Running Safely- How Restaurants can help protect Staff and Patrons During COVID-19

As customers and staff adjust to the new normal, precautions must be taken to ensure their safety. Here we will outline some ways to limit contact and ensure that social distancing guidelines are met. We will also discuss some essential PPE solutions that can help protect staff and customers.

One of the best ways to combat the spread of viruses is by limiting interactions with people. The less physical interaction people have with the outside world, the fewer people encounter the virus. Here are some tips to limit the amount of contact between staff and customers. 

1.Focus on Expanding Delivery, Curbside and Drive-Thru Options

By limiting the focus on in-person seating, your restaurant limits crowding and unnecessary interactions. Taking on extra volume in these areas can be difficult. To help reduce the number of challenges these changes cause your team, optimize the processes used in the back-of-house.

For easier order completion, consider staging areas for putting together orders and condiment carts for easy access to needed materials. If you are focusing primarily on pickup, consider an easy-to-identify labeling system on a divided shelf for easy order identification. If your business has turned to curbside as your primary solution, a wheeled cart is a great way to deliver multiple orders to customers and limit the amount of added movement staff needs to do.

2. Screen Staff and Provide PPE

Finding ways to protect your customers and patrons is extremely important within the “new normal.” It is imperative to take the time to create a proper system for the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment(PPE). New regulations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak now require more careful PPE processes. Gone are the days of gloves and a hairnet. Now chefs need masks, face shields, and other precautions to ensure safety.

To ensure that all staff is given proper PPE when arriving to work, set-up PPE stations in the major entryways and ensure that all staff has their temperature taken.

Eliminating people with obvious signs of the illness and ensuring that all staff is in proper PPE limits the possibility of a case in your restaurant

3. Set Guidelines for Conduct

Strict guidelines should be set in the back-of-house and front-of-house during this time. Ensure that staff and customers always maintain a distance of at least 6 feet. To accomplish this, set up floor markings so customers and staff know where to stand.

In the back-of-house, consider the use of mobile prep stations that can be moved to provide a proper distance between staff as meals are prepared.

If staff members show signs of the virus, ensure that they are sent home promptly.

Another simple way to help slow the spread in your restaurant is to ensure that staff is using proper hand-washing techniques. Simply washing hands can help to keep the virus from spreading through physical contact with hands.

Also, ensure that employees know how to cough and sneeze without spreading germs. Be sure that staff immediately washes their hands after coughing or sneezing.

To help limit exposure further, make sure that communal areas like break rooms have a strict limit.

4. Sanitize

Taking extra precautions with cleaning and sanitizing is extremely important to promoting safety in restaurants.

Adding sanitizing stations throughout the restaurant promotes continuous hand sanitizing throughout the day. The CDC recommends the use of sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content to thoroughly cleans the hands.

It is also imperative that areas where people are making regular contact with such as tables, booths and bathrooms are sanitized regularly to reduce the contaminants on common surfaces.