There’s no shortage of advice as you build your own checklist for reopening your operation in the post-COVID era. Red Gold® has taken a long look at some of the best ideas and they all boil down to this baseline of 4 important areas and tips to help your operation adapt to the circumstances.
- Take a Deep Dive into Your State & Local Guidelines – Every state and locality can vary in their guidelines. Understanding each requirement is vitally important and they involve 5 basic areas:
- Ensuring there are no sick employees on-site
- Ensuring no on-site transmission
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting
- Social distancing and touch-free for dine-in
- Favoring take-out, delivery, or drive thru
Below is a helpful infographic from US Foods that provides more detail for the listed tips above:
Understanding the New Expectations; it’s a Matter of Trust – The foodservice business was challenging before the pandemic. Now there are even higher expectations from your customers, employees, the government, and the media.
Understand that it comes down to trust and it begins with your customers. Here are some suggestions:
- List every precaution that you are taking and a procedure that your employees must be trained on and follow explicitly. A new training manual needs to be written, shared, and embraced by your employees.
- List each of your precautions on signage within your restaurant, on your website, and on your social media accounts for the next few months. Clear communication with your customers will provide a sense of ease and show that your operation is taking healthy practices seriously in order to protect them, their families, and your employees.
- Be aware of the pros and cons of social media. Social media has kept many operators alive during the sheltering period. But be aware of the possibility that customers will share their impressions and photos of what is going on inside your operation now that they are returning. Make your staff aware that their adherence to your policy and social distancing is not only important, but will be noticed by your customers.
- New Table and Shared Space Procedures - Customer sensitivity about shared beverage dispensing, tabletop condiments, and condiment stations are part of the new normal. There is a new expectation that tabletop condiment bottles be wiped down after every seating or removed. If you opt to move to condiments being filled back-of-house in ramekins, here are some tips:
- Use glass or stainless steel ramekins to send a positive sustainability message to your customers when compared to plastic or paper. Save your plastic ramekins with lids for your take-out and delivery orders.
- Train your waitstaff to automatically bring a ramekin of ketchup with orders that call for ketchup, such as French fries, onion rings, or hash browns. This will send a message that you are paying attention to their needs. Furthermore, it reduces trips back to the kitchen for your waitstaff and reduces the chance that the customer will order a more expensive condiment, such as ranch dressing or BBQ sauce.
- For delivery and take-out orders, provide condiments in either portion controlled packets or plastic ramekins. Be sure to market signature sauces for eat-in or take-out customers and charge for them.
- The Way to Staff Your Shifts Should Change. - Think distinct teams of back-of-house kitchen staff, customer engagement team, and a restaurant safety team. If one person is tested and found to have COVID, the entire team should be quarantined, and a new team brought in after sanitation occurs.
- Your customer engagement team should include a host or hostess who shares your procedures within your operation as soon as a guest arrives. Your waitstaff can likewise explain certain ordering procedures once guests are seated. Then, an engagement staff person helps with the end of their dining experience and asks guests about their experience.
- One of the most important teams is your safety team. Consumers want to see that staff members are carefully wiping down areas of potential contamination frequently, especially at door entrances, exits, and bathrooms. Try configuring the entire experience to be as “contactless” as possible for your customers.
Red Gold has been helping customers succeed since 1942, and our commitment to your success has never been stronger. Remember to monitor and retrain your staff on a regular basis, and clearly communicate the new procedures with your customers. Together, we will be successful! For more information on Red Gold products and other insights for your success, visit RedGoldFoodservice.com