Checklist: Prepare to Welcome Guests After COVID-19

Checklist: Prepare to Welcome Guests After COVID-19

We’re all in need of some good news. New cases of COVID-19 are starting to decrease, which means your team can start thinking about opening doors to guests. Though businesses will reopen, it’s important to acknowledge that they’ll look dramatically different than they did before COVID-19. Customers will likely be wary of public spaces and have a higher demand for proper hygiene and food safety measures. Ensure you’re meeting these requirements by thinking about the suggestions below. If you want a PDF version of this list to print out or share, you can download it here.

1. Implement Social Distancing

Social distancing measures will still be in place long after businesses have the green light to reopen, so start thinking about what that may look like in your restaurant. Will you need to reduce the amount of seating in your dining room? Does it make sense to implement a reservation-only policy? Is there anything you can do to show your customers that your kitchen staff is also practicing proper protocols?

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Photo by PathSpot

2. Retrain your Staff

Properly train your staff about the new norms of your establishment. Go over proper handwashing techniques, outline social distancing rules, and hang up resources they can reference whenever they need to.

3. Level up your Food Safety & Hygiene

When businesses are able to reopen dine-in services, customer expectations for food safety and hand hygiene will be elevated. You can implement obvious and effective hygiene measures to reassure customers that it’s safe to return to your restaurant. Tools and technology like the PathSpot hand scanner can effectively signal to your customers where your priorities lie. This device tracks and monitors hand washing frequency and effectiveness to detect harmful contaminants. By using the scanner, you’ll be able to confidently serve your guests, knowing your team’s hands are contaminant-free and safe to handle food. It’s going to be more important than ever before that you’re doing everything you can to ensure the safety of your staff and customers.

Are you interested in learning how PathSpot can help you prepare for reopening? Contact us here.

Photo by PathSpot

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

4. Update your Menu

When cutting costs, make sure to factor in your menu. Consider trimming down your menu to focus on fan favorites with high margins.

5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communicating your efforts with your guests is going to be a crucial step to prepare for your reopening. Take the time to update your customers on your reopening date and hours of operations, and explain that you’ll (probably) be taking baby steps to get back to business as usual. More importantly, show your customers you’re meeting proper hygiene standards through visual cues, conversations and marketing channels. For example, PathSpot partners use “My hands are clean” pins to show guests they’re using technology to guarantee proper handwashing.

Photo by PathSpot

We’re thinking about you during these incredibly heavy times, but we will all get through this together. As going back to work becomes more and more tangible, it’s important that you plan for a different dining experience than you’ve been used to. Let us help you with that.

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Help Your Local Restaurants Survive the Coronavirus Crisis

Help Your Local Restaurants Survive the Coronavirus Crisis

What’s Happening to the Food Industry

While every industry is feeling the economic strain created by COVID-19, the restaurant industry is particularly vulnerable to this swift economic downturn. As one of the few Industries where small independent operators account for the majority of jobs (70%), there are few institutional protections to fall back on. Experts estimate that up to half of the 15 million American restaurant workers will lose their jobs and seek unemployment within the next three months, a loss of employment that will have ripple effects far beyond the food industry.

Dine-in Closures Mandated by State in Reaction to COVID-19.png

So far 49 of 50 states have imposed formal restrictions on dine-in services, forcing these groups to subsist on take-out and delivery. However, take-out and delivery are not enough to keep them afloat. Bo Peabody, restaurant owner and Seated co-founder, explains: “During normal times, delivery and pickup is a nice supplement … It could be 5, or 10, or 15 percent of revenue, but when dine-in goes away, it’s probably better to let everybody go on unemployment.” And that’s exactly what the hardest hit restaurants are doing as owners find it increasingly hard to justify the health risks for such low returns.

Larger and larger numbers of chefs like Jose Andres or David Chang are speaking out publicly about the existential threat the food industry faces and are calling for support from all corners.  That means you.

What You Need to Know

Is it safe to order food?

The short answer is yes. The CDC, FDA and WHO emphasize that there is no evidence to support that there is any meaningful spread of coronavirus through food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is primarily spread through inhaling respiratory droplets, the vast majority of receptors of the virus are found in your lungs and not your digestive tract. In fact, you are probably safer ordering food that has been cooked following food code standards and delivered to you than you are going to the supermarket. If you need to be further convinced on the value of social distancing, check out these helpful graphic from the Washington Post

Safety steps you can take:

Just because it’s safe, doesn’t mean there aren’t precautionary steps you should take to avoid the risk of transmission from the delivery person or from a contaminated surface on your food packaging. When ordering food:

  • Use contactless delivery

  • Leave the outermost packaging (bag) outside of your house to be recycled or discarded later

  • Wash your hands before opening containers of food

  • Transfer all your food to your own plates and use your own utensils

  • Recycle or discard packaging

  • Wash your hands again before eating

How Else Can You Help?

It is important to support restaurants in their time of need and continuing to order takeout and delivery is an important step to take. Participate in events like #theGreatAmericanTakeout and try and order more if you can. Several restaurants are offering cheaper deals during this time, so take advantage. As we mentioned earlier though, it is very unlikely that your favorite independent operators can survive on delivery alone. In order to further support the restaurants you love:

  • Tip generously. As cookbook author, Genevieve Ko, puts it: “give whatever you can above the standard 20%.”

  • Donate to these relief funds that have been set up to support food workers in their time of need.

  • Call for government action by calling your representative and signing this petition. Tell them to support the food industry and that the big chains represent only a third of that industry.

If you need a reminder of why you’re doing this, just order from your favorite restaurant and read this article about restaurant workers feeding hospital workers in this time of need and see how it makes you feel.

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COVID-19 Food Safety Updates for Restaurants

COVID-19 Food Safety Updates for Restaurants

To Our Foodservice Friends, We’re Here For You.

We know these are uncertain times as many teams (big and small) are forced to make heartwrenching decisions in order to weather this storm. During this time, we want to emphasize our unwavering support for you and your teams. We will be sharing this list of restaurant relief funds with our network, encouraging everyone who can to donate. We are proud to work in this industry where, even in tough times, restaurants continue to go above and beyond to support their communities.

Sharing Insights – Food Safety is Still in Our Hands

We know to limit the spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to handwash effectively. We’ve collected data from scanning millions of hands, and the data shows common “hot spots” or areas that are frequently missed. Remind your employees to scrub under their fingernails, remove jewelry before working, and be mindful of these commonly missed spots! Want a free version of the below sign? Download a copy here.

Restaurant Dine-in Closures: The Transition to Delivery & Take-out

As of March 19th, most states have mandated the closure of all restaurant dine-in options. Our map below shows the most recent updates from each state. Nation’s Restaurant News reported that visits to QSR are up 11% nationally since the coronavirus outbreak. The closures are calling for dine-in restaurants to pivot to a similar model, employing delivery, curbside pickup, and take-out to drive business until dine-in options can resume.

Toast: How to Manage Your Restaurant During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Combating Customer Fear

Restaurant customers are more conscious of food safety practices than ever and have an increased level of fear surrounding food options. It’s critical to get the word out to customers that food safety is a top priority, especially during this time. Whether it be including messaging in your take-out packaging or publicizing your food safey technology on social media, communicating with customers will help build trust.

QSR Magazine: Coronavirus Crisis Communications for Restaurants: A Checklist

We Want to Help

  • For any PathSpot partners that must close all operations, we will pause billing during this time.

  • We’re working with our partners to communicate their commitment to hand hygiene to their customers, including sending “My Hands Are Clean” pins for delivery employees and window decals to highlight handwashing verified with PathSpot.

  • We want to share what we’ve learned from analyzing millions of handwashes with real-time detection – download the Hot Spots sign for your location(s).

Please let us know what else we can do to support you!

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