THE OTHER SIDE: Are you venue ready?

Posted on May 7th, 2020

THE OTHER SIDE: Are you venue ready?

As talk increases about getting cafe’s and restaurants back up and running we need to start to look at what will be required to ensure our doors can open once more.  There is still a lot of discussion around this, however we will look at what we already know.

Disclaimer: The following information is based on information obtained from Safe Work Australia & NT WorkSafe.  This information is provided as a guide only, to help you prepare for the reopening of your business.  Some requirements may vary from State to State, and local legislation should be adhered to once released by your State Government.


  • Hand sanitiser stations or a hands-free portable hand basin with liquid soap and paper towel for patrons to use upon entrance, exit and around the workplace.
  • If possible, one way traffic flow in and out of the venue
  • If possible/practical, touch free entry with automatic doors, or manual doors left open
  • If queuing to enter, bright markings are to be provided on the floor 1.5m apart to show people where they should stand.
  • Erect signs at entrances to ensure the maximum safe capacity is not exceeded
  • Signage to encourage social distancing and hand sanitisation locations should also be clearly visible. 


  • There should be 1.5m between each table of different groups of people. You should arrange seating so dining groups are not seated face to face. Customers from the same group can sit face to face
  • If there are times where staff need to be closer than 1.5 metres apart, ensure the time spent in close contact is minimised with particular focus on minimising face to face close contact, which should be less than 15 minutes face to face.
  • People can only gather for less than 2 hours. Venue layout should be adjusted to accommodate different sized groups and to ensure physical distancing principles can be followed.
  • Venues should have appropriate and easily visible signage to avoid customers crowding together in any one area of the business.
  • If it is not possible to provide safe distances between people you should put in physical barriers that minimise contact (e.g. Perspex shield). 
  • In certain situations, a physical barrier such as widening the counter or placing furniture in front of the counter can be used to help maintain physical distance between people.
  • Where physical barriers are not practical to install, barrier tape can be used to indicate where customers should stand to ensure 1.5m separation can be maintained.
  • Staff should provide the required amount of cutlery to people on the table or have staff hand over cutlery and condiments to limit self-service.
  • Self-service areas like buffets, accommodation breakfast bars and aviation club lounges should be well supervised and require the customer to use hand sanitiser pre-commencement of service.


  • Put up posters around the workplace on keeping at least 1.5 metres distance between everyone at the workplace.
  • Provide social distancing markers on the floor in areas where customers line up or where workers perform tasks.
  • Nominate a person on the work floor to be responsible for keeping everyone the required 1.5 metre distance apart in accordance with the latest government requirements.
  • Have hand sanitiser stations at entry and exit points and around the workplace
  • Ensure bathrooms are well stocked with hand wash and paper towel.
  • Put up posters with instructions on how to hand wash/hand rub.
  • Promote cashless payments, noting that cash is a legal form of tender and it is illegal to not accept cash if a customer chooses to provide it as a form of payment.
  • When cash is exchanged, ensure that hands are washed with soap and water, or a hand sanitiser is used after handling money.
  • Increase access to closed bins in your workplace
  • Put up signs to request customers only touch objects they are going to buy


  • Ensure any areas frequented by workers or others (e.g. visitors to your premises) are cleaned at least daily with detergent or disinfectant.
  • Instruct workers to wear gloves when cleaning and wash their hands thoroughly with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves.
  • Clean frequently touched areas and surfaces several times a day with a detergent or disinfectant solution or wipe. This includes Eftpos equipment, elevator buttons, handrails, tables, counter tops, door knobs, sinks and keyboards.
  • Increase cleaning regimes for all other areas within the food business. Consider whether aspects of the Australian Government cleaning advice will add anything to your cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
  • Wash and sanitise all food preparation containers, utensils and chopping boards.
  • Instruct workers to clean personal property that comes to work, such as sunglasses, mobile phones and iPads with disinfectant, such as disinfectant wipes.

All of the above illustrates what the government will be requiring of you. With Job Keeper, PAYG relief and expanded Instant Asset Write Off, some would say the Government has done a lot.  But they can certainly do more for the Industry.  

With reduced dining capacity, we have seen in several countries around the world, Local Councils opening up public squares, side walks and closing streets to allow cafes and restaurants to increase their alfresco dining abilities.  Now would be a good time for you to petition your Local Council to see if a similar initiative could operate in your town. 

THE OTHER SIDE: How will it look when doors reopen?

Posted on April 29th, 2020

THE OTHER SIDE: How will it look when doors reopen?

With restrictions starting to lift, and the possibility of some venues opening in June it looks like dining out and holidaying may be on the cards again soon.  But how will this look?  There is a lot of talk surrounding restrictions that may be in place when we do get to reopen our doors.  We will take a look at some of these.

The Northern Territory Government has mentioned that Restaurants and Cafes will need to have a Coronavirus Plan in place to reopen.  There is a good chance this will become a requirement across the Nation.  These plans will need to illustrate how you have minimised the potential for the virus to spread throughout your venue.  Guidance to what the requirements of this plan may include is currently being drafted, however based on other countries and media speculation, you can expect it to require some of the elements below.

In some nations experiencing success in controlling the impact of Covid-19, restaurants are doing temperature checks.  Could we see the same practice here?  As we head into winter it is a possibility.  If people are able to shop without the need of a temperature check you would have to consider this measure to be non essential for the hospitality industry, but it should not be ruled out.  A lot of the cheaper non contact thermometers still require close contact with a person to get a reading, and taking temperatures upon entry to a venue could create crowding at the entrance.  This would also need to be overcome.

Commonplace in Buffets and on Cruise ships, hand sanitiser stations are not new, but expect them to become the norm, for a while anyway.  It can be expected that these will be required upon entry of your venue and possibly exit, but could we also see them at dining tables as well?  Whether there will be a requirement for automated units or just pump bottles is yet to be seen, however to cater for small to large businesses, and considering a lot of places currently open use pump bottles, you would expect there to be no restriction on this.

Some Restaurants in Asia have implemented these, and venues in Europe are also looking at it.  Could we see it in Australia as well?  Partitions between diners at a table or between individual tables in a restaurant could be a requirement.  Setting up dining areas in pods or cubicles could allow you to open your indoor dining area sooner than those that do not.  Having partitions on a table where a family is dining is problematic, however these may be a requirement for business lunches and the like.  If partitioned dining does become the norm there will need to be a solid framework around how this is to function in a venue.   Additionally screens like we have seen pop up in supermarkets to protect staff from customers, may also become a requirement for bar and checkout staff.

Many of us have become use to ordering take away or delivery on our phone.  Could this become the norm, even when dining in.  There is talk that menus and buzzers could be a thing of the past for venues, so if this is the case we need to look at the alternatives.  Utilising the customers phone could be the best bet.  Have the menu on the phone and allow direct ordering.  When the order is ready for collection, send an sms or message through bluetooth to the phone.  Hopefully wait staff can still have a role taking orders and delivering to tables, however there may be variations in just how this is done.  Laminated menus should be easy to clean and sanitise, so this may just become a requirement with the removal of paper options.

Converting to a traditional restaurant structure may help in the short term.  There may also be the option to have “servers” at the buffet to allow operations to continue.

This seems like it will be the most likely of all requirements.  It can be expected that spacing between tables will need to be increased.  This will be an easy one for Restaurants and Cafes to implement. It may also require some creative thinking in how you can best utilise your space to maximise capacity whilst adhering to the social distancing guidelines that are in place.

In Queensland from this weekend you will be allowed to picnic.  Now if you have people in parks 4 metres apart eating a meal, why can’t restaurants and cafes reopen alfresco dining to the same?  Councillor Tom Tate wants to see Cafes & Restaurants open again on the Gold Coast, so there should be a real push for the opening of Alfresco dining as a bare minimum.  It is hopeful that both indoor and outdoor dining will open up again soon, however there is a possibility we will see alfresco dining available before indoor dining.

Right now we do not know what restrictions will be in place when we get to reopen.  By the end of the week some things may be a bit clearer based on what comes out of the Northern Territory.  One thing we do know is we can expect things to be different and we will need to adapt.

THE OTHER SIDE: Creative Kitchens Keep Cooking

Posted on April 21st, 2020

THE OTHER SIDE: Creative Kitchens Keep Cooking

With COVID-19 shutting down the dining areas of Cafes & Restaurants across the country, many have had to adapt.  Finding ways to keep the kitchen running during this time has been extremely important, and a job many of you have done well.  In today’s Newsletter we look at the two main ways you have operated to keep your doors open and ways you can expand on this. 

In order to keep trading we have seen many businesses turn to online ordering for takeaway or delivery.  The rates offered up for services like Deliveroo or UberEats however have been restrictive for some.  Below we have 4 ideas to help you reduce expenditure in this area to keep more profits in your pocket.

1.  Run your own Online Ordering System.  If you website is Word Pressed based it is easy to get a plugin to do this.  This would be the same for many other platforms as well. By running your own system you can pretty much eliminate all fees associated with taking online orders.  If you don’t have the knowledge to do this, or want something with a bit of support, maybe chat with the guys at who can get you up and running as well as help with optimising your marketing starting from $149 per month.

2.  List your menu on Facebook and share details on as many local groups as possible.    Facebook is a hive of activity at the moment.  Ensuring people know you are open and what you are selling is important.  Post your menu regularly and share it on local community groups within Facebook.  Doing a special on Schnitzels today? Take a photos and post this as well.  With many people locked at home, food won’t be far from their mind.  Additionally look for any local websites that list businesses that are open, and make sure you are listed there as well.

3.  Like Facebook, list your menus on Google Business.  If you don’t already have a Google Business Listing, now is the time to make sure you get one.  By adding pictures and your menu to this it will allow people searching for food in the area to find you quickly and see what you offer.  Maybe do a post with an image relating to the services you are offering currently so when they see your listing, they know straight away you are open for business.

4.  Distribute your menu. If you are using UberEats or a similar service, try to ensure a menu goes out with every order, as well as details to order through your own system (if you have one) to increase return business and reduce overheads.  Trying to keep healthy through COVID?  Why not walk your neighbourhood and drop copies of your menu into Letterboxes to expand your reach to those that have not discovered you in passing or online.

With businesses moving to Takeaway and Delivery, some have taken it one or two steps further by offering pre packed meals.  We have seen a huge increase in these sorts of offerings for essential workers.  By offering pre packed meals you are able to reinforce your branding and minimise your menu offerings to reduce potential waste. 

Additionally some businesses have also commenced offering Meal Plans with their pre packaged meals.  By offering meal plans you are now able to book sales in for several days of the week.  The more meal plans ordered, the more stability you create for your kitchen.  If you are a business already offering take away or delivery, this could be a great next step for you.

If you would like help organising the packaging for your Pre Packed Meals, we highly recommend you have a chat to the guys at CBS Printing.  They can also help out with your menu printing needs.  To find out more about their service visit

We are all hopeful that we are not too far away from a return to regular operation.  However when that day does come, you may find that some of the strategies you have implemented to help you survive, will allow you to thrive post Covid.

THE OTHER SIDE: Refurb for Revenue

Posted on April 21st, 2020

THE OTHER SIDE: Refurb for Revenue

With the majority of us in lockdown, we need to find creative ways to keep the lights on and ensure when we get to reopen we are ready to capture every bit of business possible.  So how do we do this?  Over the next few weeks Nextrend will engage with professionals in the Hospitality & Tourism sector to get their opinion on what you can do now, to ensure you are in a position to succeed at the other end of this crisis.

The first in this series is Refurb for Revenue.  We know everyone will have differing abilities to be able to give their business a Freshen up during this time, however if there is anything that you can do, at no or minimal cost it should certainly be considered.  When we get to the other side, people will be keen to once again frequent restaurants, dine out, holiday and explore.  It is imperative when they do that your business is not only ready to welcome them back, but  also appealing to the potential customer. 

Brittany Dain of Dain Interiors shares 5 Interior Design Tips that won’t break the bank.

What a great time to spruce up your space! Unfortunately, with many businesses being forced to close due to COVID-19 there is a silver lining. This is a perfect time to look at giving your space a bit of love and a new life, so when you do reopen the doors you have a fresh new look and feel that will entice more customers through that door! 

Here are my top 5 Interior Design tips to give your business a new look. 


Whether you want to brighten up that dark corner you have been dreading, use a white or neutral colour or if you want to add a splash of colour to create a feature wall and area of interest – A fresh coat of paint is the most effective way to change the look and feel of a space without breaking the bank. Its important to pay attention to the existing features and furniture pieces that you already own, to ensure that your new colour choice will complement them, not clash. Colour is incredibly effective in creating a mood and feel of a space; using a crisp white can make it feel fresh and calm, and a deep orange can make it feel cozy and warm. Remember to always check your colour swatch in natural lighting or space you plan on painting before you purchase. 


I have always been a firm believer that indoor greenery makes the world of difference! It’s something I always implement in my designs. Humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life, this is called ‘Biophilia’ and in the design world we use the term ‘Biophilic Design’. 

Picture working in a room only made up of white walls, floor and ceiling. Now picture yourself working in the outdoors with all the greenery surrounding you. Which would you prefer? Adding indoor planters to your space not only gives it a sense of life, but many studies have been conducted to proven that greenery indoors improves mood and productivity in workers. Now that’s a BIG positive! So, find your green thumb and order some plants for your space, and if you find you can’t keep them alive, there’s always faux ones for your choosing. 


Another crucial element of designing a space, your lighting! Great interior spaces have a variety or layered lighting, this gives the ability to control lighting for different times of the day or for specific events or moods. 3 important forms of lighting: General, task and accent. 

General lighting is referring to your downlights, ‘general’ lighting source of artificial light, if your thinking that your space needs a little more ambience consider installing dimmers to have more control. 

Task lighting is directional lighting to illuminate a specific area where a task is going to be performed, like a desk lamp or a pendant. 

Accent lighting is used to focus on a room’s features, this could be artwork, decorative objects or even a wall feature. 

There are really no limitations when it comes to lighting, just evaluate your space… Where needs brightening up? What kind of mood am I trying to achieve? What features do I want to enhance? Work with your licensed electrician and VOLA! You have just improved your business space with the use of lighting. 



Let it go! Its time to finally get rid of that tired looking, stained couch that you have built a connection with… as Marie Kondo would say, “thank it, now say goodbye”. Let’s get rid of the unhygienic furniture and buy yourself something new and fresh. When looking at commercial furniture for my designs there are two key things, I pay attention to: 

  • Maintenance 
  • Longevity 

It’s important to choose furniture that can be easily cleaned, low maintenance and long lasting, so you can focus on the importance of running your business. You don’t want to be replacing furniture every 2 years, am I right? That’s money and time. 


Space planning is another extremely important aspect of design. You could buy all these beautiful furniture pieces but have no idea where they are going once they arrive… BIG NO-NO. Let’s say you have your space, what is it going to be used for? What areas are designated for what activity? Where do you need storage? I could go on, it’s all about tailoring to your space and its use. Its critical to the design process, this means: 

  • Measuring your space 
  • Allocating areas for activity 
  • Think about traffic flow 
  • Scale of your furniture 
  • Placement 

Once you have completed these simple steps, then you can order away! But remember to keep within the budget! 

Brittany Dain
Dain Interiors
Facebook: @DainInteriors
Instagram: @daininteriors