Reopening & Recovery

Guidance and information for restaurants looking to safely reopen.

The restaurant industry, more than any other industry in the nation, has suffered the most significant sales and job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began. More than 8 million restaurant employees were laid off or furloughed, and the industry lost $200 billion in sales between March and September. 

There is a lot of work in front of the industry. Restaurant operators will need information, guidance, and community to be successful. To help operators navigate the new dining landscape, we’ve created guidance on how to reopen your restaurant. To ensure the future of the restaurant industry we’ve outlined a recovery blueprint for government officials.

 

COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance for Restaurants

Open IconFor restaurant operators navigating on- and off-premises service during the pandemic, this updated guidance provides science-based direction, a framework for best practices, and quick access to the most updated links and resources available to help mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus during operation. It includes the most recent information from the Association, CDC, FDA, EPA, OSHA, industry and academia.

 

 

 

Reopening Guidance for the Restaurant Industry Webinar

Webinar IconWith states reopening in different phases and with differing requirements, this webinar will share updated guidance as well as ideas of how to navigate various rules and requirements.

This webinar is designed in partnership with public health officials to provide you with a basic summary of recommended practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus, including:

  • Food safety
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Employee health monitoring and personal hygiene
  • Social distancing

This webinar is designed as an information session for individuals working in the foodservice industry. It is not ServSafe Certification training. Please visit ServSafe.com for information on ServSafe training.

 

Reopening Marketplace

Open Icon The Reopening Marketplace is a new addition to the National Restaurant Association’s Marketplace member affinity program. As with Marketplace, the site offers members a selection of important products and services geared to reopening safely and priced at an exclusive, member-only advantage. This select group of products and services helps advance and protect America's restaurant and foodservice industry as it returns to full service.

You’ll find exclusive discounts on everything you need to reopen safely.

 

State by State Reopening Guidance

States Icon

State/Federal Guidance for the WARN Act: The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies with 100 or more full-time employees to report plant closings involving 50 or more employees during a 30-day period. Restaurant and retail owners may not realize that a WARN notice also is triggered if employees are terminated or laid off for more than 6 months or if they have their hours reduced 50% or more in any 6-month period. These two documents, one for the federal requirements and one outlining state-specific requirements, will help you navigate the WARN Act and its state offshoots.

State Reopening Training & Certification Requirements/Recommendations 
This document, updated regularly, covers all training and certification requiremen ts for restaurants by state as each enters new reopening phases. It also covers any state food protection manager and food handler certificate expiration extensions and required recertification deadlines.

Official Return to Work Guidelines for Foodservice Establishments
A comprehensive compilation tracking official orders from all 50 states in categories including dine in status (permitted or not), employee and customer PPE/health check requirements, sanitation requirements, occupancy limits, payment process changes, and local exceptions.

COVID-19 Liability Protection Statutes by State
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant Law Center has assembled a state-by-state guide that covers where COVID-19 liability protection legislation stands in states where it’s been discussed, proposed or passed. It will update as new information comes in.

Indoor Dining Restrictions by State 
A summary of information from the more extensive Official Return to Work Guidelines for Foodservice Establishments, this regularly updated document lists which states permit indoor dining, occupancy rates allowed, and any restrictions that apply.

What can operators do when guests refuse to wear face coverings? The Association’s Restaurant Law Center provides information in this handy Q&A.
 
The Association’s Restaurant Law Center shares ways operators can handle screening employees for COVID-19, face-covering mandates, and sending them home if they present symptoms, all in a Q&A format.
 

State/Local Face Covering & Health Screening Requirements 
The National Restaurant Association is updating a compiled list of City & County Face Covering requirements and recommendations in real time. 

Guidance for Restaurants Responding to COVID-19 Positive Employee 
Strategies employers could consider in preparation for a potential COVID-19 positive employee. Note, this document provides general guidance and should not be construed as legal, medical or human resource advice, but rather as a resource for employers needing to take quick action. The electronic version of this document contains the relevant links, as of June 24, 2020, to the CDC, OSHA, EPA, and EEOC pages.

Expansion of Restaurant Off-Premise Alcohol Sales 
During COVID-19, many state and local governments expanded the ability of restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption (to-go and delivery).  As many of these regulations are being extended, the National Restaurant Association team will be tracking them with this resource.

For more state and local resources visit RestaurantsAct.com

 

Blueprint for Restaurant Revival

Recovery IconThe "Blueprint for Restaurant Revival" outlines specific and immediate action the federal government can take to help restaurants and employees confront and overcome the lingering COVID-19 crisis. The National Restaurant Association Blueprint for Restaurant Revival will help restaurants of every size and operational model in every community across the country—an industry that pre-COVID counted over one million locations—and more than 15.6 million employees, the second-largest private sector employer.

 

 

Reopening News Articles

October 21, 2020
Innovating during a pandemic: Chipotle connects with customers

Chain uses food, technology to fulfill precise delivery needs and tempt appetites.

October 21, 2020
Download our latest COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance

This brand-new edition includes updates on mask and glove use, protocols for coronavirus-positive employees, and ventilation best practices.

October 20, 2020
Thirty-two states lost restaurant jobs in September

Restaurant employment in 47 states and the District of Columbia remained below February’s pre-coronavirus level.

October 16, 2020
How will the election affect your business?

The Restaurant Law Center looked into a crystal ball to see how election results might impact the restaurant industry.

October 16, 2020
Restaurant sales growth slowed significantly in September

The total shortfall in restaurant and foodservice sales topped $200 billion during the first seven months of the pandemic.

October 14, 2020
Association CEO addresses industry recovery in 2021

Tom Bené outlines the plans and programs on tap to assist restaurants devastated by COVID-19.

October 14, 2020
New normal inspires new innovations in restaurant industry

Tech adopters, active safety managers, and creative thinkers prove there are ways to push through the pandemic.

October 7, 2020
Café Momentum powers up for life mid-pandemic

Closed for six months, the nonprofit restaurant and training facility prepares its student staffers for what comes next.

October 5, 2020
Intro to Digital Security 101: How to protect your restaurant’s data

Protect your operation so you’re less susceptible to data breaches and other cybercriminal activity. Preventive measures make a difference.

October 2, 2020
Cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, what’s the difference?

We’ve heard these words a lot these past few months. But what’s the difference, and why is it important your staff knows the distinction between them?

October 2, 2020
Restaurant employment still 2.3 million below pre-coronavirus levels

After an initial hiring surge in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdowns, restaurant job growth slowed significantly in recent months.

September 29, 2020
Innovating menus during a pandemic: Comfort drives creativity at Wendy’s

The vice president of culinary for Wendy’s U.S. explains what menu innovation means to Wendy’s during COVID-19.

September 29, 2020
National Food Safety Month Week 5: COVID-19 procedures to follow

Guests want to know restaurants are being extra careful when preparing food and keeping the kitchen clean and sanitized during the pandemic.

September 24, 2020
Tap into FREE mental and medical health resources for the industry

COVID-19 is affecting physical and mental health, especially for those working in the hard-hit restaurant industry. Fortunately, we have resources to help.

September 24, 2020
Add no-contact commerce options to your payment strategy

Expand your payment options to make it easier and safer for customers to purchase from your restaurant without handling cards or cash.

September 18, 2020
Fourteen states lost restaurant jobs in August

Five states – South Dakota, Maine, Indiana, Idaho and Mississippi – surpassed their pre-coronavirus restaurant employment peaks.

September 17, 2020
Winter woes: What’s the plan when it’s too cold to dine outdoors?

Outdoor dining helped offset sales losses in the spring and summer, but what will dining out look like as the weather turns colder?

September 17, 2020
Consumers respond to new off-premises options at restaurants

Seven in 10 operators say off-premises sales represent a higher proportion of their total business compared to pre-coronavirus levels.

September 16, 2020
Restaurant sales rose in August, but operators remained concerned

As total restaurant sales losses topped $185 billion, a majority of operators do not expect their business to fully recover within 6 months.

September 15, 2020
National Food Safety Month Week 3: Prepare food safely

Pathogens can move around easily, spreading from food or unwashed hands to prep areas, equipment, utensils, and other food. But you can prevent it.

September 11, 2020
Innovating during a pandemic: Opening The Perch Kitchen and Tap

Multi-concept Chicago operator adapts menu, unit design and service models in recently opened restaurant.

September 9, 2020
MEG Talks keep operators up on latest marketing strategies

The Marketing Executive Group is launching a new series, MEG Talks, to help restaurateurs ramp up marketing efforts that keep customers dining on and off premises.

September 9, 2020
National Food Safety Month Week 2: Clean and sanitize right!

ServSafe delivers six tips and teaching activities to reinforce ways to correctly clean and sanitize your restaurants.

September 4, 2020
Restaurant employment recovery is in danger of stalling

The restaurant industry added just 133,600 jobs in August, and staffing levels remain nearly 2.5 million jobs below the pre-coronavirus peak.

September 2, 2020
National Food Safety Month Week 1: Focus is on personal hygiene

Campaign promotes rules for safe food handling, which is even more important during the coronavirus threat.

August 31, 2020
National Food Safety Month resonates with restaurants during COVID-19

ServSafe program takes center stage as restaurants operate on and off premises; delivers tips and tools through September.

August 27, 2020
Innovating during a pandemic: The Roti Revolution

Coronavirus is causing a lot of shutdowns, but it hasn’t shut down creativity.

August 24, 2020
What’s your state’s stance on masks and other regulations? Find out.

The Association’s state-by-state COVID-19 resources are comprehensive, growing in number, and updated regularly.

August 21, 2020
Speed of restaurant employment recovery varies significantly by state

Four states – Texas, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma – lost eating and drinking place jobs in July.

August 19, 2020
Your guests refuse to wear masks in your restaurant. What do you do?

Operators increasingly report unpleasant confrontations with customers who declare their right to refuse face coverings. What recourse to you have handling this situation?

August 19, 2020
5 guidelines for employees’ safe return to your restaurant

Our Restaurant Law Center offers this guidance on what you can do to protect your restaurant and employees from coronavirus.

August 18, 2020
Consumers are worried their restaurants will not survive the pandemic

A majority of U.S. adults say they know of a restaurant in their community that has permanently closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

August 17, 2020
Restaurant Employee Relief Fund helps 43K-plus out-of-work employees

The Association's Educational Foundation campaign provided direct support in the form of $500 checks to those in need.

August 14, 2020
Restaurant sales continued to rise in July, but at a much slower pace

The total shortfall in restaurant and foodservice sales surpassed $165 billion during the first five months of the pandemic.

August 13, 2020
Help guests feel safe: Tips for cleaning POS equipment

While your restaurants operate according to state and local COVID-19 guidelines, everyone plays a role in maintaining public safety, including you, your employees and your guests.

August 12, 2020
ServSafe expands training program with remote-proctored online exams

The industry’s premier food safety training and certification program is accessible online, especially key during COVID-19.

August 11, 2020
Black franchisees talk about employee safety during COVID crisis

Multiunit operators tell MFHA Town Hall participants about their experiences with staff during coronavirus pandemic.

August 7, 2020
Restaurant job growth slowed significantly in July

Restaurant job growth is expected to be choppy in the months ahead, following the initial bounce of 3 million jobs in May and June.

August 6, 2020
Focus on nutrition helps define core values, builds consumer trust

Pandemic has pushed health and nutrition to center stage of restaurants’ social responsibility platforms.

August 5, 2020
6 best practices for restaurant delivery, especially during coronavirus

There’s a lot restaurateurs can do to make the order-handoff to drivers go smoothly and safely.

July 31, 2020
Health inspections may look different in the wake of COVID-19

Trained to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses, inspectors look to ensure restaurants comply with guidelines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, as well.

July 31, 2020
New resource tracks COVID-19 Liability Protections for good-faith businesses

Worried about someone getting infected and suing your restaurant when you’ve taken reasonable steps to comply with ever-changing guidelines? Keep up with the legislation.

July 23, 2020
Access to ingredient info matters, especially if menus change during COVID-19

Tweaking menus during COVID-19? Customers with allergies are counting on ingredient list transparency and accuracy.

July 20, 2020
Alcohol to go might be magic potion for struggling restaurants

Expanded regulations allowing the sale could help juice up revenues lost during the pandemic.

July 20, 2020
Reopening design strategies: Rebuild trust through visibility

While people are eager to visit restaurants again, many are concerned about COVID-19 exposure; building their trust will rebuild your business.

July 16, 2020
Restaurant sales hit a pandemic high in June, but were far below normal

The total shortfall in restaurant and foodservice sales reached an estimated $145 billion during the first four months of the pandemic.

July 14, 2020
Your employee tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

The Association’s Restaurant Law Center offers guidance on what to do next.

July 13, 2020
Once a problem, protein shortages are no longer an issue

The supply chain faced challenges at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, but experts say production is now nearly back to normal.

July 10, 2020
Reopening design strategies: Managing the BOH and receiving

If you’re welcoming customers back to dine in, you’ll want to add supply receiving and other back-of-house protocols to your coronavirus safety arsenal.

July 8, 2020
How to stay health-care compliant as a small business

Learn to avoid the practices that can get you fined.

July 7, 2020
Master checklist helps Blazing Onion manage restaurant reopenings

Formed over time and assembled from multiple resources, detailed checklist covers a full gamut of reopening to-do tasks.

July 2, 2020
Join the ServSafe Dining Commitment

Restaurants follow safe food handling protocols as a matter of course, but new practices are called for to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Now you can show how you’re actively reducing risk.

July 2, 2020
Restaurants added 1.5 million jobs for the second consecutive month

The impressive two-month employment bounce only marks the beginning of a long climb back to pre-coronavirus staffing levels.

July 1, 2020
In the COVID-19 dining landscape, restaurants learn how to survive

Operators who emphasize personal safety and ramp up technology are the ones who will attract consumers who want to dine at restaurants again.

June 30, 2020
Healthier dining habits drive menu innovation

In this first of a five-part nutrition series, we look at the impact of plant-forward additions to restaurant menus

June 26, 2020
What customers should expect when dining in

Operators will have to help customers navigate a new set of ground rules as they return to restaurants.

June 24, 2020
Wondering which reopening regulations apply and where? The Association tracks them for you.

The National Restaurant Association is compiling regularly updated lists of reopening regulations, food-safety training reopening regs, mask requirements, and state off-premises alcohol permissions.

June 24, 2020
Casual-dining CEOs talk lessons learned from COVID-19, look to the future

Conversation covered everything from PPP to real estate, supply chain and opening grocery stores in restaurants. What’s working, and what’s next?

June 22, 2020
Use your membership benefit to shop the new Reopening Marketplace

The Reopening Marketplace is a new addition to the National Restaurant Association’s Marketplace member affinity program.

June 19, 2020
Best practices for welcoming your staff back to your restaurant

Equipment, training, schedule flexibility are keys to ensuring they feel comfortable serving guests on site again.

June 19, 2020
Restaurant employment rose in all 50 states and DC in May

While the May job growth is a positive sign, it only marks the beginning of a painfully long road to recovery for the restaurant industry.

June 17, 2020
Reopening design strategies: Keeping staff safe

Reassuring your staff that you’re taking safety precautions will encourage them to return to work and demonstrate confidence to customers.

June 16, 2020
Restaurant sales remain well below normal levels, despite May uptick

The total shortfall in restaurant and foodservice sales likely surpassed $120 billion during the first three months of the pandemic.

June 12, 2020
Design strategies for restaurants reopening during the pandemic

As restaurants reopen, our upcoming series will help you consider strategies and design hacks to minimize risk to employees, guests and food.

June 12, 2020
Coronavirus continues to devastate restaurant industry, new research finds

New survey indicates operators don’t expect to profit in foreseeable future; many who permanently closed businesses say they’ll likely exit industry for good.

June 10, 2020
What the new Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act means for you

The legislation signed last week is good news for the restaurant industry, fixing some of the problems with the Paycheck Protection Program.

June 9, 2020
Get the word out your restaurant is OPEN for business

In addition to ensuring the well-being of guests and staff, you’ve got to let customers know you’re open and that it’s safe to dine with you.

June 9, 2020
6 ways menus may change due to coronavirus

As businesses reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants are quickly adapting menus to serve diners and protect public health.

June 5, 2020
Restaurant employment is starting to rebound from the historic losses

Although restaurants added 1.4 million jobs in May, their staffing levels remain down more than any other industry.

June 2, 2020
Restaurant operators do not anticipate a rapid improvement in business

Sales, employment and capital spending levels are expected to remain dampened through the end of the year.