A Complete Reopening Guide That Any Bar, Restaurant, or Hospitality Leader Should Read

Front cover of the Bar Revival Guide. Source: BarMagic

With restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos in nearly every state in America planning to reopen in the next two weeks, the Barmagic Hospitality Relief Dashboard today released the free, downloadable Bar & Restaurant Revival Guide, a 96-page online guidebook chronicling the strategies and tactics of dozens of hospitality businesses that have figured out ways to recover their revenue and reopen safely, but also effectively. 

“This is the biggest challenge the hospitality industry has ever faced in any of our lifetimes,” said Tobin Ellis, founder of the Barmagic Hospitality Relief Dashboard and author of the Bar & Restaurant Revival Guide. “There is a lot of understandable confusion and fear surrounding how to reopen in a way that is good for customers, employees, and owners. State guidelines are just being released and are in many cases very confusing and in some cases contradictory; and very few restaurants and bar owners have any experience with the new protocols. Trying to make a restaurant or bar survive with 25 or 50 percent occupancy restrictions is an incredible challenge. This guide is packed with proven strategies from operators around the world who have figured out ways to win, as well as insightful data and new products that can help operators make more informed decisions as they plan their futures.”

The crowdsourced document focuses on five primary areas aimed at sharing ideas and specifics about how to implement them:

  • The new to-go economy: creating and executing to-go and curbside cocktail programs
  • Redesigning the guest experience: strategies and case studies for reopening with a dual focus on sanitation and immersive guest experiences
  • Redesigning spaces: architectural and design best practices from 200 years ago right up to the newest innovations that focus on social distancing in hospitality venues
  • Pandemic-resilient business models: examples of business models from around the world of hospitality that have the COVID-19 reopening guidelines already built-in
  • Future shock: dozens of new technologies in sanitation, biometrics, touchless order, and pay, QR code innovations, and robotics in hospitality

Bar & Restaurant has had the pleasure of having Tobin Ellis as a speaker at our annual Nightclub & Bar Show throughout the years as well as joining him, along with other industry experts, over the last few weeks to discuss the future of the industry through the lens of the coronavirus effect. Ellis is always full of helpful insights and this guide is no different being extremely relevant, focused, and completely free. Check out this source of countless strategies to reopen in a manner that is both safe and assists in offsetting losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With permission, here is an excerpt from one of the opening pages:

As the world starts reopening its cafes, pubs, bistros, and dining rooms, I see an industry divided, not just on the moral seesaw of economic-versus-medical- health but perhaps more alarmingly on what this new normal looks like. On one side of the pendulum are voices like that of Tunde Wey, the New Orleans cook and activist who is in the spotlight right now related to his article “Don’t Bail Out the Restaurant Industry” posted in several installments on his Instagram. The piece advocates for a more equitable industry that does not allow for a return to the previous system that is systemically biased against the people who drive it: the undocumented workers, the black community, and the millions of others Wey refers to as only able to hold “precarious jobs” that keep them living on the edge of poverty. On the far other side are those who want to dismiss the whole notion of any kind of real crisis, and that this whole pandemic is a series of politicized and over- hyped attempts to control the population and keep us all distracted and consuming because of fear. And that we should just take off the masks and move on, back to business as usual. I wouldn’t say I fall in the middle, but certainly, I can’t advocate for either extreme, and here is why. Somewhere in all the important discourse and self- important platitudes lies the reality that we do not have a system that allows for a true “clean slate” reboot of the hospitality business model. So, while I am an advocate for looking to rebuild a different model that does not put all the power in the hands of the overfed oligarchs and entitled investors who have (mostly) demonstrated that they do not care about the labor force of the our industry; I understand and share the view that we cannot just wipe out half of the world’s known restaurants and bars and “start over” in a few years with a whole new crew in order to present this pristine, more “unbreakable” model. There has to be a path forward—as thick and treacherous as it may be—that allows some of both. We need to be able to reopen responsibly and also legislate to prevent a future collapse. This is a not a problem for social duct tape nor fiduciary napalm. Both are relatively easy, effortless, and short-sided approaches to a nuanced, systemic problem. I hope we find a path in the middle, together, that deals with true rebuilding, real critical thinking, and tangible protections for our entire hospitality family, right down to the dishwasher, the role that launched so many of our careers. Including mine.

The full guide may be found and downloaded for free here: Revival Guide

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