The pandemic has affected plenty of local businesses with a reported closing of 26% of businesses in the Philippines. This has been especially true with restaurants, since most people no longer go out to eat and socialize.
If your restaurant business is lucky enough to still be running during this pandemic, one of the best things you can do is to take proactive measures to ensure the safety of your customers.
If it’s true what they say that you are what you eat, then we definitely don’t want to eat anything contaminated, especially not now. Here are some things you can do to make certain your restaurant’s meals stay safe and virus-free:
Let’s start with the most topical: deliveries. If your restaurant business is still running successfully during this pandemic, that most definitely means you’re delivering, either through your own delivery service or through Grab and Foodpanda.
If it’s the former, your delivery motorcycles need to be cleaned and sanitized regularly since these vehicles are exposed regularly to the outside. Your delivery drivers also shouldn’t be sick, so be sure to check their temperature before they go off delivering orders. A temperature of 38°C or above might mean a fever, so they shouldn’t be delivering orders for the day.
This is also why we recommend hiring more than one delivery driver, so if one of your drivers falls ill, you’ll still have at least one other driver who’s able to do the job. Delivery drivers should also be maintaining social distancing when making deliveries and wearing face masks and shields throughout their shift.
It’s also best to encourage contactless payments from customers, so if your business can accept payments from GCash, Dragonpay, or credit cards, emphasize that payment option instead. If cash on delivery is chosen, the delivery driver needs to maintain proper distance from the customer. It’s best if the money is placed inside an envelope when making transactions.
Your staff members are the ones interacting with your customers and preparing their orders, so the best way to ensure your food is healthy is to ensure your staff is healthy. Just like your delivery drivers, your staff members’ temperatures need to be checked before the shifts start. Again, if their temperature is 38°C or above, it’s best for everyone including your customers that they stay at home instead of working that day at the restaurant.
Your staff members will be touching plenty of things throughout the shift, so hand sanitizers need to be everywhere. Regular hand washing needs to be strongly implemented, especially for the in-kitchen staff. We recommend you print out and put up reminders of regular hand washing, as well as posters stating the proper way to wash hands, to make certain that your chefs, waiters and waitresses, and cleaning staff never forget this important step.
Staff members also need to be wearing masks all throughout their shift no matter their job. If your staff wears a uniform, these uniforms have to be regularly washed — research has suggested that the coronavirus can survive on fabric for several hours.
Finally, it’s best not to have a large staff inside the restaurant at any one given time. The lesser the number of people in one room together, the safer your restaurant will be, especially inside your kitchen.
Because your kitchen is where your customers’ meals are cooked and prepared, everyone in there should be following safety regulations, and nobody should be allowed in unless it’s necessary.
Again, masks are necessary to be worn, but for your in-kitchen staff, you should also include the requirement to wear full aprons, hairnets, and gloves when handling food. Don’t forget regular nail cut inspections to make sure they’re preparing food with short clean fingernails.
Food should be cooked properly and be packaged right away after being finished. Never leave food for a long time at room temperature, whether raw and cooked — bacteria grows most rapidly at this temperature. The FDA recommends that all perishables left at room temperature for more than two hours be discarded.
Finally, anything used to handle food and drinks should be regularly sanitized. These include but are not limited to:
- soda machines
- cutting boards
- coffee machines
Despite the pandemic, there are still some people who prefer to eat outside, especially those that are working. These people can come from anywhere, so it’s important to be careful who you let in your restaurant. Just like your staff, your customers need to be taken the temperature of as well — remember the limit of 38°C. They also need to be wearing face masks and/or shields — don’t let anyone in who isn’t wearing at least one to ensure the safety of everyone.
Because these surfaces are regularly stepped on or touched by outsiders, floors must be regularly mopped and tables must be regularly sanitized. (Read our article on high-touch objects to find out more.) To ensure customers still practice social distancing when they’re dining in, invest in social distancing screens and position tables far away from each other.
Finally, let your customers be a part of the process. Tell them what they can do to keep safe from the virus. Encourage take out and delivery instead of dining in, and if they choose to dine in, have it be by themselves or with one other person. We should all be avoiding large social gatherings for now especially when it’s outside our homes.
More than anything, your restaurant needs to be at its cleanest now, but that can be hard when you’re dealing with so much and you don’t have the time or the staff to regularly ensure a spotless restaurant. So why not delegate the task instead and hire a cleaning service to take care of it for you?
Cleaning services know what they’re doing when it comes to protecting your home. Because we’re professionals, we’re properly trained in the most effective ways to clean, sanitize, and disinfect your place. This is especially true for the dining area of your restaurant — because all sorts of people from outside come into your restaurant and dine there, your surfaces being infected by the virus could be high. For the security of your business, you shouldn’t be willing to take that risk.
We’ve got the skills and supplies needed to ensure your restaurant stays a safe and secure place for you, your staff, and your customers.
Your customers will thank you for a clean restaurant, and they’ll do so in the best way possible — they’ll revisit or order from your restaurant again. When you show your customers you care about them, they’ll care about you back, and one of the best ways to show that is showing them you care about their health.