With new daily cases reaching nearly six digits in the U.S., there is no denying that COVID-19 is still a very real threat. When this pandemic first hit in full force, a lot of restaurant owners immediately started to take actions that would help protect their employees. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle.
You also need to focus on how to keep your customers safe as well. After all, it only takes one outbreak to cause long-term damage to your brand’s reputation. Keep your customers happy and healthy by using these five tips.
[COVID-19]’s been a challenge. Just like anything, you've got to adapt, improvise, and overcome. If you're going to stay relevant you've got to continue to do that, and evaluate every day with how things are going, and be able to change - Adam Shorter, Cosmo’s Pizza
1. Pivot to a Delivery and Takeout Model
One of the first things that you can do to help make your restaurant a safe space for customers is to stop or reduce dine-in services. Earlier during the pandemic, some jurisdictions mandated that restaurants close their dining rooms. However, many states have eased up on these restrictions and now allow restaurants to operate their dining rooms at a reduced capacity.
To be even safer, you can completely close your dining area. Plus, by not offering your dine-in services, you eliminate the need for any wait staff, dishwashing services, or other similar positions. So you’re saving money while also maintaining a safer environment for your pick-up customers.
2. Have Customers Wait Outside for Their Orders
Speaking of customers picking up their food, try adjusting the way you handle takeout orders. Instead of allowing them to enter the restaurant and getting their food from the front counter, enforce a policy where customers wait for their orders outside. This eliminates the need for them to touch door handles, or be in a closed environment where it is easier for viruses to spread.
Establish a curbside pickup program with the following steps:
- Inform customers of your policy change (through your website banners, emails, physical signs at the location, etc.).
- Tell customers not to arrive at the store until five minutes before their quoted order time.
- Have a number that they can call and/or text when they arrive.
- Have a masked and gloved staff member walk to the front entrance with the packaged order and hand it over to the customer standing at the door.
3. Install Barriers Between Employees and Customers
While social distancing is essential during this pandemic, it needs to be paired with other methods like establishing barriers between customers and your staff. The most effective way to do this is to install some type of transparent partition (usually made of plexiglass or plastic).
This allows the customer and your staff to maintain eye contact and have a friendly interaction while preventing germs from crossing over into the back of the kitchen. If an asymptomatic customer enters your restaurant, clear barriers will help to restrict the virus to the partition, helping to save your staff and preventing them from infecting other customers.
4. Take Employee Temperatures Before Every Shift
Asking employees who feel at all sick to stay home can go a long way in protecting your restaurant and all of your customers. But that doesn’t account for someone who is asymptomatic or is only just starting to feel some minor health effects from COVID-19.
That’s why you need to go a step further by putting every employee through a temperature check. By using an infrared thermometer, you can quickly scan staff as they arrive at work to see if anyone is abnormally warm, which has been shown to be a common symptom of coronavirus. You can also give thermometers to staff that they can use before they arrive at work and then log the result to prevent asymptomatic staff from entering the restaurant in the first place.
5. Switch to Contactless Delivery
It isn’t just customers at your restaurant that need protection. You should also be doing your part to help protect the people you deliver to as well. The best way to do this is to start offering contactless delivery to your customers.
Through contactless delivery, your drivers are able to leave the order on the customer’s doorstep and remain a safe distance away until the customer grabs the food. Therefore, there is no need for the customers to come in contact with the driver, which helps to keep everyone safe.
6. Increase Cleaning Frequency
Another key part of keeping COVID-19 at bay is to regularly clean the various equipment and common areas throughout your restaurant. This should involve using disinfectant spray or wipes on card readers after every use. It’s also a good idea to ensure there is plenty of hand sanitizer readily available by the entrance for customers to use both upon entry and exit.
Through pivoting your operations and engaging in frequent testing, barrier installations, and other preventative measures, you should be able to adequately protect both your customers and your restaurant’s reputation during this pandemic. To find out more about how COVID-19 is impacting pizza restaurants, make sure to subscribe to our blog.
Posted on Mon, Nov 09, 2020 @ 08:11 AM.
Updated on January 18, 2021 @ 8:50 PM PST.