On Saturday 4 July, businesses including restaurants, pubs and hairdressers are permitted to reopen across England, as part of the government’s latest lifting of lockdown measures.
Restaurants that reopen must conduct a table service and encourage patrons to pay for their meals using contactless methods.
In light of the reopening of restaurants across the nation, which were previously only been allowed to serve customers via takeaway, Yo! Sushi CEO Richard Hodgson has stressed the importance of making customers feel secure as operations resume.
Speaking to PA, Mr Hodgson said that eateries that make their diners feel safe “will succeed and those that don’t will fail”.
The chief executive explained how Yo! Sushi is adapting amid the pandemic, as it can no longer use its signature conveyor belts in the same way to serve food.
Instead, a traffic light system is being put into place, which will involve meals being sent directly to customers on the conveyor belt.
The traffic light system will indicate when their food is being prepared and turn green when their meal has arrived.
Customers can also order their food via their phones to avoid making close contact with members of staff.
“We’d already been looking at this technology, and I think this really highlights how those who move with the technology are best-placed to prosper,” Mr Hodgson said.
“It will help with the safety aspect, but is largely stuff which customers are used to in other parts of their life.”
Emma Woods, CEO of restaurant chain Wagamama, told PA that the firm will make strong efforts to make sure customers still enjoy their experience when the first site reopens in central London.
“We have to be authentic,” Ms Woods said. “It’s a huge moment for us and we have to make sure that our customers therefore have the fantastic experience they expect, whatever the circumstances.”
Stephen Judge, president of cafe operations at Hard Rock International, said that the health and safety of customers and staff is the company’s “highest priority”, as its two London restaurants are reopened.
“As we continue to navigate this new way of life, we are committed to providing a safe and healthy dining environment for our guests and team members,” Mr Judge stated.