Inspiring! 3 Restaurants Show How they Adapted During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Inspiring! 3 Restaurants Show How they Adapted During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ana Cvetkovic

By Ana Cvetkovic

You've heard hundreds of stories about restaurants struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it's undoubtedly a difficult time for restaurants, this has also been an era of innovation and resilience.

We wanted to uncover untold stories of restaurants adjusting to the times and show other restaurateurs what is possible, so our team at 7shifts ran a contest to do just that. For our #Open4Business contest we asked restaurants to show their guests and us how they have adapted to meet the challenge of COVID-19, and post the results on restaurants’ favorite platform — Instagram.

Choosing just three winners from dozens of terrific entries wasn't easy. Today we're announcing the winners and showing you how they adapted their operations to survive COVID-19.

First Place: Hamburger Mary's

Coming in first place is Hamburger Mary's, a drag-themed restaurant in Denver, Colorado. Drag queens Zarah, Kai Lee Mykels, and Jessica L'Whor star in this Instagram film, which mimics airline safety videos. Unlike dull airline safety videos, however, this video keeps your attention.

Take a look for yourself:

Here's what the team at Hamburger Mary's did to alter their operations in order to keep customers and staff safe during the pandemic:

  • PPE - Customers must wear face masks at all times except when eating or drinking. The queens' fabulous masks will inspire you to add some flair to your masks.
  • Social distancing - Hamburger Mary's takes social distancing seriously and asks guests to stay six feet away from people not in their party. "We know that that person is cute, but you must stay seated with your party. No mingling with other tables. Playing hard to get is the move this year," the video explains.
  • Hand sanitizer - Hand sanitizer is available throughout the restaurant for guests to use often.
  • CDC guidelines - Employees are following CDC guidelines to keep everyone who comes to Hamburger Mary's healthy. 7shifts' Employee Health Check feature makes conducting health screenings easy.
  • Floor arrows - The restaurant placed arrows on the floor to guide guests as they move towards the bathroom and exit to avoid close encounters in tight spaces.
  • Single-use items - Guests receive food and condiments in single-use containers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But Hamburger Mary's is eco-conscious and encourages guests to recycle!Table time limits - To serve as many guests as possible and as safely as possible amidst capacity limits, the restaurant places 90-minute time limits on tables. Guests still have "plenty of time to eat, drink, and be 'Mary,'" according to the video.

Congratulations to Hamburger Mary's for taking first place in our #Open4Business contest and winning $2,500 to further help the restaurant adapt and thrive.

Second Place: Three Tree Coffee

Our second-place winner is Three Tree Coffee of Statesboro, GA. The coffee shop has two brick and mortar locations and a mobile cart called Teeny the Trolley. Their "Oscar-worthy" video (as one commenter put it) shows a customer catching up with a barista.

Check it out:

Three Tree Coffee tackled the pandemic by putting the following procedures in place:

  • Staff health checks - They're screening all employees for COVID-19 before they clock into their shifts, and they're using 7shifts' Employee Health Check to do it!
  • Sanitizing surfaces - In the video barista Naomi explains that the team has been wiping everything down "a lot."
  • Hand washing - Staff members are required to wash their hands often. Your restaurant can communicate changes to its protocol by using a restaurant staff communications tool like 7shifts.
  • Going mobile - Three Tree has set up their trolley throughout town to serve customers coffee in a pandemic-friendly way. Customers can pick up coffee and lockdown essentials like toilet paper and paper towels from Teeny the Trolley.Delivery - The coffee shop ensured that customers could still get their Three Tree coffee fix even if they couldn't make it to a shop or the trolley. They set up an online store and local delivery service to sell coffee beans.

Three Tree Coffee's innovative video and extraordinary safety measures earned second place and $1,500 in our contest.

Third Place: Cilantro and Chive

Cilantro and Chive is a restaurant serving "fresh simple eats" in Lacombe, Alberta. They submitted an impressive video to our #Open4Business contest in which employees demonstrate COVID-19 safety measures.

According to their Instagram post, the team is "using 2020 as an opportunity to change, pivot, and evolve [their] business to best serve the community during this pandemic."

Take a look at how they're doing this:

Here's precisely what Cilantro and Chive is doing to keep guests and staff healthy:

  • Social distancing - The restaurant has made social distancing possible indoors by reducing their seating capacity, moving tables apart, and placing dividers between tables. You can adjust your floor layout for social distancing on your restaurant's POS. Check out 7shifts' integration partners.
  • Safer host stand - The host stand has a transparent screen in front of it to add extra protection for staff and guests.
  • Enhanced hygiene practices - A timer goes off every 15 minutes to remind staff to wash their hands.
  • Curbside pickup - Customers have the option to pick up food without entering the restaurant.
  • Staff health screenings - According to Cilantro and Chive's website, "employees are screened with a variety of questions [before each shift], and if any [are] answered positively, they are unable to enter the building and [the] management team is notified." Managers also check employees' temperatures before shifts. "Any team members registering a temperature higher than 38C or 100.4F will be asked to leave immediately." Use 7shifts' Employee Health Check to conduct wellness screenings at your restaurant.

Cilantro and Chive did a great job of demonstrating their COVID-19 safety procedures in their video. They earned our $500 third-place prize. You can see all of their COVID-19 policies on their website.

Technology can help your restaurant implement and maintain COVID-19 safety measures

Restaurants have adjusted how they do things during the pandemic to ensure guests and staff have a safe and comfortable experience. Technology makes it easier for your restaurant to enforce and manage these changes.

7shifts can help you conduct employee health screenings, communicate safety procedures to staff, and optimize labor during slower times. Start your free trial of 7shifts today.

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Ana Cvetkovic
Ana Cvetkovic

Ana Cvetkovic is a freelance writer for 7shifts. She is also the CEO of BLOOM Digital Marketing, a creative marketing agency that helps the hospitality and tourism industries reach millennials online.