Whether you’re in the process of reopening or have already opened your doors, staffing will almost definitely be on your mind.

More importantly, you’re probably wondering how to prepare your team for what is likely to be a rather different experience over the coming months.

It’s understandable if you’re approaching this cautiously.

For the Australian hospitality industry and the state of Victoria in particular, these last few months have taken a toll on the restaurant and bar scene. Jumping straight back into your profession is never easy after an extended break. In a bit of good news, Melbourne hospitality venues are slated to reopen on October 19, one week ahead of previously scheduled.

With a few weeks to go until reopening, if you’re indeed located in Melbourne, you can organise and reassure your staff efficiently and in a way which will plot the course for a profitable summer.

Here’s how.

Keep your front and back-of-house teams separate

New guidance on social distancing means your front of house team and those in the back office need to operate separately as often as possible.

Each team has different levels of exposure to the public, which is why keeping them separate as much as possible will reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading from one group to another.

Clearly, this isn’t something you can maintain without disrupting your service in some way, therefore some common sense and flexibility will need to be applied.

Stagger start and break times

You may be practicing this already, and if that’s the case – you’re already onto a winner!

If not, now is a great time to start staggering the start, break, and finish times for your staff. You may even find that it’s a requirement, depending on the territory you’re in. For instance, New South Wales has set strict guidelines that state, “where reasonably practical, stagger start times and breaks for staff members.”

The important word there is ‘reasonably’. Your operation may not be sustainable with considerably staggered staff timings, but just an hour between starts and finishes could be enough to steady the flow and avoid large congregations during breaks.

Reduce and restrict physical meetings

Good news: you’re probably used to this by now.

Physical meetings haven’t been banished forever, but if lockdown has taught the world one thing, it’s that we used to have far too many meetings.

Try and retain any strict meeting rules you developed while closed. If video conferencing worked then, keep it up. If quick ten-minute stand-ups worked, ensure they remain a feature of each day.

Make sensible changes to your daily operations

Remember that the goal of operating a restaurant in a post-lockdown world is to abide by government guidance while continuing to provide the best possible guest experience.

This will inevitably require some changes to your daily operations, but they should be sensible – not rash or overly restrictive.

Consider how your team and customers typically move around your venue. If you need to implement social distancing signage and floor stickers, go for it. Equally, if there are areas in which you often have large congregations of people, look for ways to reduce those gatherings by moving furniture and creating a flow that enables easy social distancing.

Wrapping up

This is going to take some getting used to, and normality will continue to evolve now we’re slowly getting back into the swing of things.

But we think that’s pretty exciting. Providing you follow our advice above and remain respectful of your state’s guidance, you’ll create a welcoming, safe atmosphere for both guests and staff at your restaurant.


H&L POS – working with you to help you grow your business 

H&L POS has been delivering POS solutions with extensive back of house and staff management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understand the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes.

Call us at 1800 778 340, email sales@hlpos.com or fill in the form below to discuss your venue’s needs.