The Challenges Of Reopening Restaurants After Lockdown

Elly Team
September 17, 2021

Back rent, labour shortage, and restrictive measures are all putting a strain on reopening restaurants. How can the service industry overcome the hurdles?

The catering sector has always been prone to changes. With the outbreak of COVID-19, our favorite eating places faced hindrances beyond their control. First, the closures came. Then, takeaways and deliveries became the new normal for consumers. Many companies had no other choice than to close their doors.  

What challenges are reopening restaurants facing? How can they keep their kitchens and doors open and urge diners to flock back? In this article, we take a closer look at the changes and obstacles faced by restaurant businesses. 

The Service Industry Before Covid-19 

Before COVID-19 hit, the number of restaurants was reaching record figures. New cafes were springing like mushrooms at each corner. They all had their loyal customers, always packed, enjoyable, and heart-warming. 

Buying food online was a rare sight and only at particular times of the day. Going to a local pub to meet a friend or a snack bar to grab a quick bite was a daily routine. 

Bustling cities had a unique soul thanks to themed pubs and diners. So, reopening restaurants is vital to the fabric of our cities. We need to see more people out having a whale of a time. We need to mend our towns and cities.  

How The Pandemic Changed Our Ways 

The novel coronavirus altered the definition of “normal” for both individuals and businesses. Worldwide, reopening restaurants struggle to adjust to the imminent effects on the industry. Many diners closed for sit-down service, while others spared no effort to keep themselves in funds.  

Moreover, places that offer delivery and pick-up services have been generating boosted revenues. Virtual groceries and meal prep brands also witness increased demand and order frequency.  

Last, reopening restaurants are a focus point for all consumers and healthcare professionals. So, to obey government guidelines, some eating places shifted their business models. Also, new virtual food providers emerged and altered the way we perceive eating places forever. 

Many places introduced no-contact delivery services, reduced menus, and boxed meals. This way, they found a way to strike a balance between in-restaurant and mobile orders. Plus, some restaurants have the added benefit of outdoor seating arrangements. For many, dining in the open poses less risk of contracting COVID-19 than eating indoors. 

The Biggest Challenges To Resuming Operations 

COVID-19 has forced both small and large restaurants to modify the way they operate. Small businesses have seen the most dramatic impact. Without a safety professional, all the responsibilities fall to the manager. Let’s check a few other combats that reopening restaurants must fight and win. 


Lack of staff has affected nearly all pubs and diners. In short, though many places work at only 50% capacity, they are still hiring. Yet, finding enough staff for each shift is an ongoing struggle. On top of that, bringing in extra hands requires training for inexperienced personnel, which takes time and money. 

Enhanced unemployment benefits have also deteriorated the situation. Governments have been offering COVID-19 assistance for job loss and business closures. As a result, stimulus and unemployment funds rival the income of restaurant workers. Hence, many chose to get aid rather than risk their safety to work in local eateries. 


Restaurants that operate as carry-out and delivery succeeded in fighting the pandemic. People got used to online orders, and it might take a while before in-house dining regains trust. Ghost kitchens are becoming more enticing and capitalize on this trend. 

Even with reopening restaurants, the public might not feel safe eating inside. Conversely, mobile orders bear no health risks, and take-outs and deliveries are faster than ever before. For now, dine-in establishments find it challenging to meet the needs as efficiently as ghost kitchens. 


The most apparent change for reopening restaurants is the focus on health and safety. Governments have mandated ever-changing health measures that eateries must follow. These rules will likely remain valid even after the pandemic to prevent future risks. 

Restaurants must ensure mask-wearing, proper distance between seats, and frequent disinfection. Though this means taking cleanliness to another level, not every place can respond to the restrictions. In short, protocols require more time and money, while the number of guests served has decreased. 

Solutions for Reopening Restaurants 

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the hospitality sector but never destroyed it. Reopening restaurants learned the hard way that most of these changes would last. So, thanks to their quick reactions and proactive approach, locations and niches of all sizes stayed afloat.  

During the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of restaurants closed permanently. Yet, once the industry adapts, its long-term potential will be more promising. 


Technology is an indispensable resource for reopening restaurants amid the chaos of COVID-19. Thanks to QR code-based menus, reservation apps, and online orders, technology helped the industry thrive in the past year. These tools will further help the industry to grow and develop tech-centric. 

Besides making restaurants safer, digital menus are more efficient, too. The more reopening restaurants with customers flooding back in, the more significant the technological gains will be. Though tech investments are costly, the online presence of every dining place has become mandatory. 

Food Delivery 

Almost all reopening restaurants offer delivery and carry-out services. This way, customers can enjoy food anywhere and limit contact with others. But the process requires extra hands to pack and deliver extras. 

Moreover, takeaway and delivery options increase supply costs. Restaurants need to invest in single-use containers, plastic silverware, and individually packaged condiments. All these costs affect reopening restaurants that must find ways to save in other areas. 

Go Cashless With Elly 

Financial solutions like Elly can do a lot to help reopening restaurants get back on track. These point-of-sale solutions entail all payment methods and value-added service providers. Indeed, the future of payments lies in the hands and innovative minds of app developers. 

With Elly, any Android-based device can become a payment terminal. For reopening restaurants, POS enables the overview and management of all transactions. Above all, incorporating the latest payment tech into your business can only lead to prosperity.

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