As restaurants reopen, some of our suggestions will help you think of strategies and design risk minimization rules for employees, visitors and food.
Most restaurants already serve at reduced capacity, but will have to devise strategies that track people instead of food to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurants that use food safety education programs, such as ServSafe, are uniquely qualified to follow safety protocols for food flow during operations and for Food Disease Prevention.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a new and different challenge for food operators. The government has begun gradual opening of the economy. Most are allow food service at reduced capacity, so restaurants will have to devise strategies that monitor people instead of food, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
As you welcome customers back to your restaurants, not only will you have government or local guidelines to follow, you will also face the challenge of keeping your staff as safe as your customers from potential exposure to COVID -19.
A great place to start learning about the guidelines that are likely to be required is Polykarpou hrd’s “COVID-19 Restaurant Reopening Guidance ” in collaboration with Mind the Gap.
Within the guide, but also in the tips we can give you, we look at strategies and changes in your design that can help you to operate safely now, while building your business again by developing its visibility. Here are some of the topics it covers:
Overview-areas to consider and questions to ask yourself.
Maintaining staff safety-procedures and design issues to encourage social distancing and protect employees.
Maintaining customer safety – while the 2-metre rule isn’t the best solution in restaurants, there are ways to reset seating arrangements that help mitigate the potential spread of infection.
Maintaining food safety – how to receive, prepare, exchange food from BOH (Back of House) to FOH (Front of House) and serve in ways that minimize the chances of contamination.
Regaining your trust and business – steps to rebuild customer confidence that the food on your premises is safe and enhances your visibility.
Identification Of Control Points
Surely you have already implemented a critical point Risk Analysis Plan (HACCP), to ensure food safety. Think of your reopening strategy like a HACCP plan for people instead of food.
See how relationships (critical checkpoint) between groups of people in your restaurant can cause the spread of the coronavirus and take steps to eliminate or mitigate the risks.
While transmission of the coronavirus is possible from surfaces, especially from common contact surfaces in close proximity such as a restaurant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says person-to-person transmission is the most common route to infection.
Study the new food safety and hygiene protocols as issued by Health Services. Review your restaurant spaces to limit close contact and droplet spread, mitigate contamination through frequently touched surfaces.”
Consider possible points of contact between “Back of House” staff and “Front of House” staff, between staff and customers, identify risks for the spread of the virus and then look for solutions to reduce risks.
As you plan the reopening, consider your existing premises and take into account the following:
- You could use separate entrances for staff and clients;
- Your restaurant has a delivery warehouse or deliveries are made through a common area;
- An area may be designated for staff to change into PPE (clothes ,masks, gloves, etc.);
- An area can be set up as a secure food exchange zone between “Back of House “staff and “Front of House” staff, between staff and customers;
- How many and what kind of seats did you have before closing? how many of them can be moved to accommodate social distancing;
- Do you have outdoor areas that you can be used for extra seating or storage space;
- Does your premises have fresh air ventilation;
- Customers and employees will be able to clearly see and understand the steps you are taking to keep them safe;
- Here are some guidelines to get you started.