We’ve discussed a lot of strategies to help keep customers safe when reopening restaurants. It’s equally important for restaurant owners to keep staff safe on the job. In this chapter, we will highlight industry best practices on PPE and safety protocols that help create a safe environment in the workplace.
Necessary Protective Equipment
The CDC recommends face coverings for all restaurant employees. Enforcing mask wearing and other articles of PPE throughout the shift provides safety for both your guests and your staff.
Avero Recommends stocking up on cloth masks and other pieces of PPE including disposable aprons, face shields, goggles, disposable gloves, and hair nets. Supplying PPE takes the burden off of employees. Plus, you won’t have to send anybody home if they’ve forgotten their essential protective equipment.
Additionally, owners should host mandatory trainings for all team members (including management) on how to correctly wear different forms of PPE.
Avero Recommends creating a certification test for team members on proper PPE use. Post the list of those who passed the certification in the BOH for transparency purposes.
Our partners from the Momofuku Group provide all staff members with PPE and created SOPs on how to properly wear and remove it.
Employee Health Screenings
Temperature check mandates vary state by state. But we believe that providing health screening checks for employees will be critical to the path forward.
Avero Recommends creating specific protocols around health screening. For example, the daily process could include:
- Upon arrival and before an employee begins their shift, they must have their temperature taken.
- Employees must complete a health check screening document asking them to self-report any common symptoms associated with COVID-19.
- Managers review the results of the health screen. If they are not cleared for work, ask them to leave for the day and follow up with a health provider.
- Management should keep the screening documents on file for future reference.
Additionally, consider a solution like the one Harri, a hospitality scheduling and payroll technology company, has created. Their virtual COVID-19 Employee Check Platform tracks employee health across the enterprise. It also posts results for customers to see.
Partner Highlight: Check out Encore Boston Harbor’s detailed guide highlighting the steps they are taking to ensure employee safety.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols
COVID-19 has created new industry standards regarding safety and sanitation. Retraining your management, FOH, and BOH teams on essential operational protocols regarding safety and sanitation is an important step.
Avero Recommends that your team takes ServSafe’s Reopening Guidance Series so they are adequately prepared for in-dining service, takeout, and delivery.
Hosting a refresher on proper handwashing and disinfecting techniques is also a solid best practice. Avero Recommends hosting a handwashing and disinfecting training to make sure your entire team is familiar with all protocols. Putting up additional signage around the restaurant will give staff members constant reminders of correct protocol.
International Hotels Group partnered with the Cleveland Clinic and Eco Lab to create the Clean Promise Initiative to ensure that proper disinfecting techniques are used throughout their hotels. Additionally, they have appointed “clean champions” to help property teams consistently deliver cleanliness standards.
Addressing Guest Challenges
COVID-19 will likely bring about a new series of challenges with guest behaviors. These may include guests that jeopardize employee safety by refusing a temperature screening upon entry, refusing to wear masks in the restaurant, refusing to properly socially distance, etc.
Avero Recommends creating an SOP playbook for your restaurant. This helps ensure that your entire team is aligned on how to handle these situations safely and hospitably. We also recommend clearly posting the defined policies at all entrances of the restaurant. Don’t forget to highlight the repercussions for not following those policies.
Outbreak Response Plan
No preventative measure works 100% of the time. It is important to make sure that your staff is prepared to take appropriate action if an employee or guest tests positive for COVID-19. Steritech, a leader in hospitality risk assessment and auditing, is working with restaurant operators across the US to help them create crisis management plans for potential outbreaks.
Avero Recommends creating a specific contingency response team and associated action plan to follow in the event that your restaurant does experience an outbreak from either a staff member or a guest.
Thank you so much for reading over COVID-19 Restaurant Reopening Guide! Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog. We’ll continue to monitor trends and post updates in the ever-changing restaurant industry during these unprecedented times.