Restaurant Report

Free Newsletter - Subscribe Today

Restaurant Management
Restaurant Marketing
Restaurant Service
Restaurant Operations
Restaurant Accounting & Finance
Restaurant PR
Restaurant Design
Chef Talk
Online Store
Buyer's Guide
E-mail Newsletter
Advertising Info
About Us
Our Sister Site:

Follow Restaurant Report on Twitter

Restaurant Report on Facebook

Starting a Restaurant Business During a Pandemic

For most people around the world, the COVID pandemic has been a huge disruption to their daily lives. It has meant restrictions and isolation for some, including those who are trying to run their business. The pandemic has seen many businesses in the catering and hospitality industry failing to cope with the extended closure and forced them to close for good.

Despite these unfortunate events, there could be opportunities for those that have the capital and the idea needed to launch their new business. Here are some of the ways that you can start your own business to fill in the gaps left by other companies, even during a pandemic.

The Idea

Before you hang one sign, you need the idea. Usually, coming up with a new idea for a restaurant or bar is challenging enough, but this time, you also need to factor in other things that could have the potential to stop you in your tracks.

With the current restrictions placed on hospitality regarding social distance and the number of customers, it can be difficult to see how to work around them. However, if you can find a way to turn these challenges into positive ideas, then you can create a business that will ease customer's concerns, and provide a much-needed destination for diners.

One of the most important factors is to stand out from the crowd. If you can find a way to use the restrictions to your advantage, then you will have something people are looking for.


Finding the ideal location for your business is imperative. You want to go somewhere that will have a good customer base, as well as being free from other outlets that offer the same as you. If you want to open a sandwich bar, then you will likely be looking at places near offices and other businesses that can give you a lunchtime trade.

Another factor is how your customers can interact with you and the building. For the purpose of social distancing, you might want to have a large outside area where you can space out tables or enough space inside to have a sufficient distance between guests.

Researching your local area will give you information about where the best places will be and if there are any new locations that could be perfect for your business.


If you are offering a specific product, you need to know that your target customer is going to be in the right place for you. This is where market research can be so useful because you can generate a lot of demographical data and use it to see where your target customers are.

Market research can take many forms, but you could use social media to ask questions, have people in the street taking surveys, or looking at current businesses and seeing where they are.


Before starting your new business, you need to work out the budget you need to keep going while you are attracting new customers, plus allowing you to start making small profits.

One way that you can do this is to weigh up the cost of equipment such as commercial refrigeration. If you are going to use chiller cabinets in the restaurant, then you will need to find ones that will work with the theme of your business. It is also worth considering whether you should buy the commercial refrigeration outright, or choose lease to buy, such as offered by FFD which will spread the cost.

The equipment you buy needs to be of a high standard to give you better value for money and a longer life span.

Support Local Communities

Customers are now looking increasingly towards local produce; especially as so much local business has been affected by COVID. Your business can be a big help to local food producers such as butchers, dairy farms, breweries, and bakers.

By getting your produce from local sources, you will not only be supporting local businesses, but you will also attract local customers who will become loyal to your brand.


You must never underestimate what good advertising can do for your business. That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money, only that you need to get your brand in front of the right people to be effective.

One avenue is social media, which can have a powerful impact if done correctly. You do have the option of paid ads, but you can still get a good following by posting regularly and engaging with the right people. The best way to do this is to show pictures of your restaurant and the meals you intend to serve. Images have the best chance of capturing attention and getting clicked.

To gain more local interest, you can print flyers and distribute them around the local houses. This will let people know in the area that you are now open and what you are going to sell. This is also a good place to mention local produce if you are using it.

Advertising special offers or opening deals will also encourage customers to come along and try out the new facilities.

If you are a bar or a pub, then you might want to offer your premises open to local clubs or organisations who can meet up there. You can encourage this by setting up socially distanced seating and offering discounts on food and drink during the meetings.

Although this is an uncertain time for many businesses, there are opportunities for those that have the right idea and the finances to make it happen.

Copyright © 1997-2023 Restaurant Report LLC. All rights reserved.