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The restaurant industry guide to restructuring

“Initially, we called this a reopening guide. It’s not. This isn’t about reopening—this is a full reset. We have a massive opportunity to thrive after this pandemic, but it’ll only happen if we spend today solving tomorrow’s problems. We need to look to the future and create solutions that will resonate in the months and years to come.”

– Intro from Jon Taffer, entrepreneur and television personality, Bar Rescue


In the midst of so much ongoing uncertainty, one thing we do know is that daily restaurant operations cannot and will not go back to a pre-COVID-19 “normal.” To help figure out the new path forward, this industry guide contains guidance, best practices, tools, and resources from some of the brightest minds in the business. 

Read current industry observations—on everything from supply disruption and food insecurity to compensation and benefits—and how crucial the restaurateur’s response (and timing) is to each of those issues when creating a plan for the future. 

Here’s a glance into the topics covered, supplemented by Yelp diner data, industry expert insights, input from Cornell University, and more.

Finance and accounting

Financial viability is crucial, and understanding your cash on hand should help inform initial reopening decisions. Pay close attention to the impact of decreased sales volume and the fluctuation of your variable and fixed expenses.

Operations and facilities

Quickly establish clear COVID-19-specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure your team and your guests are safe. Explore rent and alternative rent structures, and check out tips for navigating rent negotiations and landlord communication.

Marketing and communication

Clear, consistent communication has never been more critical. Proactively get ahead of diner concerns and expectations, and share information about those efforts throughout your communications on every channel. Always keep an eye on your competition and the shifts they’re making.

Takeout and delivery

What may have been an afterthought in the past has quickly become a main source of revenue for many restaurants. Make sure your to-go business is set up for success, with top priorities being delivery and logistics. 

Guest and employee safety

Safety and cleanliness are front and center. Understanding what your guests are looking for will help you focus your efforts. And once you’ve done the work, be sure to share all of your procedures and protocol with guests—online and six feet apart.

Tools and resources

We’ve added some additional resources and links to organizations from throughout the hospitality community.

Download the full industry guide

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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.