One of the bright spots in Albuquerque’s economy and tourism industry has always been our restaurants. We hope our restauranteurs will take the lead in re-opening our economy, because it will boost the morale of all of us. We like dining out!

Now is the time to begin planning to re-open your restaurant. We have a few suggested modifications to help you adapt your restaurant for the COVID-19 crisis.

It starts with a software platform that enables customers to order and pay from anywhere, including your restaurant. They can pick up their order as takeout – many restaurants can add drive-up windows or walk-up windows with little building modification – or have it delivered to their home, office or a table in your restaurant. This minimizes or eliminates contact between your customers and staff.

Once customers no longer have to stand in line to order, you can open that area for dining. Extra dining space will be helpful as long as distancing orders remain in effect, because the additional area allows greater separation between patrons.

Automatic door openers let customers enter and leave your restaurant without touching the doors. You can make restroom doors open automatically, too. Because restrooms deserve special attention, you also can add motion sensor ultraviolet lights, which are anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Any surfaces that customers must touch can be copper plated, which is also anti-viral.

When considering how to separate restaurant customers, I recalled having lunch with my mother almost 20 years ago at Sam’s Grill & Seafood in San Francisco. We were seated in small wooden booths separated by wooden partitions and a cloth curtain. Very cool and film noir. The memory made me realize: plexiglass is unappetizing.

We recommend increasing the number of air supply diffusers in the dining area, so air flow is increased and more uniform. All diffusers should be located to avoid blowing air directly onto tables. Also, locate all return air grills one foot off the floor. These changes will help prevent air from blowing from one table onto another. Install an ultra violet light filter in the return air duct system to eliminate any virus in the air.

So many small businesses are being asked to reopen or need to reopen to avoid bankruptcy. But little assistance is being provided. These recommendations are a start, but they may or may not work for your specific restaurant. If you would like recommendations specific to your restaurant – at no charge – please contact me at If you have ideas that I have not included, please contact me and I will include your recommendation with the next post.

My company, Mick Rich Contractors, is currently offering COVID-19 modifications to restaurants at cost, with no profit. This is our effort to help New Mexico’s economy rebound.

I look forward to once again enjoying a great breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends in my favorite restaurants!

Mick Rich
CEO, Mick Rich Contractors
(505) 934-1577