With restrictions around the country easing, restaurants and bars are starting to open up with certain conditions. For most individuals, the opportunity to have a drink or dine out is an exciting prospect, but what should restaurants be doing to maintain the utmost hygiene and social distancing standards? We’ve listed some recommendations for restaurants to consider when reopening.
Firstly no part of COVID-19 is a foodborne disease. It can only be spread from person to person, through coughing, touching contaminated surfaces or being in close proximity with an infected individual.
Food safety has always been a priority for the restaurant industry, for both customers and employees. Communal self-serve stations are great nesting grounds for bacteria due to the large number of touch points between a large variety of individuals. Self service buffet style foods, salad bars, cutlery and glass stations should be removed or access monitored. Drinking water should be provided at the table rather than self service stations.
Cleaning and Sanitation
A thorough detailed cleaning of the entire premise is recommended, especially if the business has been closed for a period of time. Cleaning and disinfecting should be focused on high contact areas frequently, with seldom touch areas also being cleaned as often as possible. Ensure cleaning materials are of disinfectant strength (check the label), while avoiding surfaces containing food when cleaning.
Between seatings, condiments such as sugar, salt and pepper should be cleaned or kept separately and only provided when customers request it. Digital ordering devices, door handles, table tops, menus, and back of chairs should also be cleaned between seatings. Single use items should immediately be discarded, with paper menus being discarded. Restrooms should be cleaned and sanitised based on frequency of use. It is also a good initiative to make hand sanitisers readily available for all customers.
Monitoring Employee Health and Personal Hygiene
Employees should be encouraged to remain at home if they’re sick and be excluded from work until they are deemed safe to return by a health professional. Employers should also implement a pre-work screening process before the start of each shift. Symptoms of COVID-19, include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath and any individuals presenting these should immediately get tested. Training should be conducted on appropriate cleaning measures and also effective hand washing and drying techniques so your staff are well-informed of correct procedures.
Physical distancing is an important component to creating a safe environment for staff and customers. Floor plans should be redesigned to ensure there is at least 1.5 metres between seated tables. Patron movement surrounding the entry and exit from the restaurant should be considered, and if practicable have a separate entrance for each. Guests should be seated as soon as possible to avoid congregation in waiting areas or bar areas. Remind third party delivery drivers and suppliers that social distancing measures are in place and congregating around the entrances is discouraged.
Make technology your friend! Introduce contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, or mobile ordering apps to help you conduct business with the reduced need for close contact. As restaurants start to open, make sure you’re constantly communicating with your customers through social media, website updates and simple texts advising them of opening times, menu items and reservation options.
With restaurants opening up, Alsco is here to help! With our managed uniform rental service, you can rent your hospitality staff aprons and uniforms, ensuring your employee’s always have access to hygienic and sanitary uniforms while reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Check out our range of hospitality uniforms here.