Restaurant Shutter Recommendations

Restaurants are battling some seriously rough times right now. Some establishments have shuttered temporarily, while some have closed permanently. Others have opted to offer pickup or delivery, operating at a reduced capacity to keep the money flowing, lights on, and the employees paid. Yet even those enduring reduced operations service are now feeling the inevitable down turn, and reviewing the option to close. Whether from lack of revenue or fear for safety, the decision to close comes hard.

¬† ¬† If you choose to temporarily close up shop (especially for what could be an extended period), there are a few things you can do that could do to protect you, protect your equipment, and make it easier to open back up. Here are a few…

Closing Recommendations

  • First off, send a blast to your customers and let them know your intentions. Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever platform (if not all of them) should be utilized. Remain transparent and offer a newsletter sign up for those who haven’t already to let them know on the up tic when you will be opening back up again.
  • Small Coolers/Freezers: these are the reach in coolers used by the line cooks and wait staff. These should be emptied of all perishable product. Condiments should be placed in the larger walk in cooler for consolidation. When units are cleaned out and unplugged, prop the door open with a pair of tongs or a towel to let the unit dry out. (Closed coolers that have been off for a while tend to smell foul and may form mold and mildew. You will know when you open it.)
  • Walk In Cooler/Freezers: Pitch all items that will not last a month or longer. Coolers should hold as little as possible, empty would be best. Freezers should hold items that will last the longest in frozen state. If possible, walk in coolers can be be shut down to save on electricity during the hiatus. (If unsure of how to do this, consult your service provider for assistance). As with the reach in units, prop walk in units doors open to air it out.
    • If possible, having a remote monitoring system installed on the freezer and/or cooler (if remaining powered during the shutdown) will give you peace of mind that your remaining inventory items remain cold/frozen. These systems have email/text alerts to notify you if your unit is going down. This allows you time to have any quick repairs made or make arrangements to have your food moved to another location. Walking into a restaurant with intentions of reopening and finding that your coolers went down days or weeks before will not make for an easy opening.
  • For bar areas, make sure to inventory and cover your bottles to prevent bugs or debris from falling into your booze. (Some restaurants do this already on a nightly basis or when they know the pest control company is coming in).
  • Air Conditioners should be set around 72-78 deg F. This will keep the electric bill to a minimum and the air flowing to help reduce any stale smells.

ReOpening Recommendations 

  • Days before you plan to reopen, email blast your customers to let them know you will be opening soon. If you have a website, post there also to let others know. Also, posting any specials you might offer to subscribers for their loyalty might go a long way opening week.
  • Clean and sanitize the whole joint! Kitchen, bar, bathrooms, doors, tables and chairs. Chances are, if the shelf life of a virus has passed, you should be ok. But better safe than sorry! After what could be a month or longer with no activity, your place has started to collect dust. Maybe have a cleaning party! Invite the staff to come in and help clean up the place. Make some food after the place is cleaned and crack open some beer or wine. Think of it as a way to re-engage with your staff.
  • Coolers/Freezers: Thoroughly clean and sanitize the units inside and out. Don’t forget the crevices in the gaskets also. Power the units up and make sure they come down to temp within several hours before placing food items inside.
  • After the place is cleaned up, have A/C maintenance done. If this is not financially conducive, at least change the air filters. This will help freshen up and reduce any stagnant air that’s left.

With the recommendations above and a positive mindset, we can get through this!