Coronavirus has shifted what we used to know and expect of hospitality service.
Right now, we are still smacked in the middle of the scare and uncertainty. No one can explicitly provide fixed safety regulations and guidance.
Some food businesses are opting for exclusive Take Outs or Deliveries only, to survive financially. Anytime Chefs has extended our services to provide food business owners with the guidance and tools for their businesses to maintain operation. Book a FREE call with us, and we will evaluate your situation in order to provide the best and safe strategies to support your business in this challenging time.
Some restaurants still provide dine-in services. In some places, where previously business closures are mandated but are now allowed to reopen, restaurant owners and staff need the confidence in facing this new reality of COVID-19.
To bolster your team’s confidence here are some tips to strengthen your restaurant’s/ food business sanitary measures.
1. Improve your current ventilation systems
Ensure that your ventilation system is maintained well.
In this study, increased infection rates or outbreaks of airborne diseases can be associated with a lack of ventilation or low ventilation rates. The design of proper, general ventilation systems can play an essential role in preventing the spread of infections. High ventilation rates, meaning good air movement and filtration could control and decrease the risk of infection.
With the current scenario, it’s not silly to think of the isolation rooms in hospitals dedicated to infectious diseases. There is already a need for restaurants to control food odours and fumes from the cooking process. On top of that, most restaurants have multiple distinct areas such as smoking or non-smoking areas, which presents their specific HVAC requirement. Is your restaurant able to meet those ventilation requirements?
Ventilation systems can create different patterns of airflow which is why perhaps the 6 feet distancing is not even enough to prevent the virus transmission. Droplets can be released in the air, by talking and even mere breathing.
Earlier this year, a story ran where the infection was spread to customers inside an air-conditioned restaurant. Harvey V. Fineberg, who leads the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, described the report as “provocative and eye-opening.” He said restaurants should be mindful of the direction of airflow in arranging tables.
2. Capping Maximum Hours of Stay
The longer people are exposed to a contaminated area, they are more likely to inhale the more virus particles. Decide on how long you will allow people to dine inside and make sure a sign is easily seen by all. When reminding diners, your serving staff should remain professional and be able to express with empathy the need to limit the dining hours per table.
Refresh your kitchen team’s skill with your protocols on safety and sanitation.
Focus on more strict personal hygiene practices, detailed cleaning standards and implementation of food safety measures.
On top of sanitisation training, make sure that your staff is regularly briefed in handling a high level of anxiety situations with diners. These times, people are now doing things that seemed absurd and unusual last year. People who are extra picky and sensitive to food handling may dine in your restaurant. Check if you are assigning people with the right temperament to handle such situations to diffuse complaints.
4. Even more frequent handwashing for the kitchen team
In the food service industry, handwashing is almost a second nature to Chefs and kitchen staff. Team members ideally wash their hands at least 20 seconds with soap and water throughout the shift or anytime they change their job task, touch their face, after coughing/sneezing, use the restroom, clean, or handle cash.
- Enforce handwashing every 30 minutes.
- Ensure that handwashing stations have enough supply of warm water, soap and paper towels.
- Proper handwashing technique posters are in place.
5. Frequent cleaning of items and surfaces beyond food prep areas
Check out this study by The Lancet on how long coronaviruses can live on some common surfaces, as well as this list below:
- Aluminium: 2-8 hours
- Paper: 3 hours
- Copper: 4 hours
- Cardboard: 24 hours
- Cloth: 2 days
- Wood: 2-4 days
- Plastic: 3-6 days
- Stainless steel: 3-6 days
- Glass: 4 days
- Paper money: 4 days
- Metal: 5 days
- Surgical mask (exterior): 7 days
Ensure that High-touch objects or anything that could be touched by customers are frequently sanitize :
- Dining tables and counters – After sanitizing, you can leave a sign that these areas have been sanitized after the previous use so that diners will feel at ease occupying them.
- Door handle
- Self-order kiosks and tabletops
- Touch screens on your point of sale system ( carefully, not to damage electronics),
- Service station
- Light and air control switches
- Bar and lobby counters
- Faucets and toilet flush levers in the restrooms
- Menu – though if you can make use of a single-use menu, all the better.
6. Move away from reusable items
From dishware, cutlery to menus and on-table condiment bottles. This will also limit the need to wash and sanitize them so that the focus are on the fixed items and surfaces.
7. Set up reminders
Create habits and reminders so that you, your Chef and team avoid touching your faces as well as covering faces during coughs and sneezes.
Place kitchen timers in the kitchen. When the timer alarms, your employees have to accomplish a specific cleaning task, such as wiping down a particular surface inside the restaurant. Make a tracking and monitoring sheet so that each area is disinfected accordingly and the assigned person is accountable.
8. Change your table layout
Ensure that your employees and guests feel safe in their physical spaces. Maintain a 6 feet distance between tables. As a result of this change in layout (and possibly decreased in the number of tables), your operational processes may likely change. This is the time to make every diner even feel more comfortable.
9. Sick employees should stay home
If an employee is sick, even if they are showing mild symptoms, they should stay home. Inform all employees of this protocol, so that they wouldn’t even have to consider dropping by when they have symptoms, only to infect others. They are still contagious, therefore, should be excluded from the operation until they are symptom-free. The symptoms of COVID-19 symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and fever. If an employee demonstrates any of these symptoms, you should send them home.
Restaurant owners all over the world are placed in a difficult situation. For each day that their business doors are open, they are risking losing money. There is still uncertainty when it comes to living with coronavirus but as each day passes, there are scientific facts that are constantly provided either through news or social media on how to prevent transmission. Your responsibility is to ensure that you adapt your operation to what health experts consider as safe practices to avoid the transmission of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,