Food and Beverage Establishments

Food and beverage establishments in Nevada include restaurants, bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries and wineries. This category also includes all restaurants and bars within gaming properties. There are many challenges to starting, restarting and managing your operation during good times, but additional challenges during the pandemic need even more careful planning, oversight and management. It is important to understand the COVID-19 requirements that apply to your industry, suggested best practices and resources available to help you.

COVID-19 Requirements

Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery lays out a requirements for businesses with specific capacity limits and other requirements which go into effect February 15th, March 15th and May 1st. By May 1st, it is expected that the state will have transitioned to local authority for setting any specific requirement by business types.

To learn more about Nevada’s specific requirements for Food & Beverage Establishments, CLICK HERE.

Industry Best Practices

Some general best practices and tips that may help you comply with guidelines and help your customers and employees feel safe include: 

  • Require customers and employees to wear face masks
  • Eliminate buffets and self-serve, including self-serve of condiments (use pre-packaged)
  • Social Distance
    • Stagger or limit arrivals of employees and guests, following current capacity limits
    • Have customers wait outside or in their cars until seating is available
    • Seat no more than 6 patrons per table
    • Designate – with signage, tape, or by other means – six feet of spacing for employees and customers to maintain appropriate social distancing between tables, booths and bar top areas
    • Eliminate or close off tables, booths and stools at bar top areas if needed
    • Consider installing plexiglass/clear acrylic panels or barriers between booths and tablesImplement separate operating hours for the elderly and vulnerable customers
  • Innovate
    • Offer curbside, delivery, and/or carryout operations
    • Expand outdoor seating options
    • Set up chalkboards, television screens, or whiteboards to display your menu
    • Update your website to be mobile-friendly and post your menu for guests to view on their phones
    • Print disposable menus or laminated menus that can be immersed in disinfectant between guests
    • Install and use a touchless, non-signature payment system
    • Have customers pay through an app on their phones
  • Cleaning
    • Have hand sanitizer and sanitizing stations and products readily available for employees and customers
    • Establish new operating hours so you can close earlier to thoroughly clean the operation each night
    • Use cleaning products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) – this list of products can be found on the EPA website here: List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
    • Read more about Cleaning and Disinfecting during a pandemic

Business Basics

Consider adding or expanding outdoor seating

Business basics are more important than ever. Evaluate your profit and loss statement. Look for ways to reduce operating and food costs. Analyze your cash flow and breakeven to evaluate the impacts of the new guidelines and best practices on your operations. As Nevada’s COVID-19 measures evolve you may need to continually adjust your operations. Here are a few things to think about: 

  • Get Help
    • Contact a business development counselor at the Nevada SBDC by calling 800.240.7094 – we can help you assess your operations and decide on best strategies for your business
    • For questions about cleaning and disinfecting, strategies to control new waste streams, or other environmental questions, contact an environmental business advisor at BEP at 800.882.3233
  • Communicate
    • Keep communicating with your customers on social media and your website with announcements about your reopening, current hours, and new or expanded services such as curbside so your customers understand your current operations
    • Be open about the measures you are taking to meet the reopening guidelines; consider signage at your entrance so customers can be aware of the steps you are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to meet new industry guidelines
  • Expand Services
    • Offer “take-out cocktails” with curbside pickup as well as delivery options
    • Offer gift cards
    • Consider increasing outdoor seating options; can parking spaces be converted to outdoor seating?
    • Consider partnering with restaurants to provide your unique beverages
    • Consider a membership to your distillery, winery, or brewery and have monthly specials for members
  • Potential Cost-Saving Measures
    • Revamp and simplify your menu to increase margins
    • Revisit your menu costing and adjust pricing if needed to cover costs
    • Reduce hours to minimize utility bills and increase time for cleaning, for example instead of staying open from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM operate from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
    • Only turn on utilities that are needed – do not use all fans, lights, or air conditioners in the restaurant when fewer people are seated
    • Consider energy efficiency, waste minimization and other sustainability strategies
  • Creative Marketing
    • Update or redesign your website; make sure it is mobile friendly
    • Use micro social media to focus more on your immediate neighborhood to bring in local customers
    • Advertise through local homeowner associations
    • Consider sharing some favorite recipes, wine and drink pairing suggestions, and other tips for customers on social media; create a following and keep in touch with customers

Resources