For weeks, we learned to adapt to a new normal filled with social media challenges, Zoom meetings, and lots of work hours spent in our kitchens and living rooms. Now, society’s sights are shifting to recovery and the industry can start thinking about what it means to reopen in a post-pandemic world.
However, reopening isn’t as easy as flipping a sign on the door and welcoming people back in the office. It will not be an overnight process; rather, it’s best to reopen in stages that coincide with local and national guidelines.
As you start to consider your plan for reopening, here are four things to consider according to top catering industry experts.
You need to follow the rules.
“Business as usual is gone for the foreseeable future,” states Alan Berg of Wedding Business Solutions LLC. “Limit your choices to things you know you can scale while meeting the restrictions and guidelines from your health department and municipality. Now is not the time to get into gray areas. Liability issues haven’t been tested in court yet, but they will and you don’t want it to be on your watch.”
Remote work may still be advantageous.
“For office personnel, I love the idea of ‘work where you work best,’” says Anthony Lambatos of Footers Catering. “Not everyone is going to be ready to come right back to the office and, if you’ve survived this long not having people in the office, what’s the harm in extending that for a few people? Spacing will be a huge consideration and rethinking what common areas look like. Ultimately, it’s important to come up with standards that work for your business and, then, communicating that with your team.”
You will need new policies and procedures.
“The pre-pandemic days are behind us forever and we need to be adaptable to this change,” shares Meryl Snow of Feastivities Events. “Prior, working in the office was assumed but now, we must be more mindful of health considerations and create procedures around working safely in the office and at event sites. You may want to open up telework options going forward. This may be a work in progress as we navigate the late stages of this crisis, but having some guidelines in place will help you and your team remain organized and prepared.”
There will be high expectations for sanitation.
“No matter what you do, if they don’t see it, you won’t get all of the credit you deserve for keeping them safe,” asserts Berg. “The perception of a safe environment is as important as what you do. You can have a UV robot zap everything in the room, but if they don’t see it, it’s not enough. You need to have visible signs of cleanliness and safety (i.e. someone with gloves and a face covering acting as doorman at the entrance, passages to other areas, and even the restrooms). When they see your team wiping things down during the event, that will give them more peace of mind.”
Although the thought of reopening may seem like a distant point on the road map, now is the best time to start preparing your business for the changes we’ll face on the other side. Make your plans now, so when the time comes, you and your team will be ready to hit the ground running with all of the necessary sanitation and health parameters in place