Customer Comfort Post-COVID
For many bars and restaurants across the country, whether servers wear face coverings is a decision for management. The New York Times reports that customer views on the subject are mixed – some customers find face coverings reassuring, while others find them off-putting.
In Illinois, face coverings are mandatory, not just for employees, but for customers as well. The good news for Illinois bars and restaurants is that face coverings won’t be a decision-making factor for customers in selecting a place to eat or drink.
Instead, the choice will be whether to go out at all. While a lot of people are itching to get out, some are sure to remain anxious. Bars and restaurants around the world are deploying some highly creative tactics to calm customer concerns. One high-end D.C. establishment has filled it’s empty space with mannequin diners in an effort to create the feel of filled tables for customers. Similarly, a South Carolina restaurant went with blow-up dolls, while a restaurant in Sydney chose cardboard cutouts. An Amsterdam restaurant has created private greenhouses for each dining party. On the more casual side, one Maryland restaurant surrounds each table with an innertube bumper to maintain social distance.
These are all well and good, but they are also fairly complicated, not to mention expensive. For most bars and restaurants, this isn’t exactly the most opportune time for redesigns.
What simple, inexpensive things can bars and restaurants do to help customers feel comfortable?
- Comply with existing state and local requirements. Failing to do so is bad for business and puts you at risk for bad publicity, which is the last thing you need right now. Customers will feel more comfortable if they see and can trust that you are complying with all guidelines.
- Be as visible as possible with your health and safety practices. Customers don’t know the ins and outs of what’s required, and they will appreciate knowing about your efforts to keep them safe, even if those efforts are required anyway.
- If you’re doing more than is required, communicate that fact to customers.
- Be explicit in appreciating customers. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging times have been tough, and that you’re grateful they’ve decided to come out. Being genuine about this can only help you.
- Foster a “we’re all in this together” vibe with customers. Highlight that your establishment is there for the community as a place to safely take a break and enjoy some comfort.
- Be as patient and understanding as possible with customers who slip up with social distancing or other health requirements. Frame it as concern for their personal health and safety. Assume they simply “forgot” for a moment.
Helping customers have a good feeling in your bar or restaurant will go further than any costly gimmick. And amid all the current changes, don’t forget the pre-existing requirement to keep BASSET cards current. Some may have lapsed during the closure period, and BASSET On The Fly is here to provide easy, inexpensive BASSET certification to keep you moving forward.Back to Blog