How Can Bars and Restaurants Cope During the Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic made almost all nations force a lockdown to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading further. Plenty of people went to quarantine and left their work or businesses on hold. Bars and restaurants were one of the firsts in the food industry to experience a massive drop in the economy, and they are in an inevitable situation where they will suffer the longest. Some have even resorted to delivery driving to survive.

Many countries are now allowing bars and restaurants to resume their operations, as long as they follow strict compliance with the social distancing, sanitation and mask directives. They also need to consider the welfare of their employees, customers, and communities.

Know the Principles during the Pandemic

If people keep on interacting with others, and the interaction keeps on for a long time, the chances of getting infected with COVID-19 get higher. Here are settings in a bar or restaurant where the threat of COVID-19 spread increases:

  • Lowest Threat: Establishment diverts services to drive-throughs, take-outs, deliveries, and curb-side pick up to prevent any contact.
  • Low Threat: Establishment limits dining to outdoor seating and the layout of the dining tables is spaced six feet apart.
  • Medium Threat: Bars and restaurants allow outdoor and indoor seating, with the capacity decreased to allow the layout of tables at six feet apart.
  • Highest Threat: They allow on-site dining for both outdoor and indoor seating, with table layout not spaced with six feet distancing.

Supporting Healthy Operations

Bars and restaurants should always consider following the health guidelines for business operations set by the World Health Organization. This industry involves services and sales in which the utmost protection for the customers is a priority.

Owners of bars and restaurants must clean and disinfect their establishments. They should check the frequently touched surfaces like door handles, workstations, cash registers, bathroom stalls, sink handles, and many more at least daily. They should also clean shared objects such as tables, countertops, bars, condiment holders, payment terminals, utensils, and bottled products.

In order for them to continue operating and somehow recoup the losses brought about by the months of closure, they should adhere to the guidelines set by health agencies. They should not worry because the demand for alcoholic beverages and liquor will grow exponentially. According to a survey, sales of hard seltzer are expected to triple by 2023. This means that consumers, even while in lockdowns, or in post-pandemic, will still crave going to bars and restaurants as a means of pleasure and relaxation.

Training Staff with Safety Precautions

It would also be useful to have staff and in-house personnel have the proper training to support healthy operations. Training should include proper handwashing, especially for staff in the dining and bar areas that interact with customers and customer relations including how they should deal with customers who may not follow the set guidelines.

Staff should also have a routine to follow when it comes to cleaning and disinfection. Your personnel must have knowledge of proper usage and storage to prevent harm to employees and avoid food contamination.

Redesigning Layout

One of the key things that a bar owner should start investing in is redesigning their bar and dining hall. Any renovations at this point must be considered as a necessary investment. Proper ventilation, more outdoor spaces, and distanced seating should be implemented the soonest time possible. Installing physical barriers and guides would also be useful. The sooner these safety measures are in place, the sooner they will be able to open their bars and restaurants for their customers. As soon as these design changes are implemented, the quicker their success will be.

Bars and restaurants are a vital part of the economy. Human nature dictates that these establishments will remain in demand even during a crisis. In fact, they may even become the main drivers of the economy.

Dr Thomson Mpinganjira Receives MBC Award

In 2015, esteemed Malawian business leader Dr Thomson Mpinganjira was the recipient of the Large-Scale Enterprise of the Year individual award at the MBC Innovation Awards. 

As the founder of FDH Bank, Thomson Mpinganjira is the only Malawian individual to own a majority stake in a commercial bank. He beat prominent businessman Jimmy Korea Mpatsa to claim the prize, receiving a one-month trip to China and Egypt as well as a cash prize of MK500,000.

Accepting the award, Thomson Mpinganjira described it as an honour, explaining that he was humbled and overwhelmed. Dr Mpinganjira expressed his gratitude for the generous prize, as well as thanking those who nominated him. Finally, he praised MBC for coming up with the idea of the awards, explaining that it was an important step, both for the industry and Malawi, motivating the populace to work hard and inculcate integrity.

In the Small-Scale Enterprise of the Year section Rachel Sibande was runner up, with Davis Kansenza claiming the top prize, again taking home international trips and a cash award.

Former President Peter Mutharika – who presided over the ceremony – addressed the audience, underlining the importance of innovation in formulating effective solutions to some of the challenges Malawi was facing.

About the MBC Awards

MBC, or the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, is the country’s only public broadcaster. The organisation plays an integral role in facilitating the flow of information across Malawi, thereby encouraging and inspiring growth and development across the country.

Broadcasting in the official language as well as various regional dialects, MBC provides a range of programming reflecting its commitment to diversity, satisfaction in programming and objectivity, serving the needs and interests of the Malawian public at large by providing a comprehensive range of informative, educational and entertaining programming.

Dr Thomson Mpinganjira, Civil Service Reform Commissioner

Thomson Mpinganjira is a renowned businessman. In 2014, former President Peter Mutharika appointed Dr Mpinganjira a Commissioner on his Civil Service Reform Board, alongside Rev Matiya Nkhoma, accounts expert Evelyn Mwapasa, and Krishna Savjani, a barrister-at-law.

Announcing the move, President Mutharika explained that he wished to promote professionalism, technical competence and efficiency, with the overall aim of creating a new, non-partisan, corruption-free civil service.

Dr Thomson Mpinganjira is a highly successful Malawian business leader. FDH Bank, the leading financial institution he built from the ground up, now ranks amongst Malawi’s top 12 financial services providers.

Throughout the course of his career, Dr Mpinganjira has constructed an impressive portfolio of businesses, from First Discount House, to the establishment of FDH Financial Holdings – a major financial services provider in Malawi today.