Why is social distancing important in a restaurant?

Foodies and restaurant owners – the end is nigh! With restaurants gearing up to reopen as the UK’s coronavirus restrictions begin to relax, diners and establishments alike are beginning to imagine what a socially distancing hospitality industry will look like.

Before restaurants begin to proudly reopen their door for their eager dine-in customers, now is the perfect time to refresh our minds on why social distancing measures are so important for post-coronavirus dining. 

Preventing another spike

Although the number of coronavirus cases is decreasing, it will only stay this way if everyone does their bit to limit transmission. This means social distancing precautions must be in place at all businesses set to open in the coming months. 

Restaurants can be chaotic establishments, full of diner-dodging waiters, frantic kitchens, and large, energetic gatherings. This makes planning for a socially distanced future all the more difficult. Although the notions of a public venue and not coming into contact with other people may seem like wildly incompatible concepts, restaurant owners will need to be doing everything they can to make it work.

Social distancing is critical for public health reasons. As we all know, coronavirus can be spread through the air very easily, especially indoors. However, its importance goes further than this. Customers have always had extremely high standards when it comes to eating out, and with coronavirus, these demands will be exacerbated. 

With restaurants returning from a period of financial insecurity, good business means everything, and if customers are not satisfied with an establishment’s social distancing measures, word will spread quickly. Diners will be fussy about where they eat – returning to their normal way of life is a big deal, especially with their health on the line. If a restaurant’s social distancing is not up to scratch, customers won’t think twice about seeming impolite, leaving, or telling their friends. 

How can a restaurant implement social distancing?

Restaurants can take inspiration from the businesses already open to inform their social distancing measures, however, they do face their own distinct challenges. Queue markers can be put in place, tables enlarged and separated, the maximum number of covers available dramatically reduced, and staff can be asked to wear masks. Not only this, we recommend putting up some socially distant screens to help prevent transmission. 

Not only this, but extra hygiene requirements can be put in place in the kitchen and the restaurant floor, with polite yet firm rules urging staff or customers experiencing symptoms not to eat at the establishment. A good idea is to request diners to phone in ahead to make a reservation. This means you can easily control the number of diners at your restaurant, avoiding queues if people are used to your usual capacity.

As a restaurant owner, what can I do to go above and beyond?

Moving tables apart is all good and well, but this doesn’t necessarily stop the transmission of coronavirus, and it’s wise to implement some extra measures. Even if other restaurants aren’t doing so, you’ll stand out from the crowd and keep your diners happy. At Twilight Trees, our sustainably made social distancing dividers can improve the safety of your restaurant by providing a physical barrier between different parties. 

What’s more, we think they’re stunning. Our mobile screens come in a variety of atmospheric designs (and some filled with real plants) to make any table feel like a cosy, intimate space. As they can form lovely changeable booths, which are beautiful in their own right, we think you’ll want to keep them around long after COVID-19 is over.

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