How to prepare your restaurant for the winter months.

With winter just around the corner and the covid-19 pandemic still lingering, restaurants in South Africa have to ensure that they are fully prepared in order to survive through the cold. Here are some of our tips on how to fully prepare for the winter months.

Do the proper maintenance

Winter months in South Africa can often be very cold, rainy and windy so you have to ensure that all your equipment is up to standard to deal with a variety of conditions.

Prepare for possible power outages by investing in a generator or UPS. Clean and defrost refrigerators and freezers before it starts to get cold. Store furniture inside after hours and remember to regularly inspect metal furniture for signs of rust or damage. Clean and service your restaurant’s heating system in time.

Check all your pipes to ensure that they are all functioning properly and that they are covered to protect them from the cold. The last thing you need is for a pipe to burst during a dinner shift!

Prepare a cozy outdoor patio area.

Just because it is winter does not mean you have to waste valuable seating space outside, especially since outdoor seating is preferred during the pandemic. Optimize your outdoor seating area to accommodate guest no matter the weather. Consider securing all outside furniture, such as tables, chair and umbrellas, in case of increased winds.

Think of ways in which you can help to combat the cold. Restaurants that already have outdoor patio space may just have to add some space heaters and/or a plastic covering to make their dining areas more equipped for cooler weather. Make sure that your flooring is properly covered or regularly mopped to prevent slippery floors.

Another thing to consider is lighting. Many patios are only open in the summer when it stays light much later. But in the winter, your patio will be used in the dark much of the time. You may need to consider a different lighting strategy to ensure you are providing the right wintery ambience to your customers.

Give them a reason to brave the cold and make winter fun

With colder weather coming in, fewer people are willing to venture out. You will have to think creatively in order to attract customers to your business. Start by creating a winter menu. As the weather turns colder, customers may seek out different types of comfort foods or traditional/seasonal favourites. Soups and hot meals will be a hit during the winter months.

Don’t forget about your beverage menu. Hot beverages such as hot chocolate, teas and coffees are easy adds to your menu. And then there are the hot adult beverages such as hot toddies, Irish coffee, Glühwein, or a mulled spiced cider. Consider offering specials on their drinks or pair them with food from your winter menu.

If you have an indoor fireplace, fire it up for a cosier dining experience and offer customers fresh blankets to stay warm.

Invest in online ordering and delivery

When it is cold, people like to stay home. But people also want food. A good online ordering and delivery system can help to offset some of the revenue lost due to decreased foot traffic.

ToGo, our Online Ordering App, integrates directly into TallOrder POS, for a seamless online ordering experience. With ToGo your customers can order and pay ahead and pick up when the order is ready or opt-in for delivery if your establishment offers delivery options. ToGo’s Cloud-based technology allows customers to order from anywhere using a web-based link. Unlike third party ordering apps, ToGo does not charge you per order. With a flat-rate monthly fee, ToGo puts you in charge of your delivery! ToGo is fully integrated with TallOrder Point of Sale but can be used alongside your current POS system.

With a little care and planning, your restaurant could become the “go-to” place during the colder months and all across the holiday season

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