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Business Not Usual: Best Practices in Running a Restaurant in COVID-19 Times

Indeed, this is not the time for you to be haphazard about things. And that goes specifically for your restaurant business. Even with over 100 million Americans vaccinated against the virus, the threat is still far from over. Yes, France is also starting to reopen cafes, bars, and restaurants. And that’s welcome news. But all that doesn’t mean you can run your restaurant anyway you want it.

To date, a lot of countries are still experiencing the pinch. Top of the list is India. With over 25 million infected and thousands dying daily, the Ganges River, India’s holiest of rivers, is teeming with the floating dead. It’s one glorious reminder that we still are grappling with a virus that’s waiting to pounce any minute you let it.

So how do you keep your restaurant drawing patrons while at the same time making sure it’s safe? Certainly, that can sound like a tall order. What are the things you need to do so you can operate and still gain a profit?

Luckily, government guidelines are helping us out in showing how to run a restaurant business caught in the middle of the pandemic. Following such protocols should be spot on.

Provide Employees with Safety Materials

As you are going to be accessible to the public, you should ensure all your workers, from cooks to servers to hosts, are given their fair share of PPE or personal protective equipment once on your premises. We’re talking about face masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves. But that should not stop there. You should always keep abreast of the latest government guidelines regarding safety protocols.

Additionally, you should ensure hand sanitizers are available for patrons. They should also follow guidelines as implemented by CDC.

Observe Strict Cleaning Schedule

cleaning

It’s paramount you observe regular cleaning schedules for high-touch areas in your establishment. You should have a list of those areas commonly touched by your employers or patrons. A sample list includes:

  • Bathrooms
  • Self-service areas
  • Portable food delivery carts
  • Table items (menus, silverware)
  • Seating areas (table)

As in anything else in your restaurant business, it’s always advantageous to have utilities that are durable and last. Silverware for one (spoons and forks), tables, and chairs need to be sturdy enough to endure all the wear and tear.

The same holds true for portable food delivery carts. Good thing reliable brands such as Lakeside Manufacturing produce superior-quality wheeled carts that fit robustly to the growing needs of restaurants in these times.

Screen Employee Temperature Before Each Shift

Although this is not required by the CDC, you could choose to screen employees by taking their temperature. A handheld thermal scanner should do the trick. Workers who are experiencing fever should take a day off and not be allowed to work.

You can do the same for patrons. While you may think it’s counterintuitive, know that your customers will appreciate it if you put strict protocols in. That can only mean they’re doubly protected whenever they’re on your premises.

Ensure Social Distancing

It’s true some states such as New York are allowing full capacity in restos and bars. Still, focusing on dine-in only can be risky. Instead, promote services that require little to no direct interaction. You keep your employees safe that way, not to mention offer great protection for your patrons.

To that end, you can put forward no-contact delivery services and takeout. When you have such offerings, foot traffic in your establishment lessens.

It’s not easy but you should encourage employees to stay 6 feet apart from the customers. For food served, you can have the patron come to a certain table to the prepared food instead of servers going to the dining area to serve such food. That way, you minimize interaction between one server and guests coming in.

Provide Digital Menus

Whether you like it or not, menus are one of the high-touch items in a restaurant. So it’s but wise you find ways for these items to be not a bearer of the virus.

A good way to do this is to use disposable menus. Such a list can be discarded right after every use. It’s really convenient indeed, though a waste of paper. If you find that not too eco-friendly, then you can try using digital. For one, customers could scan a QR code to be able to access our menu in a jiffy via their smartphones.

Install Barriers

This may sound extreme but it’s one of the best ways to contain the virus. Take note that studies show a sneeze or a cough can put the virus in a projectile that’s farther than just six feet away. So that can really put your patrons at great risk if someone who has the virus sneezes.

Installing sneeze guards along with other barriers is the way to go. You can add such barriers in the buffet area or the host area. If not, you may have to nix the buffet or the self-serve area for everyone’s safety.

It’s a tall order. But making sure your patrons and your employees are safe is making sure your business thrives.

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