If you want your food business to transition from exclusive dine-in services to providing takeouts, pickups or delivery, I bet you ask this question: “Is it worth the risk?”
Not only are customers asking the questions “Is it safe to order food delivery?” But your staff may ask as well, “Is it safe to provide these services during these times?”
Anytime Chefs has extended our services to provide food business owners with the guidance and tools for their businesses to maintain operation. When you book a FREE call with us and let us know your situation, we will evaluate the best and safe strategies to support you so that you will still be open for business.
Here are some best practices to help you observe coronavirus safety guidelines.
Evaluate how your establishment can apply operational changes to maintain social distancing. Do yo have enough space to maintain a 6-foot distance from others? Can you create a different traffic flow to avoid customers from bumping into each other?
Takeouts and pickups are often interchangeable nowadays. But for clarity, takeouts are orders placed onsite and consumed out of your establishment. Pickups are placed beforehand either by phone or an app and then picked up in your establishment. If you offer takeout services:
- Install a clear transparent shield between your counter person and the customers. The shield serves as a barrier to block any possibly virus-containing droplets from hitting the person on the other side. These panels are similar to the sneeze guards you find in some open kitchens as well as in supermarket counters. They can be made either by plexiglass or thin plastic panels.
- Separate customers by putting tape on the floor in checkout aisles marking the 6 feet safe distance for them to stand on while they are waiting to pay.
- Have a sign in the counter area with your business phone number or mobile app to encourage people to order in via those options. Instruct your counterperson to inform each customer of these options as they pay for orders. It limits the chances of virus exposure for your staff and your customer. It can also free up manpower to dedicate exclusively in the counter and have them help with the food preparation instead.
RELATED READ: 5 Keys to Removing the Risk From Open Kitchens
As of this time, the World Health Organization has not expressly advised people to stop using cash. But it is essential to handle cash similar to anything that you touch in public: Keep them separate from other items and wash immediately after handling them. Some people sanitize the coins and iron the paper bills to make sure that the heat kills the various. But then, the best practice is still handwashing.
It is up to you to establish whether you will only accept exclusive card transactions. However, do know that it can discourage some customers. The best way is to instruct your counter person to observe frequent handwashing and to keep his/her hands away from his/her faces.
If your restaurant has an app, make pre-tipping an option, so that customers can already include their tips before they checkout via the app. Tips are most vital during these times and doing it for your staff, especially for your delivery riders is an invaluable help.
Ensure that food prep surfaces, dishware and utensils, as well as beverage equipment, are washed, rinsed and sanitized.
Also include surfaces that are frequently touched such as doorknobs, countertops, and handles. Include floors and toilets.
Ensure that your disinfectants and cleaning products are strong enough to protect against Covid-19. Check out this list for your guidance.
Ensure that sanitizers are prepared and used according to label instructions. Following label instructions is an easy thing to overlook. What is the point of having the right disinfectant if it will not be prepared and used as it should be? Create a preparation guide in designated areas in your kitchen that can be easily seen by your staff.
Ensure that your dishwashing machines are set at the required wash and rinse temperatures. It is good to know that in place of chemicals to sanitize, hot water can be used.
Because food will not be consumed immediately, it is important that cooked foods reach the proper internal temperatures before they are packed. The food danger zone (5°C to 60°C) and this should clear with everyone handling food preparation.
Takeout, Pick up or Delivery
Review and retrain your staff to refresh their memories and skills with regards to food safety and practices. Being in the food business, ideally, your establishment should already have a food safety system in place. Strongly enforce frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including after bathroom activities or handling bodily fluids, after sneezing or coughing, as well as after getting in contact with frequently touched surfaces. Alternatively, you can use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
Establish designated pickup zones for customers. Make your signages big so that it can be easily seen from the entrance. You want to avoid customers with pick up orders to wait in the lane or be hassled to ask around where the pickup zone is. Make things easy for them.
Avoid cross-contamination by keeping wrapping and packaging of raw foods separated from cooked or ready to eat foods.
Ensure that your customers still get to enjoy hot foods hot and cold foods cold by investing in the right insulated transport containers. Have enough coolant materials such as gel packs available. Check that these packages function as they should and routinely sanitize them.
Offer “no-touch” deliveries. Get clear instructions from customers where to drop off the delivery. Ask for a mobile number so that your delivery person can send text alerts or call when food has been delivered.
Even with barriers in place, it is crucial that everyone still prioritise handwashing and social distancing. No one can accurately tell at this time how long we will be experiencing this “new normal” but I remain optimistic that we will all come out surviving this health crisis – businesses included!
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,