When faced with a fast-spreading infectious disease, many industries are turned on their heads and forced to adapt. But perhaps no industry has to react as quickly as foodservice. Such has been the case with COVID-19.
COVID-19 has forced multiple states to place restrictions on restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and some have even instructed restaurants to discontinue dine-in service entirely, leaving drive-thru, takeout, or delivery as their only options.
As the disease forces more businesses to close every day and communities to quarantine, people will continue to rely on their local restaurants for nourishment.
The foodservice industry is no stranger to safety precautions. Activities like handwashing, taking food temperature, and cleansing surfaces are the core components of a food service employee’s routine. But in times of uncertainty like an infectious outbreak, these practices will become more important than ever.
Luckily, having digital food safety and shift management solutions like Squadle in place make it simple to implement last-minute changes to daily checks and safety precautions in order to combat these health emergencies.
Keep your staff, customers, and business safe and healthy, by implementing the following safety measures during an epidemic or viral emergency:
Handwashing is the simplest but most effective way to fend off viruses. Consider increasing handwashing checks to take place several times per hour (even if employees wear gloves while working), and be sure to have a system in place that guarantees employees will adhere. For example, the Squadle system sounds audio and visual alerts from the system tablet to ensure that strict handwashing policies are followed. Updates have been made to sound these alerts more frequently in this time of increased caution.
Take extra care for employees who are working the register and drive-thrus, as health officials have expressed concern that exchanging cash and coming in close contact with others can increase the risk of spread.
Consider making travel paths more frequent so managers can ensure that all surfaces and high-traffic areas remain sanitary. Wipe down countertops, tables, and chairs (even if dine-in service has been suspended), doorknobs (including main entrances if you are offering in-store pickup), railings, and drink dispensers. If your customers are entering the store to pick up orders, ensure that the counters where they grab straws, utensils, napkins, etc., are constantly disinfected. In fact, most stores have done away with any area where customers could self-serve, to remove the risk completely.
If you don’t have a tool like Squadle’s Shift Notes, ensure that shift managers are still able to easily communicate with each other from shift to shift. Concerns that seem small and inconsequential can be the difference between a safe and sanitary restaurant vs one that is forced to close its doors. Make it easy for managers to communicate concerns like:
Another advantage of digital food safety for owners and operators is the ability to check-in and manage all locations remotely, especially as social distancing becomes more important during the emergency. With a digital food safety system like Squadle, owners are able to stay on top of each location and make any necessary spur-of-the-moment decisions backed by data from their actual stores.
The current situation is likely to change every day, and it can feel overwhelming to keep up with all of the updates and news. As long as your restaurant is open for business during these times, staff should be supported with the knowledge and assistance they need to keep the environment safe and healthy.