The novel coronavirus pandemic has had an immense impact on the restaurant industry. One thing is clear - restaurants need to be prepared for a new standard of cleanliness.
So how can restaurant owners and managers establish a culture that reinforces the role of cleanliness? It requires businesses to overhaul cleaning procedures, conduct thorough training and implement new employee-centric policies.
Cleaning the Right Way
There are several considerations that owners and managers must take when establishing new cleaning procedures, including:
Frequency – Enhanced cleaning and disinfection, in both frontof-house (FOH) and back-ofhouse (BOH) areas, will reduce the spread of potentially harmful germs throughout the restaurant. Determine the right frequency depending on the size and set-up, the foot traffic and other key factors. To maintain productivity without compromising performance, look for a disinfectant that has a short contact time.
Thoroughness – Provide employees with a one-step disinfectant cleaner that is safe on people and surfaces, but tough on pathogens. Look for disinfectants that are approved by the United States EPA, FDA and CDC for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus. For food contact surfaces, you can instruct employees to use a disinfectant cleaner for added assurance, but they must rinse the surface afterwards and then apply a norinse sanitiser.
Cleaning beyond high-touch surfaces is crucial. In addition to using approved chemicals, restaurants must be thorough in how they maintain cleaning tools. For example, while microfiber cloths can remove up to 99.9% of bacteria, they can also spread germs to surfaces if they’re reused too often without laundering.
Accountability – Confirming compliance with new policies and procedures is just as important as cleaning regularly and diligently. Methods for keeping employees on track include: creating a cleaning schedule for staff members to complete throughout the day that managers review; having leadership conduct random FOH and BOH cleanliness checks, and setting a reminder every 30 minutes to remind everyone to perform hand hygiene.
Teaching Core Values and Processes
One of the most effective ways that restaurants can make a positive cultural shift is by investing in employee training. Training both seasoned workers and new employees helps everyone learn your restaurant’s core values (such as cleanliness, health and safety), understand the expectations and access expert content along with best practices.
A cloud-based e-learning platform can improve knowledge, skills and performance. Training topics should include infection prevention, food safety and personal hygiene. When employees understand the “why” behind hand hygiene, social distancing measures and proper cleaning, it minimizes the risk of lapses in cleanliness.
Reviewing Problematic Policies
To combat turnover, restaurants need to cultivate a culture that makes employees want to stay longterm. Identify policies that hinder fulfilment, growth and well-being. While the industry faces thin margins and paid sick leave is often not an option, there are other ways to make workers feel cared for and valued. Encourage a positive environment that energizes staff using words of affirmation, an incentive program or team-building exercises. They’ll be more likely to follow rules around cleanliness, health and safety when they enjoy their work.
Serving up Cleanliness
With many restaurants still struggling to maintain momentum while facing financial hurdles, it’s important for business owners to understand where to invest their funds now to support their longterm survival. Taking the time to reassess the corporate culture and educate employees about the role of cleanliness is an important first step.
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