30 Best Practices and Considerations to Improve Safety in your Restaurant and Drive-Thru During the Pandemic
With the recent flare-ups in COVID-19 cases, Quikserv believes it is a good time to refresh some important practices that restaurants should be following in order to provide a safe environment for their establishment, their customers, and ensure the ongoing success of their operations through this pandemic. This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start to operating your business safely during these truly unpredictable times.
Hygiene and Best Practices
- Mandate wearing masks for employees and customers alike when they are not eating or drinking.
- Provide sanitizer at the entrance to your building for employees and customers to clean their hands when they enter the establishment.
- All employees should be required to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Employees should also avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with gloves or unwashed hands. If employees feel sick, have tested positive for COVID-19, are showing symptoms for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19, they should be encouraged to stay at home. Your local health officials should always be notified if any employees test positive for COVID-19.
- Encourage employees to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after a cough or sneeze has occurred.
- Gloves should be worn by employees when they are removing the garbage or handling / disposing of trash, handling used or dirty food service items, or cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Hands should be washed after removing these gloves as well.
- Ensure your business has adequate cleaning supplies on hand including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, and masks.
- Incorporate the use of no-touch foot pedal entrance doors and trash cans.
- Regularly disinfect the surfaces in common areas where there is high customer traffic including entrance doors, bathroom doors, cash registers, sink handles, your handle for the drive-thru window (if you don’t have a contactless system), bathroom stalls, payment terminals, tables, receipt trays and condiment holders.
- Establish a disinfectant routine and train staff on the proper timing, frequency and procedures to ensure all areas are properly cleaned. A schedule should be developed to ensure routine cleaning is completed.
- Ensure that cleaning and disinfectant products are not left on table surfaces as the residue could cause allergic reactions, or cause someone to ingest the chemicals.
- Ensure that you are using products that meet the EPA disinfection criteria.
- Conduct daily health checks for employees.
- Limit on-site dining to outdoor seating and/or reduce seating capacity to allow seating at least 6 feet / 2m apart. Where feasible, ventilate and increase the circulation of outdoor air as much as possible.
- Encourage reservations for customers to limit walk-ins and help to better manage the limited seating capacity inside your establishment.
- For dine-in customers, encourage customers to order ahead of time to limit the amount of time physically spent in your restaurant.
- Encourage and promote contactless forms of service for customers including the drive-thru, curbside pickup, delivery services and walk-up windows for take-out orders.
- Do not offer self-serve food, drink or condiment stations, so as to avoid the number of surfaces and items your employees have to clean.
- Communicate all the safety protocols you are practicing at your restaurant to ensure customers feel safe in your establishment. Customers are looking for restaurants that communicate the safety precautions they are exercising to protect employees and its customers, especially when not all restaurants and establishments are following suit. These protocols should be mounted at the entrances to the restaurant, restrooms, the drive-thru window and / or pick-up window, your website, social media pages, SMS, email or other push notifications.
- Minimize the sharing of reusable items such as menus, condiments, buzzers or other food containers. Provide a QR code on the table for customers to view your menu online and provide condiments as requested, ensuring the containers are properly cleaned between uses.
- To provide no contact food delivery, leave the food at the door and send a text message to notify the customer or knock on the door then step away 6 ft.
- Minimize close contact and keep 6 feet / 2m distance between customers and between employees and customers. This includes within the restaurant and any points where customers are served. If feasible, you may want to change your floorplan to encourage appropriate spacing between customers.
- Where feasible, clearly mark the restaurant for one-way travel flow with arrows on the floor and provide a separate entrance and exit door to better manage customer traffic and effective social distancing.
- Include a vinyl or clear barrier at the customer service and a COVID-19 panel over your drive-thru window to limit exposure between the customer and employees. Quikserv offers automatic ‘contactless’ drive-thru windows and manual open / self-closing windows with a COVID-19 panel built in to help with these initiatives.
- Incorporate an air curtain at your drive-thru to provide an invisible barrier that will limit the airborne transmission of the virus.
- Where possible, encourage forms of contactless service by maximizing ordering and payment through an app, online, phone or food delivery services. Encourage touchless forms of payment such as tap payment via credit card, and avoid the use of cash where possible.
- Include a shelf on the exterior of your drive-thru window or pick-up window to provide contactless delivery of food. Quikserv has a variety of shelf sizes available.
- Use a transaction drawer and/or combination unit to prevent direct contact when exchanging goods or food for payment.
- Encourage employees to use transit options that minimize close contact with others.
- Collect contact information from one customer of each dine-in party and keep on file for 30 days, solely for the purpose of contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak or positive test.
During such a difficult time for both restaurants and consumers, it’s crucial that all parties involved do their absolute best to ensure that these protocols are followed. The more seriously that everyone can take these protocols and their importance for minimizing the spread of COVID-19, the sooner that we all can get back to your normal lives and beat back the spread of this virus.
For the most up to date best practices and considerations for restaurants and bars, visit the CDC website. Please also check to ensure you are compliant with your local, state or tribe officials for best practices and regulations .
Quikserv is the #1 choice for all security and transaction systems including a full range of low contact solutions to help restaurants better serve their customers safely. Click here to see our full line of transaction systems and solutions to help keep your restaurant safe during this pandemic or contact our sales team at 1.800.388.8307 to learn more.
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