The Covid-19 pandemic has undeniably re-shaped our perception of safety and the regulations that support it. Few industries are as indicative of these unprecedented times quite like the restaurant industry. As a training provider of FoodSafe Level 1, MarketSafe, and Serving It Right, ProSafe First Aid has been tied to the food and beverage industry for many years. Job seekers and restaurant owners frequently look to us to obtain food safety certifications, and we try to return the favor in any way that we can.
Since May, establishments have been gradually re-opening their doors, yet much uncertainty remains, especially as we move away from summer patio season. Although we are unable to predict the course of the pandemic itself, we can provide guidance to help our restaurant colleagues stage a successful business revival. If you are an entrepreneur, or work within the restaurant industry, our three pillars of (re)opening successfully are for you.
1. Check Your Capacity
The majority of research indicates that the spread of Covid-19 is caused by sneezing and coughing, as well as touching contaminated surfaces. With this being the case, physical distancing is the arguably the most important rule that restaurants must follow. Management and front-of-house staff are responsible for ensuring that there is at least two meters distance between groups of patrons and workers. Additionally, no more than six people are permitted to be seated at one table.
Restrictions apply to the overall number of customers that can be within the facilities. While the fifty-person limit may hamper restaurants with larger space, many businesses are expanding their patio space, a process which has been expedited by the City of Vancouver through their TEPP program.
2. Educate Your Staff
Line cooks, general managers, bartenders - a restaurant’s staff are central to its operation. No matter the role, or whether the individual interacts with the public directly, absolutely everyone on the team must be made familiar with and follow Covid-19’s service guidelines.
Frequent sanitizing, hand washing, and protocols for handling kitchen deliveries are but a few of the rules that have been created to preserve a clean work environment. As one would expect, different instructions are needed for front-of-house staff as opposed to kitchen staff. Fortunately, a full breakdown is available for each through the BC Restaurant & Food Services website.
3. Educate The Public
The pandemic has, understandably, led to many people feeling extremely cautious about resuming dine-in services. To make them feel at ease, make sure your marketing channels, including your website and social media, include a breakdown of the measures you plan on taking in order to promote a safe and clean environment. If possible, bring attention to take-out options, or consider creating meal kits that they can make at home. The ideal messaging is one that captures your efforts to combat the pandemic, while also re-establishing your relationship with the community.
Restaurants are important businesses that strengthen social ties and promote local culture. While Covid-19 has severely impacted how they must operate, these three steps can help ensure a brighter future for all.