FW Pro | Guide to Reopening Restaurants

The F&W Pro Guide to Reopening Restaurants

The restaurant business has never been more challenging. We've been collecting wisdom and best practices from leaders in the hospitality industry to help you navigate this unprecedented time.

Dear Pros,

If you’re a restaurant operator or manager, you’ve already been making dozens of calculated decisions during the pandemic to keep your business afloat and your staff and customers safe. We created this guide to help you navigate and plan for the months ahead.

While every food business should create their own operational plan tailored to their specific business needs and state regulations, one principle seems universal: Focus on the things you can actually control, including new service models and product sets, writes Korsha Wilson, who interviewed operators who have already reopened twice during the pandemic.

Another important piece of advice: Change your performance metrics and how you define "success," Matt Jennings of Full Heart Hospitality, a restaurant consultancy, told Wilson. “New success is defined by an equal distribution of attention to multiple areas: financial health, the wellbeing of our teams, and creating new experiences for the consumer and I feel like those have to have equal attention,” he says. “Nothing is more important than the other.”

Elsewhere in the guide, restaurant lawyer Jasmine Moy shares advice for how to negotiate with your landlord. And Food & Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah asks owners how they remain hospitable during a time when the pandemic has rendered traditional models of hospitality impossible. We were inspired by some of the ideas, including customized masks with a photo of an employee’s smiling face and recording video messages to pair with takeout meals.

Inmany ways, the newest measure of hospitality is safety. As Bobby Stuckey, a co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, told Shah, “These days it is all about alleviating fears.”

Good luck out there, and stay in touch. If you have ideas or best practices for reopening safely that you’d like to share with others in the food and beverage trade, please tell us at hunter@foodandwine.com.

As always, be safe and stay well.


Hunter Lewis, Editor in Chief

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