Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant business after the lockdown

Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant

Restaurants, pizzerias, pubs reopening: the technical guide for adapting your retail food business during COVID-19 with a ready-to-use project

The retail food business is facing an unprecented challenge following the COVID-19 outbreak and as governments announce a further loosening of coronavirus restrictions, retaurants, pubs and pizzerias’ owners need to rethink the concept of hospitality and customer experience. So, if you fall into this category or you are a technician who has been commissioned to adapt a restaurant establishment according to new anti-contagion measures, here are some useful guidelines for you.

This technical guide offers directions and best practises for food business owners that are looking to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll provide you a framework to identify the key aspects to ensure the necessary safety measures in relation to the COVID-19 emergency and the operations to review for your reopening project. This includes:

Download the free trial version of Edificius to be able to use the 3D project file and follow all this step by step guidance.

Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant business

Restaurant dining area – render produced with Edificius

This render is an example of what you can do with Edificius and shows how a restaurant spaces have been rearranged to be compliant with the measures to mitigate the risk of contagion from COVID-19.

Download Edificius and the project file and try to create your own model, or use our example as a model for your project.

The first part of this focus is intended for employers, the second part addresses architects, engineers and surveyors in charge of making the business premises a safe place.

Employer’s obligations

To know more about this topic, check our previous article regarding workplace safety guidelines.

Prevention and protection measures

You can improve your organization response to COVID-19 contagion risk by implementing suitable procedural and technical safety measures, including:

  • measurement of body temperature / workers’self-declaration of temperature measurement
  • supply of personal protection equipment
  • adoption of information signs and brochures
  • installation of hand sanitization points
  • alternative menus (written on whiteboards, visible through apps and sites, printed on disposable or easily disinfectable sheets)
  • masks wearing for customers when not sitting at the table (eg cash payment, movements within premises, use of toilets)
  • contactless electronic payments
  • sanitizing tables at the end of each service
  • masks and gloves wearing for staff (table, kitchen and cash desk personnel)
  • personal hygiene precautions
  • adoption of the compulsory reservation to avoid queues and gatherings of waiting people
  • training and educating courses for workers
  • collection of potentially infected waste
  • ventilation
  • organization of the restaurant layout to respect interpersonal distances and between the various tables
  • management of common areas
  • reorganization of working hours
  • entry and exit procedures
  • access of external suppliers
  • cleaning and sanitizing
  • health surveillance and protection of vulnerable workers
  • measures to prevent the activation of epidemic outbreaks
  • management of a symptomatic person.
Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant business during COVID-19

safety measures

Guidance for technicians to reopening a restaurant

To start off, download the file of my restaurant BIM model, that will help you to better arrange the restaurant’s spaces distribution.

Remember that, in order to open the BIM model, you can download the free trial version of Edificius.

How to rearrange a restaurant’s environments after the lockdown

We recommend you to adopt the following safety solutions for your customers and staff in the different areas of your commercial premises:

  1. entry and exit routes: it is advisable to provide for different internal routes and multiple access areas to the room, doors that are equipped with an automatic opening and closing system and to guarantee interpersonal spacing of at least 2 meter avoiding queues and gatherings;
  2. area for measuring body temperature: if there is sufficient space, an area dedicated to measuring temperature must be provided, possibly near the entrance. This space will have a table on which to place the temperature measuring device, a pack of disposable gloves, a hand sanitizer dispenser and a pedal bin
  3. space for isolating potentially infected people: if possible, provide a space dedicated to the isolation of subjects who show symptoms attributable to the infection by COVID-19;
  4. points for hand sanitization: provide for the distribution of multiple dispensers for hand sanitization, both in the workplace and in the areas intended for catering. We advise you to place them in the entrance area, in the dining room, at the entrance to the toilets, at the entrance of the kitchen and inside it. The number and arrangement of dispensers must be such as to avoid queues and gatherings;
  5. tables arrangement: refer to your national or local regulations to distancing tables. In addition, to limit the risk of contagion when dining (when customers are not wearing a mask), provide a distance that can avoid direct transmission (droplets and contact between people) and indirect (for example through dishes);
  6. protective barriers: if you do not have the possibility of adequately spacing the tables and seats, or as a further preventive measure, provide plexiglass protective barriers or the material you deem most suitable (it is sufficient that they act as a curtain and sanitized);
  7. organize the cash desk area: the cash desk station can be equipped with physical barriers (eg screens); alternatively, staff must wear a mask and have hand sanitizing gel available. In any case, have rather electronic payment methods, possibly at the table;
  8. internal path ways: depending on the space, you can provide a mandatory path way for customers to guide them towards their seats or the toilets;
  9. organize outdoor spaces: remember not to neglect the reorganization of the outdoor spaces and the car parks of relevance, always guaranteeing maximum safety;
  10. ventilation systems: make sure that the right air exchange is guaranteed in all environments through natural and / or mechanical ventilation. Provide for the adaptation of air conditioning filters or air recirculation systems, to limit the risks of contagion. If possible, provide for the replacement of air hand dryers that cause the droplets dispersion, with a paper towel dispenser;
  11. use of outdoor spaces: prefer, where possible, solutions that envisage the use of outdoor spaces above closed environments, guaranteeing the same security measures described so far.

The surveyed stage

The restaurant, which will be remodeled, is a medium-sized room located on the ground floor of an existing building.

Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant business after the lockdown

Restaurant reopening | Area view of the surveyed stage

The bar area, the cashier area, the reception and the waiting room are provided in the entrance area.

The dining room can accommodate up to 100 seats and is organized in several different areas:

  • 3 in the central part, divided by small walls made up of strips and small methacrylate panels
  • 2 on the sides divided, inside, by a system of small walls, beams and pillars.

To the side of the room there are the cloakroom, corridors and the area in front of the kitchen and bathrooms. The latter provide an anteroom that connects the toilets and the area dedicated to staff, consisting of 2 bathrooms and a dressing room.

There are also 2 outdoor areas always intended for catering: the area near the entrance has tables and armchairs covered by a canopy, while the space adjacent to the central room has tables and chairs with umbrellas.

The project

Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant business during COVID-19

Restaurant reopening | Area view of the project for mitigating the contagion risk

Entrance area

From the entrance we have immediately highlighted the path ways for customers and staff with a 10 cm wide green strip, so as to be able to direct people to the tables avoiding queues and gatherings.

In one corner we have provided a table, facing the entrance door, on which there are a pack of disposable gloves, the instrument for detecting the temperature, a pack of masks, a disinfectant gel dispenser and a pedal bin for waste. Signs for the procedures to be followed were posted both before entering the room and near the table.

Technical guidance for reopening and readapting your food business during COVID-19

Screening area for body temperature measurement | Render generated with Edificius

Till and counter area

The bar/counter area with an adjoining cash area is located near the entrance. Plexiglass barriers with openings at the base have been installed on the bench to facilitate payments, while on the ground small strips indicate the minimum distance to be respected for waiting people.

Even in this area we have reduced the number of seats serving the bar, respecting the safety distance between the tables.

Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant during COVID-19

Counter and till area | Render generated with Edificius

Dining area

In the dining room we have planned a reduced number of tables and seats in order to guarantee compliance with the safety distances. In fact, the new arrangement has 36 seats, ensuring the same general conformation of the rooms. In addition, we have added the dispensers with the disinfectant gel and the appropriate signage at various points in the room – at the entrance, near the kitchen and toilet door.

The green strips on the ground indicate the path of customers to reach their seat. This allows for a better organization of the flow of people moving to different points of the room, limiting the risk of queues and gatherings.

Technical guidance for reopening and adapting your restaurant business

Dining area | Render generated with Edificius

Restaurant outdoor spaces

The outdoor areas normally have a limited number of seats, by repositioning tables and umbrellas. Also in this case all the necessary protective devices have been provided near the entrances.

In the room, the small sofa has been eliminated to increase the resting space for employees, however limited to a maximum number of 3 people.


In the proximity of the access to the dressing room we have provided a first dispenser with signs. I inserted additional dispensers and signs at the entrances of the various toilets (men, women and staff) in the restaurant.

To overcome the problem of air hand dryers, I have set up a paper towel dispenser for each toilet, so as to further reduce the contagion and possible spread of the virus.

Edificius video

Here is a video showing the steps to follow to rearrange a restaurant using Edificius, the architectural BIM design software.

Supporting material that you can download for free

Download the free material that can support you in reopening a restaurant according to the measures to mitigate the risk of contagion from COVID-19.

Project slides

3D project created with Edificius


Presentation slides

Ecco le slide con le regole da seguire per riaprire la tua attività lavorativa (ristoranti).