and paper, a tablet, or including that information on receipts, here’s what to do.
Make A Form. Platforms like MailChimp allow users to create Forms for free. Many websites on WordPress or Squarespace also have built-in Forms that can be customized. For this it’s simple; Name and phone number. Done.
Give It A Home. Create a new page on your site with a very easy to remember URL, like qandm.agency/checkin. Using this URL, you can create graphics and POS signage to inform patrons how to sign-in on their phones. It’s also handy to make a custom QR code that visitors can scan to get right to the form.
Keep It Safe. Next, make sure the code populates somewhere easy to access. We’ve been using Google Drive with a dedicated Sheet to store the contact information safely and securely, with management-level access.
Tell The World. Finally, get the word out. The best way to get customers on-board is to give them a heads-up before they show up. Spend a little time creating a suite of graphics on social media and across all your digital platforms that clearly offer instructions on how to check-in. This will go a long way towards keeping things running smoothly.
Need help? Let us know!