New Restaurant Etiquette – Be a Good Diner

On the countdown to June 1, restaurants are excited to be able to reopen and for their empty dining spaces to come back to life. The hustle and bustle with chefs busy in the kitchen, the whirring of the coffee machine, banter between the staff, and to see friendly familiar faces of diners again. After weeks of being in isolation, families and friends are eager to go out and enjoy the dining out experience. Celebrate a birthday, a night off cooking or to eat something different!

It’s a staged plan for restaurants and cafes to resume dine-in service firstly with 20 patrons per enclosed space, then increasing to 50 patrons per enclosed space, and then up to 100 patrons per enclosed space in the latter part of July. All venues will need to abide by existing physical distancing requirements of one person per four square metres with table spacing (allowing 1.5 metres) to be enforced too. 

Let’s make it easier for our restaurants, they literally do have a lot on their plate (pardon the pun), and be good diners.

  1. Don’t be a walk in! Bookings will be required with strict service and sitting times.
  2. Be ready to advise names of your guests and contact details. Restaurants will be required to maintain a register of all guests 28 days.
  3. Download the COVID-19 Safe app. This is really important for contact tracing if there is an infection.
  4. If anyone is feeling unwell, they must stay home. Don’t risk it. Cancel or postpone the booking, and give as much notice as possible. Last minute bookings can then be accommodated.
  5. Don’t be a no show! There are financial implications for vacant seats, and its frustrating to see empty chairs when there’s a waiting list or diners have been turned away.
  6. Any changes to number of guests, get in touch with the restaurant. Numbers of guests are important.
  7. Arrive on time, and if you are running late, let the restaurant know. There will be a flow on effect.
  8. Be aware of entry and exit points, and the flow of movement around the dining space. Following markings and directions.
  9. No table hopping or popping over to another table of friends to say hi! Keep your distance with a wave. No loitering afterwards.
  10. If possible, pre order the menu and use a contactless payment. No cash please.
  11. If it’s table service only, don’t pop up to the bar!
  12. Practice good hygiene, use sanitiser, soap and paper towels as required.
  13. Don’t over stay your booking. It is likely restaurants will be doing 2-3 sittings per service.
  14. Show your appreciation. A tip is always welcome, even a smile and a word of thanks.
  15. Don’t forget to share the love and add a review to Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor or The Fork.

Last of all, be kind, patient and understanding. Dining is going to be a little different for us all. New systems, processes and guidelines, and regulations to be enforced. The financial implications of COVID-19 means there is little wiggle room between profit and loss, and the livelihoods of staff and the business owners are at stake.

Support local. Eat local. Drink local. Stay safe. Save hospitality.

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