How to run a restaurant in the face of uncertainty

The hospitality industry is being hit hard. With small margins, any sustained drop in covers has a big impact. Nearly every restaurant is feeling the impact and preparing for likely shifts to come. No matter what scenario you’re in, OpenTable is here to offer steps you can take based on what we’re seeing in the industry at large.

Updated July 8, 2020

Featured resources

DIRECTORY

Resources for restaurant owners and staff to navigate COVID-19
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Practical financial tips from restaurateurs

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FAQ

Restaurants and Coronavirus Relief under the CARES Act
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1. Stay informed

As COVID-19 continues to impact all of us, reduced travel, government calls to practice social distance, and elimination of large gatherings are hitting restaurants especially hard.

2. Connect with guests

Guests’ behaviors are changing. You’ll want to stay in touch with guests who’ve already booked, while continuing to be discovered by those looking to dine out in cities where restaurants remain open.

  • Call or email guests to cancel reservations, and remember to pause automated email campaigns.
  • Keep guests informed about what services you’re offering, hours of service and precautions you’re taking on your OpenTable profile and your website. 
  • Update guests as you continue to shift your operations via email. Here’s how you can export your guest list.
  • Monitor guest feedback and respond to guest concerns across all your channels

3. Meet guests where they are by adjusting your services

People are experiencing different comfort levels when it comes to eating out . Make it easy for people to engage with you in a way that makes them feel most comfortable by aligning with their preferences during these uncharted times.

4. Support your staff

With closures for dine and an increase in delivery and takeout orders, you will likely have a shift in staffing needs and staff members are likely to be concerned. There are ways to take care of them.

5. Encourage increased cleanliness

The more you can do to go above and beyond to protect your guests and reassure them about your hygiene efforts, the better.

  • ServSafe is offering free online courses for restaurant staff about food handling precautions for takeout and delivery.
  • Increase sanitation by keeping hand sanitizer at the entrance.
  • Clean counters, handles, and bathrooms more frequently and thoroughly.

Resources

BLOG

What your restaurant can do in the face of COVID-19
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BLOG

OpenTable COO on restaurant impact from COVID-19
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CHECKLIST

COVID-19 checklist: Restaurant best practices
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TEMPLATE

Email templates for communicating with guests about COVID-19
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How restaurants are getting creative with grocery offerings
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How a virtual community is helping with mental health and sobriety resources
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The state of the restaurant industry

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps people home and some cities, states, and countries limit restaurant operations, our community of nearly 60,000 restaurants faces unprecedented challenges. We’ve summarized the data from the restaurants on our platform of year-over-year seated diners and are updating it daily.

See the latest in the data center

“The world’s health and the health of our industry is at the front of our minds now. In times of economic uncertainty restaurants get hit hard. While we don’t know the complete impact at this time, one thing is for certain, we have the backs of our nearly 60,000 restaurant partners. We are in this together.”

Andrea Johnston, OpenTable COO