Information and Resources

How to Manage Your Restaurant During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Over the past month, we've witnessed the impact a public health crisis like COVID-19 can have on restaurants. With all 50 states having declared state of emergency, closures of non-essential businesses, restrictions on restaurant operations, and shelter in place mandates, restaurant sales are down 80%. 

Some of you have been sharing stories of an uptick in online orders, lost revenue from canceled events and catering, and even declining profits. Many of you are talking about how it’s affecting your staff and how you’re changing your business model to keep them in a job.

We’re bringing all those efforts together. During the coming weeks, this page will be updated in real-time to provide access to resources and information that can help you manage your business through uncertain times and keep your staff and customers safe. Here's an ongoing, frequently updated list of available relief and helpful assets for your restaurant. 

Navigating the crisis together. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 is impacting all businesses, including the hard-working owners, operators, farmers, delivery drivers, staff, and just about everyone in the food industry. Government and social responses are changing at a rapid pace, and we believe it’s more important than ever to monitor what’s happening to rally support however we can. Will we update this page regularly with content to help affected restaurant people weather the furious storm that is COVID-19.

We’re also producing a weekly newsletter that pulls together resources like these, stories from the ground, and other articles across the industry to help the restaurant community navigate the challenges of COVID-19 together. 

Subscribe to the newsletter.

Chapter One

Taking Care of Your Staff

Communities depend heavily on the food service workers who keep the country running. And even as social distancing efforts increase, diners still need to eat, so we’ll likely see consumer behaviors change to demand food in different ways. That means staffing needs will change, too.

But nearly seven million Americans in the restaurant industry are forced to go without pay if they’re too sick to work, so a health crisis can be extra frightening for restaurant staff.

Protecting your team during a public crisis can make all the difference in your staff’s wellbeing and tenure at your restaurant.

Now, more than ever, restaurant workers need support. Here are some ways to care for your team. 

Chapter Two

Communicating to Guests

As restaurant professionals face hard decisions about their business models moving forward, many guests are still looking for ways to support their favorite local businesses. As the situation develops, it’s important to reach out to your customers directly — via your restaurant website, social media, Google My Business, email, physical signs, and more — to communicate any changes you may be making, share your sanitization procedures, and encourage support and empathy in this turbulent time. 

There are numerous ways you can encourage customers to support your business without requiring them to step foot in your restaurant, including online ordering, curbside takeout, pickup or takeaway, and digital gift cards. 

Below are a few ideas to engage your customers in this turbulent time. 

Chapter Three

Understanding The CARES Act

In an effort to support businesses and workers sidelined as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, the U.S. federal government passed a stimulus bill on March 27, 2020, called the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (“CARES Act”).

The CARES Act will provide two trillion dollars in relief through multiple initiatives: a lending program for small businesses, unemployment support for gig economy workers, aid for the healthcare system, tax relief for businesses and individuals, and a fund dedicated to industries that have been severely impacted.

Chapter Four

Managing Your Profits

This can be a challenging time to decide which steps to take to help your restaurant continue to grow. You may be asking yourself if you should add an additional third party delivery system or adapt your menu to optimize for online ordering and delivery. 

At Toast, we’re here to help you navigate these decisions, which is why we broke down our best resources on managing finances, driving off-premise sales, and considering alternative concepts like cloud kitchens. 

As the COVID-19 situation changes rapidly, we’ll continue to share how members of our community are adopting creative strategies to manage their growth and drive revenue.

Chapter Five

Sanitizing Your Restaurant

Restaurants have always followed strict health guidelines. In fact, restaurants — especially those with an A rating from the FDA — are the most sanitary of public places, because of the rigorous food safety procedures already in place. 

However, with the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to operate with the understanding that your restaurant needs to be the most sanitary it’s ever been — and to make that very clear to guests coming in or ordering out — to protect your guests and your staff from getting sick. 

Now is the time to ramp up your sanitizing, increase your hand-washing protocol, wipe down your equipment and appliances, and make sure your staff aren’t coming to work sick. Make sure your staff and guests know that nothing matters more than their health and safety.

Below are a few resources to help keep your customers, and your staff, safe. 

We have four reported cases and have noticed a huge drop in our sales over the last three days. Deeply thinking about just using throwaway condiments and utensils. I had four guests request all to-go silverware and condiments. We are a burger and craft beer restaurant. They all were dine-in guests. We use sanitizer like all restaurants when cleaning off tables; however we have been visibly using Clorox wipes to clean every condiment bottle on tables along with salt and pepper shakers and the back of all chairs and booths and table tops.

Frank Minear Jr.

Owner, A-Town Burgers & Brews

And, just so you know, this content is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You’re responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. Contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.