How Stores and Restaurants Can Prepare for Labor Day Despite Covid-19

Written by Austin Chegini

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After months of low economic output, American shoppers are starting to visit more retail and hospitality businesses. With Labor Day around the corner, many people plan to take road trips, eat out with family, or cash in on some fantastic promotions. 

If you run a store or restaurant, you will want to participate in the Labor Day excitement, but how will Covid-19 affect this year’s festivities?

Preparing for Labor Day: Retail

By now, your store likely runs like a well-oiled machine in the era of Covid-19. Shoppers are aware of mask rules, avoid unnecessarily touching objects, and keep their credit cards on hand. None of this has to change for Labor Day, but you may want to prepare for an uptick in guests. 

Review Your Floorplan

Maintaining a safe social distance can be a challenge in a busy store, so you want to ensure your guests have ample room to walk. Look over your store and identify possible obstacles that could block traffic. The last thing you want is a bottleneck to form as shoppers try to buy their discounted goods. 

Since many shoppers will be coming for big-ticket items like electronics or furniture, you can put aside smaller goods that might impede traffic. While you’re doing this, you can also reposition your promotional items so shoppers can easily spot them and take advantage of the deal. 

Get Outside

 people shopping for records outside

Sadly, summer is coming to an end, so why not enjoy the last few weeks of sunshine? It’s safe to say that many of us can use some Vitamin D after months of being cooped up. 

Sidewalk sales are a perfect way to bring in new business and enjoy the outdoors. Simply put some goods outside your door and hang some balloons or other attention-grabbing flair. 

Make sure also to include a water bowl for dogs so you can chat with anyone whose dog stops for a drink.

If you have a cloud POS system, you can even process payments outside with a tablet or handheld device.

Offer a Mixed-Mode Experience

Some cities are still under lockdown, and this may limit how retailers can do business. Nonetheless, you can tap into the Labor Day hype by offering online deals and providing same-day pickup. Shopify and BigCommerce are both excellent options for building your ecommerce site.

If you have Mailchimp or another customer relationship management tool, you can send emails or text messages to members of your store’s loyalty program. Your store can also use it’s social media channel and paid advertisements to get the word out about the sales. 

Preparing for Labor Day: Hospitality

Bars and restaurants will be hot spots this weekend, so you will need to prepare for larger than average crowds. Whether you have been open throughout the pandemic or are just getting back into the swing of things, you want to review your current practices to ensure proper safety.

Look Over Local Laws

There is an ongoing debate over how hospitality businesses should handle Labor Day and Covid-19. New Jersey is allowing people to eat indoors and attend movie theatres this week, and the Mayor of Virginia Beach is hoping the state will loosen restrictions as we move into the weekend.

Yet, countless cities still have strict regulations regarding capacity, proximity, and operating hours. Be sure to consult your local government or chamber of commerce to get a complete understanding of hospitality laws. 

Revamp Your Seating 

 outdoor table arrangement

By now, most establishments have adapted to the Covid-19 economy, with outdoor seating being almost necessary in many areas of the United States. Make sure your tables and chairs are spaced appropriately and consider how much traffic you will see this weekend. Your seating arrangement should allow guests to move about comfortably, and it will be smart to create lanes to reach the restroom or exit easily. 

How will you manage the waitlist? You will likely be operating at 25% to 50% capacity, so your list will probably fill up quickly. Since guests cannot sit at the bar or new the door while they wait, you may want to create a digital waiting list that sends a text message when a guest’s table is ready. 

Show Off Your Sanitation

Not only do Health Department officials want to see compliance with local laws, but guests also want assurances that they are in a safe environment. Now is the time to refamiliarize your staff with proper cleaning procedures, food handling, and mask policies. Place social distance reminders throughout your business, and make sure staff politely remind patrons to keep their space from other guests to prevent unnecessary confrontations.

If your tables have room, place hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes for guests to use. Have your staff occasionally ask guests if they are comfortable or have any requests — the last thing you want right now is a swath of online reviews complaining about health concerns. 

Prepare for Future Big Weekends with Epos Now

The Covid-19 pandemic is yet another unexpected event that few businesses saw coming. Stores and restaurants that already had cloud-based management systems were able to quickly adapt to the change in consumer trends after the outbreak. 

With Epos Now, you can access your system from anywhere in the world, take stocks in minutes, and take all types of payments. Restaurants will benefit from apps that help with seating charts and reservations, while stores will enjoy the loyalty and ecommerce integrations. 

Learn more about our Hospitality and Retail systems, or schedule a call to speak with our consultants.

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