The COVID-19 crisis led to major structural and operational changes for the restaurant industry, from the implementation of new health standards to adaptation to new customer expectations. We offer 100 ideas to allow independent restaurateurs or operating in hotels to meet these challenges and choose from this list the most suitable ideas for their activity.

PART I. Back of House 

Hotel Kitchen

  1. Train employees and display new sanitary measures in the kitchen
  2. Buy local products and communicate with the customers
  3. Control products traceability
  4. Reduce food waste with Winnow Solutions technology
  5. Set quantifiable targets for reducing food waste
  6. Wearing a mask for cooks (linen mask for more comfort) and all other employees until the obligation is lifted
  7. Ensure regular hand washing with a timer
  8. Review the goods reception protocol (floor marking) and prohibit anyone from outside to enter into the kitchen (supplier/delivery person, etc.)
  9. Remove packaging before storage or disinfect what cannot be unpacked
  10. Wash all products coming into the kitchen (for fresh food, do not wash them with a cleaning product, but leave them 24h in the fridge before their use)
  11. Reconditioning of all goods received in cleaned containers (plastic or stainless steel) before storage


Hotel Management and adaptation of the business model

  1. Stay informed of the latest state support measures (example: State guaranteed bank loans) and regulations
  2. Stay informed about the support measures for your region and your city (example: exemption from certain taxes, including the public domain occupancy charges for terraces and stands) and local regulations
  3. Find out about partial unemployment measures and their duration
  4. Ensure the permanent supply of consumables items (hydro-alcoholic gel, wipes, soaps, gloves, masks, trash bags, etc.)
  5. Establish a partnership with bicycle delivery companies
  6. Offer takeaway meals to compensate for the decrease in seating
  7. Display the takeaway menu outside the restaurant and on the restaurant’s website
  8. Ecological and quality packaging for takeaway and delivery dishes (adapt the meals so that they are easily transportable and keep good quality once delivered)
  9. Offer tutorials on the internet to explain how to reheat the food
  10. Provide takeaway meals at collection points at local shops (click and collect model)
  11. Offer homemade derivative products, for example, delicatessen
  12. Offer baskets of (organic) products with a recipe (to be cooked online afterwards with the chef)
  13. Offer picnic baskets
  14. Create vouchers payable in advance for loyal customers who want to support the restaurant
  15. Reduce the menu offer to avoid losses and implement daily specials
  16. Prioritize seasonal products
  17. Partner with local producers


Hotel Sanitary / Cleaning during COVID-19 crisis

  1. Establish and display a restaurant cleaning/disinfection plan, visible to customers to reassure them
  2. Materialize by marking on the ground or any other ways, the distance of at least 1 to 2 meters between clients and employees
  3. Remove the waste regularly
  4. Use bins with lid and pedal
  5. Check more often and regularly the cleaning of the toilets
  6. Permanently check the presence of soaps and paper hand drying napkins (unplug air dryers)
  7. Adapt the ventilation/air circulation system to new sanitary standards. Contact professionals for appropriate advice
  8. Train all employees in new sanitary procedures (update the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, also called HACCP, if necessary). Control and retrain
  9. Establish a health chart to follow and involve employees in its establishment (letter to sign)
  10. Mention Safety and Health clause in the new employee contracts
  11. Apply the ‘job advice posters’ of your Ministry of Labor (often available on the internet)
  12. Organize meals for staff on a different schedule
  13. Avoid personal items (cellular phone, bags, etc.) in the restaurant and the kitchen
  14. Wash uniforms on-site preferably or make sure the uniforms are washed at 60 degrees and transport in a closed packaging
  15. Define the number of people who can have lunch together and leave only the amount of chairs needed
  16. Mark the chair location on the ground
  17. Clean the employee room (surfaces or equipment in contact with the hands) after each break
  18. Pedal taps in the toilets and at the bar
  19. Swing doors or automatic door opening (including bathrooms)
  20. Prefer furniture made of aluminium, steel, sky or any material that can be easily disinfected
  21. Prefer tables and bar tables with a rapidly disinfectable surface


PARTIE II. Front of house

  1. Give priority on reservations to avoid unforeseen groups
  2. Have an online reservation system
  3. Have a pre-order system via mobile app or restaurant website
  4. Extend hours of operation and service
  5. Give priority to outdoor spaces and have signs and floor markings. Control the flow of clients to avoid overcrowding (safety first, but it is also part of your reputation too)
  6. Implement an uninterrupted service and spread out customer arrivals
  7. Have a hydroalcoholic gel dispenser available at the restaurant entrance, on the tables and at the toilet entrance (adapt this measure to the type of establishment, for example upper-luxury hotels will prefer more personalized options)
  8. Provide a mask to your customers if needed
  9. Take the temperature of customers upon arrival
  10. Establish a unique and logical flow of circulation in the restaurant to prevent people from crossing paths
  11. Provide a cloakroom at the entrance and avoid coats in the restaurant
  12. Take customer contact details to ensure contamination tracking/traceability if necessary
  13. Use the COVID-19 tracing applications but consider the right of privacy of each individual
  14. Respect the distance between tables
  15. Install customers in staggered rows on rectangular tables
  16. Place individual disinfectant wipes on the tables
  17. Install a screen between tables when social distancing is not possible
  18. Install a plexiglass display case in front of the bar
  19. Eliminate unnecessary items on the tables
  20. Invite the customer to download the menu to their mobile phone using a QR code
  21. Display the menu on a blackboard or overhead projection on the wall
  22. Display the drinks menu behind the bar
  23. Display the bottles of wine/alcohol on a wine list
  24. Post the origin of the products and goods to inform the customers
  25. Eliminate dressing items on tables or have individual portions of salt and pepper
  26. Avoid aperitifs (e.g., chips, peanuts) to share on the table
  27. Wearing of the gloves according to the type of service while being very vigilant about regular hands disinfection
  28. Place drinks on the table and let the customers refill their glasses
  29. Serve individual bread in a paper bag or on request
  30. Place the cutlery wrapped in a napkin or in a paper envelop
  31. Protect cheese and dessert carts with plexiglass windows
  32. Take orders on an electronic device with instant impression in the kitchen and at the bar
  33. Have a light signal when the toilets are occupied to avoid too much traffic in the restaurant
  34. Send the bill via a mobile application directly to the customer’s phone
  35. Add to the electronic bill an online customer satisfaction questionnaire (including hygiene to improve) to be returned by the customer within 24 hours, and act on it
  36. Prefer contactless payment and disinfect the bank card machine after each use
  37. For hotels, develop the room service offer
  38. Target/broaden your clientele base to local customers
  39. Offer plate service only
  40. Prioritize the portions on a plate and individual portions on the buffet (if buffets are allowed)
  41. Develop Show Cooking and Live Station to maintain a buffet and avoid the touch/contact with customers. Install plexiglass screens and sneeze guards to protect the food from customer
  42. Carry out feedback and share experiences of the uncertainties of the day to adapt the procedures and measures initially planned
  43. Be present and active on social media and update the website to inform customers on the hygiene and sanitary measures taken in relation to COVID-19 (have an Instagram page, post stories and photos…)
  44. Work with e-reputation and digital communication agencies or train an employee
  45. Know and contact influencers on social media to develop local customers and compensate for the loss of international clientele
  46. Have proactive communication: newsletters and emails sent to customers to reassure them and encourage them to come safely to the establishment


Creative ideas Out of The Box

  1. Write the servers’ first name on their masks
  2. Draw a smile on the waiters’ mask
  3. Concept PLEX’EAT from Christophe Gernigon
  4. Film the kitchen and project live on a screen in the restaurant
  5. Have an open kitchen to the room or glazed


Written by

Marie-Amélie PONS Roinson, École Hôtelière de Lausanne Alumna and Stéphanie Fichter, Hospitality Management Consultant, with the participation of Eliana Levine, Vani van Nielen, Larina Maira Laube, and Paloma Guerra École Hôtelière de Lausanne Students and Alumna.

Global Asset Solutions, your key partner in hotel asset management, has partnered with a team of three students and two graduates from l’École Hôtelière de Lausanne, with the collaboration of Remy Rein (EHL Lecturer). We are working together to compile best practices to help hotel owners and operators to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. By combining diligent research, expert opinions, and our own experiences, we will be publishing the best practices on the most current topics facing our industry.

Co-Published with Alex Sogno (CEO – Senior Hotel Asset Manager at Global Asset Solutions). Mr Sogno began his career in New York City after graduating with honours at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. He joined HVS International New York, and he established a new venture at the Cushman & Wakefield headquarters in Manhattan. In 2005, Mr Sogno began working for Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI), founded by HRH Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud member of the Saudi Royal family, and asset managed various hotels including Four Seasons, Fairmont, Raffles, Mövenpick, and Swissôtel. He also participated in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of KHI at the London Stock Exchange as well as the Dubai International Financial Exchange. Mr Sogno is also the co-writer of the ‘Hotel Asset Management’ textbook second edition published by the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA), the American Hotel & Lodging Education Institute, and the University of Denver. He is the Founder of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association Asia Pacific (HAMA AP) and Middle East Africa (HAMA MEA).


Thank you to the Food & Beverage professionals who shared their vision with us:

  • Morad El Hajjaji, Restaurant INDA-BAR, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Patrick Ogheard, Associate Dean, Practical Art, École Hôtelière de Lausanne