What New Dining Trends Will Winter Bring?

The pandemic has undoubtedly devastated the restaurant industry the hardest. There have been millions of jobs lost with nearly 100,000 restaurants closing their doors permanently. The monetary loss is exponential and expected to lose around $240 million this year.  Restauranteurs have been hopeful that before winter hit a vaccine would be available, but as the colder months creep in, the sign of a solution is still not clear.

Restaurants have been able to avoid disaster during the warmer months by utilizing outdoor dining spaces, but with winter knocking on the door and some states still banning or limiting indoor dining, restaurants will need to seek out alternative solutions.

Some restaurants will make sure their establishments are winterized by covering outdoor seating areas, installing heating elements, or offering blankets for guests; however, a lot of restaurants will need to get more creative.

In summer months we saw how restauranteurs rose to the challenge of limited seating capacity and social distancing with innovative dining experiences (read more here). Their will to survive sparked new and unique experiences for diners, and with winter coming we will continue to see that. At the top of the list are investments in heated igloos and tents. Even air filtration units are on the rise to help prevent indoor spread of the virus.

The Envoy Hotel in Boston has converted their rooftop for cold-weather dining with plumbing, gas, heat lamps, and see-through igloos. The hotel also partnered with clothing line Helly Hansen to help staff weather the harsh Boston winter with long, down jackets to keep them stylish and cozy.

Over in the mountains in the Colorado, Aurum Food & Wine in the town of Breckenridge is using yurts — circular, more-permanent tents with glass domes at the top — to keep outside dining alive. The town is allowing tents with rules about exits and heating.

Café du Soleil, a French restaurant in New York City, is testing the use of plastic bubbles in its outdoor seating area. The quarantine bubbles are keeping diners separated from each other to maintain social distancing requirements. It creates a semi-private outdoor ambiance for diners.

To stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining & entertainment In Chicago, the Winter Dining Challenge was started, and it’s a partnership between the city and global design firm IDEO. The challenge puts an emphasis on feasibility and quick & easy implementation, with many ideas like why don’t big cities partner with empty office buildings? Or take over parking lots and hang trays on car doors like a ‘50s drive-in? It’s an excellent initiative to tap into like minds that aren’t in the thick of the crisis, but can offer valuable insights.

All these concepts create a new and unique dining experience, but they are not the only trends to keep an eye on this winter. Restaurants will still continue to seek alternative revenue streams, such as multicourse takeout meals, in-home restaurant experiences, and other innovative offerings. Whatever it takes to stay afloat.

Have any cool ideas to help with winter dining? Comment below.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

 

 

Adapting in Crisis: PointOS CEO on Recent Changes to Restaurant Technology and POS

We sat down with Dylan Penebre, CEO of PointOS, to learn more about how restaurant technology has changed in response to the Covid-19 crisis and its effects on the restaurant industry at large.  

Q: For those who don’t know, what is PointOS?

A: PointOS is an industry leading restaurant management platform that brings together all pieces of restaurant management technology, from order entry, payment processing, reporting analytics, online ordering, and more. By bringing everything together in one place and for one price, we help make restaurants more efficient and profitable.

Q: As a restaurant software provider, how have you seen the covid-19 crisis affect the industry?

A: In the beginning, there were a lot of temporary shut-downs, and as shutdowns continued, we saw some permanent closures. But as states started to open back up, restaurants have been among of the most resilient, and we’re seeing many restaurants have successfully opened back up amidst the crisis and the new landscape it’s created for the industry.

Q: How has the restaurant landscape changed?

A: In a lot of ways. First and foremost, restaurants have needed to adapt to new safety regulations and social distancing guidelines. On the one hand, this has changed a lot of the fundamental ways restaurants interact with dining customers, and in many places, reduced capacity and even consumer caution has limited in-restaurant sales. But on the other hand, we’re seeing new opportunities for revenue arise, which is especially the case with online ordering, where we’re seeing not only increased numbers and sales, but also a shift in the way restaurants are getting themselves online and managing those orders.

Q: Online ordering has been around for a while, but you mentioned this aspect itself is changing. How do you see online ordering shifting from the way it operated before?

A: Historically, third party ordering apps have provided restaurants with a platform to easily reach more customers. More orders initially suggest more profits; however, restaurants have struggled to make these orders as profitable as in-person sales due to high commissions and platform fees. Now more than ever, restaurants are looking to save on their bottom line while increasing alternate sales opportunities. Although online orders are increasing, restaurants using these apps aren’t seeing the profits that should come with it. So this is where we see online ordering changing – customers are looking for online ordering solutions that offer the ease of third party apps without the cost. Which brings us to PointOS To Go – an online ordering app we’ve built into the PointOS Platform for our customers to maximize their profits at no additional cost.

Q: So PointOS launched its own online ordering app in response to this new landscape?

A: Yes, the current crisis expedited it. But regardless of the current context, the restaurant industry is always evolving. As a SaaS company built for this industry, we’re invested in building and adapting our software to the needs of restaurants and bars as they continue to evolve.

Q: Do you see these changes sticking around or dissipating when we eventually do overcome the virus?

A: The circumstance that created these new needs is undeniably unique, but the consumer patterns that have emerged because of it are likely to stick around. Of course, these needs will also continue to evolve, which is why it’s so important restaurants utilize an adaptive platform.

Q: You also mentioned the changing landscape for in-person dining. Has PointOS adapted to accommodate any of these shifts as well?

A: Absolutely. For the in-person dining experience, the challenge has been identifying alternatives to the face-to-face interactions we’re used to. Applying the same contactless philosophy that has made online ordering so successful, we’ve developed additional contactless features to support the entire in-person dining experience – from  waitlists to ordering and checkout – by utilizing QR code technology and integrated mobile wallets.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for restaurants struggling to adapt or utilize new technologies?

A: Using a complete restaurant management platform like PointOS allows you to implement new features more easily because they are built as an extension of the platform you already use. When restaurants attempt to piece together different technologies for their POS, online ordering, payments, etc., implementation becomes more difficult and, when put together, significantly more expensive.

Q: How can restaurants learn more about PointOS?

A: Every bar and restaurant is different, and our team is happy to help show customers how PointOS can work for them. You can contact us directly at sales@pointos.com or 857-250-2719.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

How to Use QR Codes in Your Restaurant

The QR Code Comeback

In the middle of what most are defining as the worst economic recession in the past 100 years, the ideas of “social distancing,” “contactless marketing” and “safety first” are becoming the new norms of interaction.  Businesses big and small are looking for ways to offer customers a touch-free experience. In fact, one of the CDC’s new guidelines for travel is to use contactless options whenever possible.

For your business to survive you need to be able to adapt to the new world order. Every day there are new technologies being introduced to offer safer ways for consumers and business owners to interact. However, there is one technology making a huge comeback, and that’s QR codes (short for quick response codes). Although they never really left, they were never used as widely and successfully as they are being used now.

Firstly, what are QR Codes?

QR codes — which use a scannable design of black and white squares — have been around since the mid-2010s. The code, when scanned using your smartphone’s camera, will open a link. For restaurants, these links can direct customers to their online ordering apps and menus and even allow customers to pay at their table with their phones.

If using an online ordering platform like PointOS To Go, these QR codes can all be generated from the same place but link to different things like your restaurant’s central app, menu, or payment screen for individual tabs. All these different features allow customers to order and pay with less contact, whether dining in or ordering from home, but they can get confusing if you’re not sure how to use them.

So with QR codes making a comeback in the restaurant space, and with lots of options for how to post them and what to link to, how should you use QR codes in your restaurant?

Linking to Your Online Ordering App

Food delivery and online ordering apps have helped keep restaurants operating amidst the crisis. Though many restaurants are now open at limited capacity for in-person dining, restaurants continue to rely on delivery and takeout to make up for lost in-person sales. QR codes posted at the table or hostess stand can link directly to your online ordering app, encouraging customers to download your app while on-site for easier ordering and payment while also making sure they’ll have access to your app after they return home for quick online ordering in the future.

Linking to Your Onsite Menu

In addition to QR codes placed at the hostess stands, QR codes can be placed directly on tables for customers to scan for an online or PDF version of your onsite menu. This prevents the need for staff to sanitize menus after each use or pay printing fees for single use menus.

While some sanitization and safety requirements may be lifted as the crisis eventually comes to an end, scannable menus provide a more cost effective and adaptable option for in-person dining that will remaining useful long after COVID recedes.

Using QR Codes for Contactless Payment

Prior to COVID, lots of new contactless payment options started to emerge and become popular in retail settings. The original idea was to make purchasing more accessible and secure, but now it’s become a useful way to remain touch-free from others.

Though the safety risks of cash is more obvious – having been circulated and touched by uncountable numbers of people – credit cards can also collect and carry the virus. That is why using QR codes to purchase products has become a must.

To enable QR codes by payment, you can set your POS to print unique payment QR codes on each check. Customers can then simply scan the code and submit payment through their phone. As an added benefit, customers can save their payment info to app for future in-person or online orders (or checkout even faster if they’ve already saved it!).

The Future of QR Codes

Even as COVID numbers see a decrease and restaurants go back to normal, these changes in the way we do things are likely to stick around. Once we beat COVID, people will want to continue with ways to stay safe & hygienic in shared environments. Not to mention, restaurants will also continue to benefit from the added efficiency of contactless menus and payment options.

Although these changes were probably always on the horizon, we can see now how the pandemic pushed them forward more quickly and with more success than expected. If you’re interested in finding out more info on how to get your restaurant up to speed with QR codes, PointOS is here to help.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

Advantages & Disadvantages to Contactless Payments in Restaurants

Contactless payments launched in 2007, but its only now that the pandemic is driving a shift toward a cashless society. With electronic payments businesses and consumers can reduce multiple touch points in restaurants, adhering to COVID-19 safety measures.

As consumers continue to maintain social distancing from cash, they are becoming more comfortable with using cashless payment methods for purchases, and there are no shortages of payment options. They can make payments using everything from contactless credit cards, debit cards, bank cards, tap cards, and contactless card solutions like TouchPay Direct, cashless ATMs, mobile payment apps, QR codes, and even wearables like the Apple watch.

It seems that while a cashless world has been on the horizon for a number of years, the coronavirus pandemic has finally given the public a firm reason to give up cash. We are currently seeing a widespread change in consumer behavior propelling the desire for a cashless society forward – including for those who were previously skeptical of going cashless.

However, before your restaurant makes the shift to card or mobile payments only you need to weigh out the pros and cons as you might lose customers who prefer, or need, to pay with cash.

Advantages of a contactless payments

For many consumers, using contactless payments can provide much needed reassurance while shopping in stores during the pandemic. While these new purchase options may seem unusual for some, Covid-19 has caused businesses and consumers to seek touch-free payment alternatives.  It has quickly become second nature for consumers to tap their card to pay for goods and services instead of using cash or punching in a PIN.

No Hidden Fees for Merchants 

Contactless payment systems don’t have additional fees, so businesses that decide to accept them are only required to pay the usual credit card fees.

Consumer Demand

The demand for paying with smartphone wallets is on the rise, especially since the pandemic. It’s even predicted to grow tremendously more since consumers are ready for the benefits of better security and the ease of tap-and-pay as well as continuing to social distance.

Better Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to increase your repeat business and sales, and there are a few different styles restaurants can choose from. Away with the simple punch card that gets stamped with every purchase is a popular choice. On the rise is accruing points through a customer profile or loyalty app.

Now you can have a loyalty program that works with a smartphone’s wallet to automatically keep track of rewards. These programs use the same tech as contact payments, and even let customers pay directly through their wallet for total convenience. So, if customers forget their cards or member numbers, it’s no problem.

That ease will bring more repeat business to your restaurant—it’s a win-win.

Contactless Payments are Faster & Safer

Contactless methods are fast and give customers a better purchasing experience. PIN numbers or signatures aren’t required, and change doesn’t need to be counted the way it does for cash transactions. What’s more, receipts can be emailed instead of printed out. So, way less handling of cards and machines from both parties involved in the transaction.

Disadvantages of a contactless payments

 While the positives of contactless payments outweigh the negatives there are, there are two you can look at.

Security and Fraud Concerns for Customers

The USA has only just started shifting to chip card technology and now we’re asking them to move to contactless payments. As of 2018, the United States is trailing global leaders when to comes to mobile payments (France has the highest proportion of transactions using non-cash methods, followed by Sweden and Canada). As the owner or manager of a restaurant, you would have to consider how to educate your customers on the security benefits of tap-and-go payments.

The Age of the User

For obvious reasons, millennials have accepted more to contactless payments, while older generations remain more skeptical. My grandmother was still busy writing checks not too long ago. Change is hard for older generations. It’s estimated that just 25% of adults older than 35 have started using contactless payments. However, since the pandemic there has been a huge shift to even the elderly using contactless payments.

As we look to a post-pandemic future, the change in customer behavior during the pandemic is likely to stay within the foodservice space. Since the success of a cashless system depends heavily on each individual restaurant’s business model and concept, only time will tell if the future will be completely cashless.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

5 tips to help market your restaurant’s online ordering

The restaurant industry has been hit the hardest over the past few months. Although we are seeing an ease in restrictions as restaurants begin reopening for sit down dining, many diners remain wary of being around others. Because of this, takeout and delivery will continue rise in popularity and be the salvation of the dining market.

What we know is that third-party apps dig deep into the profits of your restaurant, and a more profitable option is in-house online ordering. As a business owner it’s easy for you to choose a third-party because you feel you can borrow the market reach that they come with. However, in these tough times keeping money in your pocket is more valuable, and you can easily market your online ordering business yourself. We’ve put together some pointers below to help you get started (and it’s easier than you’d think!).

The first step is letting customers and potential customers know they can order directly from your website. So, your main focus is getting that message out there and widely known. After that, the money will follow.

1. Get Creative with Social Media

Being present on social media platforms like Instagram & Facebook should already be a huge part of your online marketing plan, but now it’s even more important. Being active and engaging on social media keeps your brand fresh and on the top of users’ feeds.  It’s also the best way to get your voice out on offering online ordering.

It’s a fast and easy way for your customers to see how, what and when they can order from you.  You can post your specials, incentives or discounts you’re offering—but also think of new ways to engage your audience on social. This could be offering glimpses into your kitchen, a video of your chef adapting a dish for home cooks or a spotlight of an employee. This is the time to differentiate your brand and drive more traffic by finding unique ways to cut through the noise.

2. Reach people where they live

If your restaurant is located in a busy metropolitan area, a geo-targeting ad distributed to devices within 1-2 miles of your establishment will earn you a lot of attention. Messaging, however, is the key to an ad that generates orders, or, if done poorly, puts customers off. Here are a couple of suggestions to make sure your messaging is successful.

Image selection

Let’s face it, pictures of a room dining might have worked in the past, but right now you need to sell your restaurant as a safe, convenient service that offers delicious food that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Word Usage

Select your wording carefully and showcase what your customers are getting if they take action on your ad (i.e takeout and delivery, curbside pickup as a safe, convenient service, bringing delicious food to your home.)

Whats next?

If the purpose of the ad is to generate orders rather than getting customers in the door, give them the option to call or place the order online directly from the ad.

3. Update local listings

A local listing is basically a business directory. Think of it as the present day “yellow pages.” Make sure your business is present and has the right information on Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yelp and other online platforms. This includes changes to your business, menu hours or temporary offers. Remember to treat these listings as an extension of your brand by designing them like miniature versions of your company website.

4. Engage with your customers

You have probably been receiving an influx of marketing emails from every brand you’ve ever done business with to notify you of their COVID-19 updates. Although it’s crucial to keep customers informed, messages like this get lost in already overstuffed inboxes.

However, email and database marketing can still work for your restaurant. It comes down, once again, to messaging:

  • Be sure to showcase your shift in business operations not as a fallback position but as a way you can continue to help serve your customers in the changing environment.
  • Focus on your ability to take orders online and make deliveries.
  • Entice your email database with your delicious offerings, showcasing your top sellers.
  • Keep everyone informed when changes have been made, and make sure to remain positive.
  • Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews-they have the time.

Your database can always grow, and now is the time to focus on that.  People are at home, and they are definitely online, so you can update your website to make signing up to your newsletters easy and even rewarding.  Incorporate some call-to-action elements on social media and in ads so customers can stay continuously updated.

5. Update your website

People are stuck at home and are browsing the internet now more than ever. Making sure your website is up-to-date and easy to find is critical so you don’t miss out on potential sales. If customers struggle to find your site or where you offer your online ordering, then you will miss that sale. You can increase website traffic with these simple tips.

Run Ads

Run ads with google that push people directly to your website.

Keyword optimization

A few months ago, searching for restaurants with “curbside pickup” wasn’t a thing, but now having these words on your website is grabbing more traffic. You need to make sure that your website descriptions are up to date so people can find you when searching for this. For example, if a customer is searching for “Italian food with curbside pickup,” you won’t show up in the search if curbside pickup is not listed on your website, resulting in a lost potential sale.

Make your website mobile friendly

If you haven’t done this already then, you’re losing out on valuable traffic. Most people use their mobile devices, and your website should adjust accordingly.

If your website’s homepage isn’t mobile friendly, then it isn’t user friendly for your customer. Zooming in and out to try and read or click is time consuming, and might deter someone from ordering from you.

Your business will thrive in these uncertain times if you continue to work smart and adapt. So if you don’t offer online ordering yet, or you need an easy and seamless way to offer it, be sure to check out PointOS’s new online ordering app PointOS To Go.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

5 benefits of in-house online ordering

Take-out and delivery have become an essential part of restaurants’ business due to recent COVID related changes and regulations. So, as the world enters a new normal you will see more businesses adapting to survive. Online ordering is one of these adaptations-for most restaurants it was once a luxury but is now a necessity.

Currently there are two main ways to get your business online.

One way is to use a third-party delivery service. They already have the network and the framework to transition you into online ordering and delivery. But did you know that you will need to pay them upfront or give them a huge percentage from each sale made? In the end you can end up making little to no profit on your food and labor. With social distancing still at play and your dine-in restaurant either still not operating or operating at smaller capacity, this is not a favorable situation to be in.

A more cost-effective option is to use an in-house online ordering service. You can do this with a POS system that offers seamless online ordering integration to your website with a downloadable app to put your menu right in your customer’s pocket. This in-house online ordering system is able to offer more benefits for your business by integrating directly with your POS and by keeping profits in your pocket.

Alternatively, you can develop your own online ordering system or app, which will put you back a hefty amount of cash and won’t necessarily be easily integrated with your current point-of-sale system, which also means you will have to manually input everything.

We get it, the thought of dealing with online orders and food deliveries isn’t easy and there is a lot to think about. But did you know some point-of-sale companies, such as PointOS, are now offering free online ordering apps and web integrations to help get your business online as easily and efficiently as possible?

Below we’ve put together some of the benefits of using an in-house online ordering solution like PointOS To Go.

1. Drive revenue and keep the profits for your business

Customers can take orders into their own hands when ordering from the comfort of their own home. They are more willing to take an in-depth look at your menu and see what options are available to them.  Since there’s no pressure of a waiter urging them to make a decision swiftly, they often order more and spend more.

Now if you’re using an in-house online ordering suite that’s included at no extra cost from your POS provider, such as PointOS To Go, you get to keep all those profits for your business instead of handing them over on a silver platter to a third party delivery service.

2. Collect vital data

When you use a third-party app, you are also handing over all your customers’ data to them to benefit from. When you take advantage of an in-house ordering system you can become the owner of that crucial data. All data inputted from your customers can be recorded, and you can track their order patterns to make it easier to customize their experience in future.

3. Customization

When using other food delivery services, there’s hardly any customization available. PointOS To Go offers a web integration and mobile app, and both offer customizable features so you can keep the look and feel of your restaurant’s brand at no additional cost.  With an in-house ordering application, you can customize your menu items with pictures, descriptions, and modifiers set how you want them, making it more functional and aesthetically pleasing to help attract even more customers.

4.Menus are regularly updated

Now more than ever, restaurants are adding new menu options and offers to entice customers amidst the continuing slowdowns and restrictions. This along with supplier shortages and delivery issues are resulting in constantly changing menu options and availability. Because of this, it’s imperative restaurants provide their most recent menu to customers. Rather than going through the tedious task of manually updating each platform’s menu each day, in-house online services such as PointOS To Go can seamlessly integrate to your online POS and restaurant management portal, making menu setup and maintenance a breeze. It even integrates with inventory, keeping all your restaurant data in sync in real-time.

5. Order accuracy

Online orders flow directly from your website to your point of sale in real time so you can say goodbye to missed or inaccurate orders and hello to higher profit margins.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get online! 

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

5 restaurant technology trends to keep an eye on post Covid-19

If there is anything certain it is that the best innovations for businesses come from hardships.

The COVID-19 pandemic is no different, and it has showed us how quickly the restaurant industry can adapt to changed consumer behavior. From being able to have everything at your fingertips to now craving your favorite food-we quickly switched to limited restaurants offering us take-out or delivery only. While we are sure some changes that have been made are not going to be permanent, new consumer behaviors have encouraged restaurants to shift and adapt. Sustained changes and actions towards this new normal will continue to shape restaurants’ success in our new world.

The solution lies in innovated technology that enables consumers to order quickly and remain at a social distance all while staying safe and hygienic.  So, we have taken a look at what some of these new technologies will look like and how they will help.

Online Delivery will be a necessity

It’s a no brainer to start with online delivery, since it has played a major role in keeping restaurants afloat in this time. Restaurants quickly adapted and used this technology to transform their business even if it wasn’t on their original business plan. This trend will continue to rise as customers will now be more cautious of eating out in crowded places after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Contactless Ordering

With the re-opening of restaurants, smart menu boards and online/in-app ordering is one key area in which restaurant operators should focus on immediately to add speed and value to transactions, while minimizing contact between staff and customers.  Technology like this will remove the need for physical menus -which get covered in germs as they get given from one person to the next.

These new technologies can take many forms. Customers can browse menus on their own phones and tablets by downloading the restaurant’s app. They can also even place their order directly from these devices, which further reduces contact. Not to mention, businesses get the added benefit of gaining valuable insights into customer behavior so they can focus on the technologies and order processes that appeal most to their customer, enabling them to maximize ROI and secure repeat visits.

Though ordering kiosks and tabletop tablets might seem like an obvious solution, they are at high risk for transmitting germs if not cleaned properly. So, in comes the use of anti-microbial screens and devices. Companies have already developed such pathogen protection technologies and this will gain traction quickly in the coming months.

Contactless Payments

The rise of mobile wallets and tap-and-pay cards have been around for years, but they are now becoming even more popular and are expected to become a must have for your restaurant. The technology decreases person-to-person transactions and limits surface contact from cash and plastic credits cards.

While electronic payment options like Apple and Google pay are already on the rise, I’m sure we will see more traction in cryptocurrency and even new options we haven’t seen yet! Adding these payment options as they become available will help improve guest safety and lets conscious consumers know their well-being is a top priority.

Virtual gift cards 

Gift card programs can boost revenue and bring in new customers. But rather than passing out physical cards, virtual options eliminate the need for person-to-person contact and keep everything conveniently stored on the cloud.  Look at Starbucks for example, they have nailed this on the head.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Embedding AI into smart boards for drive-thrus will create a safer and more streamlined experience for your customers.  AI can help move guests through lines more quickly and efficiently, all while further reducing the need for human-to-human contact. As we can see that social distancing will remain for some time, most customers will continue to prefer drive-thru and other lower contact options. The speed and convenience that comes with drive-thru service will be as important to increasing customer satisfaction as it is to maintaining a healthy bottom line.

As we move ahead into this new world, the restaurant industry that we knew will continue to evolve and adapt to serve the new consumer behavior. Digitizing and modernizing your guests’ experience while making them feel safe will be the top priority, so these technologies should be on your list.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

Could there still be hope for your restaurant?

The detailing descriptions of the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which issued paycheck protection loans, created by the Cares Act, are also the most frustrating, especially for restaurant owners. These loans are said to be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is divided up by 75% for payroll and 25% for the remainder of expenses like rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

So how can a restaurant that has been mandated to close utilize these funds in this way? The short answer: they can’t, and when they can re-open, they will need to operate at a limited capacity with a limited amount of staff.

You spoke, and congress listened.

The restaurant and hospitality industry are the largest hit industry throughout this pandemic, and they will continue to feel the impact for months to come. Last week, representatives of congress introduced the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which would extend the period in which small businesses can use the money and ease restrictions on the amount they can spend on non-payroll expenses such as rent.

So how would this look?

1. Expands forgiveness for expenses beyond the eight-week period

2. Eliminates the capping of non-payroll expenses from 25%

3. Extends loan terms beyond 2 years

4. Allows deferment on payroll tax for businesses

5. Extends deadlines of re-hiring furloughed or laid-off workers

In addition, a newly proposed bill supporting small and medium-sized restaurants that have struggled to access and make use of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been introduced. The Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act of 2020, or simply, the Restaurants Act, would create a $120 billion grant program tailored at the 500,000 plus medium to small restaurants, and would infuse them with the cash needed to stay open through the rest of the year. This bill aims to help restaurants ride out the pandemic as they face a future of limited dining capacity, public fear and rising costs to cover masks, gloves and cleaning products with very few strings attached.

So how would this look?

1. Under the Restaurants Act, funds are available only to independent establishments with fewer than 20 locations under the same name. This was a caveat designed to avoid a repeat of PPP embarrassments where huge franchises capitalized on these funds and small businesses were left in the dark.

2. Funding would be available until end of 2020

3. The grant covers restaurants’ difference between revenue from 2019 and the anticipated revenue through 2020, and will be capped at $10 million

4. It could be used to cover payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, protective equipment and cleaning supplies, as well as debts and outstanding vendor invoices with no restrictions on how to divvy it up.

The act is far from being signed into a bill of law, but is being widely supported by the likes of chefs and restaurant groups, including the Independent Restaurant Coalition — an advocacy group that took part in a restaurant relief roundtable discussion at the White House earlier this week.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

6 ways restaurants are innovating the restaurant experience with Covid-19

The way we eat, where we eat, and what we eat are definitely changing as a result of the coronavirus. Restaurants are now coming up with new and innovative ways of giving their customers a unique dining experience, while making sure that all guidelines of social distancing are maintained.

Here’s a look at 6 of the unique ways restaurants are battling this challenge.

1. The Inn at Little Washington @innalittlewash

This 3 star Michelin restaurant in Virginia is placing fully kitted out mannequins in their establishment to help with social distancing. With stricter and more limited capacity rules, the idea of guests feeling lonely triggered this restaurant’s idea.

2. Café Roth, Schwerin Germany

This restaurant in Schwerin Germany is taking a more playful approach to social distancing regulations-giving its patrons pool noodle hats to make sure they keep a safe distance.

3. Mediamatic ETEN, Amsterdam @mediamatic_eten

A waterfront vegan restaurant and bar in Amsterdam is sold out through the end of June due to their creative take on social distancing. Guests are seated in private mini greenhouses big enough for three- creating an intimate experience for guests.

4. Fish Tales, Ocean City Maryland @ocfishtales

This Ocean City Bar and Grill has debuted a creative way to ensure customers maintain their distance with some social distancing tube tables.

5. Penguin Eat Shabu, Bangkok China @penguineatshabu

Restaurants are getting thrifty as these patrons eat in between plastic partitions, set up in an effort to contain any spread of COVID-19.

6. Maison Saigon, Thailand @maison.saigon

Originally placing only 1 chair per table, the restaurant felt empty and isolating so in came the panda to help guests to not feel alone.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

Guidance for dine-in restaurants as re-opening phases begin

Our lives and the economy have been disrupted in unimaginable ways due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we can’t keep the world shut down forever, life must continue into the next phase of normal. Whilst the country plans to start re-opening in phases, they use what has been learnt from China for the foundation of the approach. You can check in the map here for the re-opening of states.

The restaurant industry, more than any other industry in the nation, has suffered the most significant sales and job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began. So far, more than 8 million restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed, and the industry has lost close to $80 billion in sales already, with a total projection of $240 billion in sales lost for the by the end of 2020.

Some restaurants have been able to stay afloat by offering takeout and delivery to their customers, but this hasn’t been able to help everyone. As the country starts to open state economies in phases, restaurants will soon be able to start serving sit-down customers. Like everything, there is a “new normal” approach, so if you’re planning on opening your restaurant for dine-in guests you will need to know how to prepare your space. California, Georgia and Florida are a few to mention that have re-opened, but each state will have different phased openings and different guidelines.

We’ve gone ahead and put together some guidance based for your restaurant to follow for Dine-In guests below:

Clean, Sanitize & Disinfect

Before you get ready to re-open, make sure you have your entire restaurant properly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected. This initial clean is important, but it’s also what you do after to keep it clean. You must continue to keep surfaces clean and disinfect before, during, and after every shift and even every seating change. You should also make sanitizer available to your customers by placing them on every table, bathroom, and entry and exit.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Proper hygiene and hand washing from all your staff will help reduce the cross-contamination in your restaurant.  It’s important to remember that hygiene starts before your employees get to work and is essential to protect themselves and others.

You can read more on hygiene safety guidelines for your restaurant here.

Protect your staff

Make sure you provide your staff with the necessary items for protection like gloves, masks and sanitizers to ensure they can protect others and themselves.

  • If you buy disposable masks in bulk, make sure they are accessible to your staff on arrival.
  • A great marketing initiative would be to make branded masks for your staff. You could even offer them for sale to customers who might be interested or forgot their mask in the car or at home.
  • The pre-screening of staff and guests for symptoms should be mandatory by taking temperatures on arrival.
  • Encourage contactless payments like card taps, apple or google pay etc. to help reduce unnecessary contact.

You can read more on employee safety guidelines for your restaurant here.

Social Distancing

Your staff and your guests should remember to social distance at all times.

  • You can place tables 6 feet apart.
  • You can keep your seating as is and put signage that says “not used for social distancing” on tables that won’t be used.
  • Bar areas must remain closed.
  • Encourage customers to make reservations to allow restaurants time to prepare for guests and ask people to sit in their cars while waiting to be seated.

A Breath of Fresh Air

With summer coming and the good weather rolling in, there is no better reason to place guests outside. Most restaurants will be limited to the amount of occupancy they can fill in their restaurant, so If you have outdoor seating, use it and try and expand it to help replace those unused tables inside. This could be done by asking to use adjacent parking lots or sidewalks.

For indoor seating, make sure windows and doors remain open to increase air circulation and ask guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

One-use items

This one really rubs me the wrong way, because here we have been almost saving the environment from lack of pollution and garbage, and now we are going to start adding more garbage. But if you want to stay safe you will need to make sure the following are disposable to minimize contact from staff and customers.

  • Provide one-use menus for each customer. Try by explaining to your customers and see if they are happy to share one menu per table.
  • Utilize single-use utensils, plates, and cups.
  • Replace communal, refillable condiments with single serve packets.

Please remember to use recyclable or composable items where you can.

We are just as excited as you are to get back to business. Keep your selves and your customers safe and healthy by following the above. Don’t forget to use your website and social media to keep customers up to date on what’s happening with your business.

Like our stories or want to hear more?

Drop us a line @ brittany@pointos.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany