Many states and countries have released guidelines in the past few months to promote social distancing in restaurants. These lengthy documents can be intimidating to read through as your business is suffering from a huge decrease in guest traffic. How can you easily meet these new social distancing guidelines while keeping your guests happy? Here are 8 actions you can immediately take to make your restaurant safer for dine-in within a few days.

What Are the Benefits of Social Distancing in Restaurants?

Ensuring proper social distancing between people in your restaurants is not just a way to meet new public health guidelines. Your new safety measures will meet guests’ higher expectations for hygiene too. As we will discuss below, guests are already wishing to avoid crowded areas and maintain their distance from other people inside restaurants. The most efficient way to achieve this is to implement self-ordering and self-checkout technologies. These contactless dining technologies also increase table turn rates, boost staff efficiency, and promote guest satisfaction.

How to Enable Social Distancing in Restaurants

  1. Set Up Reminder Signs
    Sometimes people just need simple reminders to social distance from each other. Place multiple signs around your restaurant reminding people to keep at least 6 feet away from each other. This will protect both your staff and guests. These signs have been widely used in grocery stores since the beginning of the pandemic so guests should already be used to seeing them. Servers can also wear name tags with a note that reminds guests that they are keeping their distance for both of their safety.
  2. Place One-Way Arrows on the Floor
    Is your restaurant limited in space? Here is another common tactic that department stores and grocery stores have been using since March. Placing one-way arrow stickers on the floor can help ensure that guests or staff members are not accidentally bumping too closely into each other. These can be placed on paths in between tables.
  3. Space Tables Further Apart
    According to an April study, 86% of diners would consider continuing to maintain distance from other diners. Since many states and countries require restaurants to operate at limited capacity, increasing spacing between tables is a feasible tactic. Increase spacing between your tables to at least 6 feet apart. This will also help ensure social distancing as staff navigate between tables and guests enter or leave the restaurant.
  4. Remove Buffets and Condiment Stations
    By removing areas such as buffets or condiment stations where guests may congregate, you can reduce the amount of back-and-forth foot traffic within your restaurant. Consider placing individual condiments on tables instead. Ask servers to deliver food to guests at their tables.
  5. Encourage Contactless Ordering
    Is staff safety your primary concern? You can reduce contact between guests and staff by enabling guests to place orders without the help of servers. You can implement a contactless ordering solution to achieve this. Guests can scan a QR code to access the menu online and place their order from their phone in less than 30 seconds. This also eliminates the need for disinfecting physical menus or reprinting disposable menus.
  6. Contactless Payments
    The traditional payment process is arguably the most high-contact interaction that staff and guests must go through. Usually, servers must make multiple trips between a guest’s table and the POS terminal to process the check. They deliver the check to the table, pick up the guest’s credit card, and return the card to the guest who must then sign a receipt. A contactless payment solution easily speeds up this process by several minutes and ensures social distancing between people. Guests can simply scan a QR code or NFC tag at their table to access the online website where they can make their payment. Guests can even leave a tip digitally and receive their receipt via email.
  7. Offer a Digital Waitlist
    According to an April study, 83% of guests would avoid crowded waiting areas when dining out. With capacity limits in place, it is likely that guests will be waiting longer to get seated. You can enable guests to wait from the comfort of their car or a nearby park by implementing a digital waitlist system. Guests can access an online waitlist with their smartphone, add their party information, view wait-time estimates, and even preorder or pay for their meal in advance.
  8. Use Computer Vision
    Rather than hiring more people to help enforce these social distancing measures, you can use Computer Vision to monitor guest and staff movements. Presto Computer Vision collects proximity metrics that can be filtered to highlight staff-guest interactions to ensure they are at a healthy distance from each other. The technology also gathers real-time insights on your operations to help you optimize efficiency.

Once you take these steps, remember to broadcast the steps that you are taking to your guests! This is a valuable opportunity to showcase your concern for their safety. To make it easier to reopen safely and meet local regulations, we are offering you our contactless dining technology that enables your restaurant to provide an end-to-end contactless dining experience. Staff and guests alike have adapted to this new system easily. See the #1 Contactless Dining Solution in action at