How to Prepare to Reopen Your Business Post Lockdown – Melbourne Edition

Business Tips

It’s been a long, hard few months for Aussies living in locked-down states. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Melbourne residents with the long-awaited roadmap out of lockdown finally announced by the Victorian government. Behind the scenes, countless hospitality businesses are frantically preparing to mobilise staff, boost stock levels, and kick operations into gear again. 

Victoria’s roadmap has been released for both the 70% and 80% vaccination targets set by the government, giving businesses clarity on how they will start to reopen and rebuild. So, what are the changes, and how can you get ready to maximise profits once “Freedom Day” rolls around? Well, keep reading to find out!

The Roadmap to Freedom

Before we dive into how you can prepare to reopen, let’s recap on everything we know so far when it comes to the recently released roadmap.

Metro Melbourne

Currently, hospitality businesses in Melbourne are only open for takeaway, but when 70% of Victorians 16+ are vaccinated, venues will also be allowed to open for outdoor seated service only. At this stage, there will still be a 4 person per square metre capacity and a maximum of 50 persons allowed only.

At 80% of the 16+ population vaccinated, small venues can host 25 fully vaccinated seated patrons while larger venues can accommodate up to 150 seated patrons inside and up to 500 patrons outside. However, venues will be restricted by a 4 person per square metre cap inside and a 2 person per square metre cap outside. Sadly, food court venues must remain takeaway only until further notice.

See the full roadmap for metro Melbourne here.

Regional Victoria

Hospitality venues in regional Victoria have already reopened with limited capacity, but are also only open subject to restrictions. Service must be seated until further notice and venue caps apply with greater numbers allowed in outdoor areas. 

See the full roadmap for regional Victoria here.

These restrictions can be complicated. As business owners, it can be difficult to keep up yourself, let alone communicate these changes to staff! Yet businesses can face fines or even unwarranted outbreaks if they don’t comply, so it is crucial they get ahead of the changes and engage staff. That way, you’ll be ready to go when it comes time to open your doors once again.

1. Review Your Costs

First up, review your costs. While it’s fantastic that venues can open their doors to the public again, with the limitation on capacity, most are likely to be serving a reduced number of guests. Therefore, businesses need to maximise profits with every single customer interaction or booking.

  • Mix up your menu and see whether you can increase pricing or use more cost-effective ingredients.
  • Minimise staff costs by carefully assessing the number of staff needed for the number of patrons in your venue. Depending on the size of your venue and the nature of your business, you may even find it’s not cost-effective to open in-venue dining until restrictions are relaxed further.
  • Optimise your booking policy. Each booking is crucial at a time like this. Taking customers on a reservation-only basis will help you stay within your venue’s new maximum capacity. You could implement a minimum number of people for bookings on weekends, or implement a booking cancellation fee to minimise no-shows.
  • Use blank time slots within your reservation system to stagger tables, avoid overcrowding, and ensure cover numbers do not exceed government restrictions.
  • Consider changing suppliers or check out Foodbomb’s range of suppliers to maximise profits.

2. Re-Train Staff on Safety Measures

With reopening comes a whole new set of safety measures for businesses, to ensure compliance with a string of new regulations. So far, state governments have made it clear that only vaccinated staff and patrons will be able to enter businesses after certain vaccination targets have been hit.

Aside from that, businesses should aim to do all they can to ensure their staff and patrons stay happy and healthy, and should spread important safety messages to staff through training sessions. Business owners and managers should appoint a COVID safety marshal if they haven’t already, and train staff on:

  • Proper hygiene practices, such as regular times to sanitise hands
  • Check-in processes
  • Changes to your cleaning policy, such as disinfecting tables thoroughly after each booking
  • Any operational changes
  • Any new menu items or changes in pricing

Training sessions can be coordinated via Zoom. This is also a great way to introduce any new team members and get staff excited about reopening.

3. Review Your Operations 

Unless you’re a brand-new business, most hospitality businesses have already been through the process of streamlining their operations, training staff and even changing store layouts. But it doesn’t hurt to review your operations again to ensure the business is compliant and efficiency is at an all-time high! 

As a starting point, review the following:

  • Your check-in process. Consider adding more check-in points at the entrance of the business to streamline entry into the venue. Or, add more signage to make the process clearer. Make sure you have clearly marked signage to indicate social distancing requirements
  • Your venue’s table layout. This should be as efficient as possible to maximise capacity and comfortability for patrons. Focus on outdoor dining as much as possible and consider how you can utilize outdoor spaces in all weather conditions. If you need to invest in large umbrellas or undercover walkways, do it!
  • Payment methods. Reduce physical contact by focusing on contactless payments. Implement integrated payment gateways that support a range of contactless payment methods like mobile, credit cards, and debit cards

4. Check in on Staff Wellbeing

For some staff, it’s been a long, slow journey back to work. Happy staff are staff that stay with your business, so their personal wellbeing is critical. Check in with your staff (personally, if possible) and make sure they are ready (and willing) to get back to work. Check whether or not you need to make any allowances for those with medical conditions.

5. Stock Up on Essentials

Reopening is likely to be unpredictable. That said, the last thing you want is to run out of essential ingredients on key trading days. Sure, you can always get last-minute supplies at your local supermarket, but, when you’re trying to maximise profits as much as possible, this can really bring down your profit margins. 

Check the expiration dates on your existing stock to make sure supplies are still within their use-by date. To make sure you’re covered, contact suppliers or your Foodbomb growth manager in advance. Ask about the availability of your most important supplies so you can be aware of any high-demand items. And don’t forget to stock up on cleaning supplies!

Finally, remember to be kind to your suppliers. Suppliers are businesses just like you and they, too, are just getting back into the groove of things. Over-communicate with your suppliers to stay informed and make sure to keep them in the loop about any changes as early as possible.

Foodbomb Can Help You Prepare

At Foodbomb, we’re passionate about making life easy for business owners and venues, especially in such a difficult time! We’re here to help. Simply reach out to our Support team if you need support or speak directly to your Growth Manager.

For more information on Victoria’s COVID19 recovery plan please visit:


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