Maintaining Restaurant Food Safety Practices During a Pandemic

While it is only the third month of 2020, it has been an extremely difficult year for humanity as a whole. The outbreak of the current coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has become a global pandemic in a very short amount of time. At the time of this post, several countries, including Italy, have shut down and seized all operations to ensure public safety. Most individuals are quarantined to minimize the risk of the virus spreading, which includes the closing of restaurants for an undetermined amount of time.

While it is good that other countries are being proactive about how they are handling the situation, countries like the United States haven’t caught on with the trend of social distancing. As of now, our restaurants are still open, and there is a high level of awareness that things need to be done with extra care to protect the citizens of our country. Nutri-Rific LLC hopes to provide some ways to effectively manage a restaurant through challenging times such as these.

Monitor Employees

One of the most effective ways to ensure safety for your employees and guests at your establishment is to monitor who is working, and who shouldn’t be. Because your employees are handling food, they are already under a ton of pressure to make sure they are capable and healthy enough to properly distribute these goods to consumers in a safe way. But in a time of crisis such as this, the expected health standards are increased ten-fold, and unsafe food handling could land your company, employees, and yourself in a downward spiral of blame and mistrust.

Monitoring your employees does not mean that they have to be on a leash 24/7 while at the restaurant. This will lead to shady business and disobedient or defiant behavior. What monitoring your employees does mean is how you handle the entering, exit, and physical managing skills that allow them to safely deliver tasty food to the patrons of the establishment.

One way to effectively monitor employees is to facilitate safe handwashing practices and the ways they utilize their hands throughout the day. According to the CDC, washing hands effectively for 20 seconds each time can help reduce not only the spread of coronavirus but almost all diseases and transmittable issues that we regularly face. While there have always been signs in bathrooms that “employees must wash hands,” actually taking that initiative to jump in and enforce those patterns can help promote exceptional health monitoring and safety mitigation. Rather than only having your employees wash their hands after utilizing the bathroom, enforcing that they wash their hands each time they leave their station or every 20 minutes at minimum will help maintain a clean and proper work environment that your business will thrive off of.

Another way to effectively monitor employees is by checking in with each one of them periodically to make sure they are up to the challenge of working. If someone is feeling sick or does not think they can actively partake in work without jeopardizing their health or the health of others, it may be best that they stay home during this period of uncertainty. While this may increase the rate of “flakes” (individuals who are physically fine but want to take advantage of the time-off opportunity), if you have a solid crew that was formed with the right goals in mind, then only the people who actually are unable to work will utilize this time to get better.

Manage Restaurant Patrons

While the “customer is always right” mentality has been around for a long time, in dire situations, such as the one we are seeing develop each day, they often might not be right. Many people have the mentality that if they feel fine, then nothing is wrong. The problem with that mindset right now is that they may feel fine and happy, but could be unknowingly spreading the presence of the coronavirus to your establishment, jeopardizing the entire operation.

One way that some restaurants have begun to minimize this risk is to offer delivery and takeout options only so that hundreds of people are not sharing the same space as the employees and food. While this could have potential economic downsides (tips for waiters, reduced beverage sales, etc.) it is a great method overall to promote the safety of not only all the restaurant patrons, but also your staff who need to be healthy to make an effective restaurant work and keep you in business.

Seizing Operations

While it is a difficult pill to swallow, and we hope the country doesn’t turn to this, if all else fails then we might have to enforce a nationwide restriction on business operations. The entire country might be quarantined in the near future, and if that happens then your restaurant will have to seize production as well.

We know that it may seem hard to fathom, and you might want to fight back and continue production at “all costs,” but in a time where lives are at stake and the uncertainty has brought about mass hysteria, it is best to follow instructions and look out for the best interest of yourself, your crew, your patrons, and all other citizens of the United States.

Getting Through With Nutri-Rific LLC

We know this is a difficult time for many industries, including the one we all know as ours. With all of the paranoia (rightfully so) occurring in various parts of the world, it can be hard to see where the end in sight might come to fruition. The team of Nutri-Rific LLC wishes you all the best and is willing to offer any advice on how to do your part to get things back to normal again. If you ever need to reach out for assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our company, and we will do our best to provide you or lead you to the right resources to get things back to how we have known them even a few months ago.