6 Tips To Prepare Food Service Areas For Post-Pandemic Challenges
As the world continues to re-emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, restaurants must prepare for the increase in foot traffic and cleanliness expectations while also addressing hiring challenges. To help restaurants prepare for lifted restrictions and labor shortages, Cintas Corporation offers six essential tips.
“From closures to limited capacity to other restrictions, the restaurant industry remarkably adapted to keep their businesses running during the pandemic,” says John Engel, director of marketing at Cintas. “As restaurants prepare for a return to ‘normal’ this summer, they are faced with new challenges, such as labor shortages, increased demand and maintaining higher levels of cleanliness.”
Top tips to prepare for an increase in patrons include:
1. Laundering items and cleaning tools: Laundering items such as microfiber towels, bar towels, mop heads and uniforms is often a time-consuming process taken on by restaurant owners or managers. Save time and yield better results by outsourcing garments and bulk items that are cleaned through a professional and industrial laundry process.
2. Stocking properly: Restaurant employees need access to cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). Consider installing chemical dispensers that connect directly to the water line and dispense properly diluted chemicals at the touch of a button.
Similarly, restaurant managers and owners may wish to consider investing in disposable sanitizing and disinfecting wipes to help maintain their stock of quick and readily available hand hygiene and hard surface solutions. Having PPE like disposable gloves onsite is also critical for foodservice workers that interact with food and many people each day.
3. Deep cleaning restrooms: A 2018 Harris Poll Survey identified that negative online reviews about restrooms would deter 89 percent of Americans from a restaurant. It’s important that restaurants perform regularly scheduled deep cleaning that includes sanitizing surfaces and removing build-up, soil and bacteria. For example, high-pressure cleaning extracts soil and dirty water to prevent cross-contamination and odor-causing bacteria.
4. Protecting Floors: Many restaurants removed mats and replaced them with floor stickers to serve as reminders for social distancing. As restaurants return to full capacity, they will experience pre-pandemic levels of foot traffic and wear and tear on floors. Mats can help extend the life of floors by keeping dirt and debris from having an abrasive effect. Consider an outsourced mat services provider to remove and replace dirty mats with freshly laundered mats. Laundering your own mats is time consuming and places a strain on your equipment.
5. Maintaining kitchen drain lines: Fats, oils, grease and other kitchen food waste accumulate in drain lines over time. This can cause foul odors and clogs that require time-consuming pump-outs. Maintaining kitchen drain lines can help keep liquids flowing freely.
6. Installing touchless soap, sanitizer and paper towel dispensers: Consider installing touchless dispensers to help avoid spreading germs on high-touch surfaces throughout restaurants. Dispensers without touchless features may harbor more bacteria and viruses. Installing paper towel dispensers to replace air dryers can help avoid spreading germs throughout restrooms, according to reports from USA Today.
“Restaurants may wish to uphold their pandemic cleaning protocols to meet increased cleanliness expectations," says Engel. "Exploring an outsourced model can help restaurant owners save time and allow them to focus on high-priority needs, while also promoting a positive image.