Restaurant Reopening Checklist

by | 24-Oct-2022

Many local governments and states are easing up on their dine-in restrictions and restaurants are starting to open up their floors again. Review this checklist to make sure you are ready to reopen and that you are doing everything you can to keep your customers and employees safe. 

Local Laws

Depending on where you’re located, there are different laws and regulations regarding reopening. In the US, for example, each state has different reopening rules that you must comply with before reopening. Different laws may require:

  • Limited entry per store
  • Use of constant protective gear
  • Signs and warnings
  • Classes or certifications passed

Make sure you check there first to see if you can reopen and what rules you need to comply with.


COVID-19 has affected supply chains worldwide and has shut down many factories and limited key supplies. Before you open, make sure:

  • Your food supply hasn’t changed: you may have to work off of a limited menu or adapt how things are made for the time being
  • Supply costs: depending on availability, your food or other supply costs may have increased which may lead to menu cost changes or cutbacks elsewhere
  • Sufficient cleaning supplies are available: make sure to account for the increase in cleaning and sanitization in your supply calculations 
  • Barriers and protective equipment: you will need a protocol on how often to replace gloves and masks and the supply needed to back them up

Cleaning/Sanitization Procedures

Evaluate every potential contact point in your restaurant and set up a no-contact protocol. This reduces the risk of spread and makes the restaurant safer for your employees and customers. 

Here are a few high touch areas to consider improving:

  • Payment collections: consider going cashless and encouraging online payments through apps or QR codes
  • Menus: Jolt printers allow you to create QR codes for easy contactless menus, or consider setting up sanitation protocols to clean laminated menus after every touch or temporarily use disposable paper menus
  • Install barriers for high contact areas: such as reception for sit down restaurants or the ordering line for fast casual
  • Flow of restaurant traffic: consider arrows or signs to make the traffic flow obvious. Many restaurants have one door for entering and another for exiting so traffic doesn’t cross. Also make sure to remove tables and chairs to adjust to new capacity rules and to encourage safe spacing
  • Kitchen and other BOH high traffic areas: you’ll need a frequent cleaning and sanitization protocol in place. Jolt offers a COVID-19 digital checklist for free and it’s ready for immediate use
  • Doors: consider leaving doors open, adding frequent cleaning of door handles to your daily checklist, and/or installing hand sanitizing stations
  • Lines: if your store has lines that form at reception or when ordering food, consider adding signs or “x”s to mark where people should stand and to encourage 6 feet of space between customers


Evaluate how many employees will be needed for the modified seating limitations.

  • Through rehire and new hire, bring on enough employees to have sufficient people to hit new demands
  • Train employees on new cleaning and sanitization procedures and other restaurant changes and laws
  • Reevaluate your sick leave policy and make sure no one feels pressured to come into work sick 

Marketing Plan

How are you going to let your customers know you’re open and let them know of the changes you have made to protect them? Marketing doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Here are some places you need to make sure you are advertising:

  • Email
  • Website 
  • Social media 
  • Signage

Here are some things you should be advertising to your customer:

  • Reopening dates and potential new hours
  • New procedures for online ordering and take out 
  • New cleaning and sanitizing protocols
  • Jolt digital dashboard
  • Menu changes and promotions 
  • Any other ways you have changed to reduce the risk of spread

Biggest Changes Moving Forward

As life continues to evolve to a new “norm”, many things will never be the same for restaurants. Here are a few things to keep in mind moving forward:

  • Continue putting resources into mobile ordering and no-contact pickups. There will be a percentage of people that will take longer to return to restaurants and some may prefer take-out as the new normal moving forward.
  • Building trust through transparency will be key to building up your customer base. Continue to advertise changes and efforts your store is making to keep people safe.
  • Consider new avenues of revenue, such as selling cooking kits that include the raw food, materials, and instructions for making your favorite restaurant meals at home.
  • Temperature checks for employees and mask wearing may become the new norm for many places.

We wish you success as you adapt to new industry changes and find innovative ways to grow your business!