If you work in the food service industry, you know that the safety of your food handling practices is paramount to keeping your customers healthy and coming back. Adding Covid-19 to the equation should cause you to double down on those practices. Here are 6 ways to limit coronavirus in the food service industry.
1. Visibly Notify Employees and Customers of Procedures
Your first step in keeping your guests safe is empowering your employees with knowledge. If necessary, rework your current safety protocols and be sure to inform all stakeholders of the new measures being taken. Let your customers know that you are taking this seriously and show them what you are doing to protect them.
Post signs in highly visible locations that teach and reinforce the ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Anywhere there could be human contact or there is an opportunity to educate vendors, employees and customers is an opportunity to promote the safety protocols. If you don’t have any posters to hang, the CDC developed some designs for you here.
2. Make Sure That Customers Are Not Sick
Many businesses are focusing so much on how to limit exposure to their employees, but customers themselves are also a threat. Encourage customers to wash hands, wear masks and make sure that they haven’t been exposed before coming in.
If you truly want to take this seriously, utilize infrared thermometers prior to letting them enter. For larger businesses with high customer volume, like grocery stores or general merchandise retailers, consider adding thermal imaging technology. Companies like ObservantIQ utilize heat sensor technology to visually identify customers who may be hotter than 98.6 degrees.
3. Wash Hands, Wear Masks and Socially Distance
The same rules that were established at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak still apply. Make sure that your employees are regularly washing their hands and mandate that all persons within the building should wear masks at all times. If you manage a restaurant or have designated eating areas, make sure that the tables are arranged to abide by social distancing practices. Spread out shopping and checkout aisles to keep people as close to 6 feet apart as possible.
4. Revisit Your Employee Sick Policy
If employees have symptoms related to COVID–19, they should stay home for at least 7 symptom-free days. It is understood that this policy could cause operational and human resources-based issues, however, it is the best way to keep your employees and customers safe. You wouldn’t want a customer with symptoms to come into your restaurant and interact with others. The same goes for employees.
5. Reduce Contact When Possible
The food service industry demands both the handling of food, and in-person interactions. In order to maintain normalcy during customer-employee service, ensure your employees are following the established sanitization and safety policies. Properly sanitize yourself and the work areas. Wear gloves when possible. Frequently clean high-traffic areas, including door handles. Keep your work stations clean and sanitized.
While this may seem like a tall order, there are ways to simplify the process. Consider electrostatic disinfection to clean your facility surfaces. It has become a popular choice for many facility managers and one that Central Florida Store Services, as well as the EPA, fully endorses.
6. Pay Attention to How Your Food is Stored and Shipped to You
Natural water supplies and food themselves do not pose a risk to spreading the coronavirus. However, storage containers, packaging, and other peripheral elements can harbor contaminants. Be careful about who you work with and what protective measures they are taking to prevent the spread of the disease.
Need a High-Level Sanitation Strategy?
As an operations manager or business owner, you don’t always have the time to build out and execute meticulous facility plans. For nearly 20 years, Central Florida Store Services has been providing facility maintenance, HVAC, refrigeration and general contracting services for the Florida market. We take care of the leg work, so you don’t have to.