Operator's Edge | How Restaurants Have Adjusted – and Continue to Adjust – to the New Normal
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How Restaurants Have Adjusted – and Continue to Adjust – to the New Normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the restaurant and foodservice industry, and not only in terms of having to pivot to takeout and delivery service. Evolving sanitation demands, as well as dormant dining rooms and even dormant kitchens, have given operators more challenges than ever before. Protecting their brand’s reputation while delighting their guests and optimizing operations has never been more of a juggling act, but thankfully, there are helpful partners that operators can work with to keep things moving forward.

In terms of cleanliness, customer expectations have never been higher—based on an Ecolab post-COVID-19 vaccine consumer research study, 95% of consumers want to see as much or more cleaning and sanitation practices after the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed. Here’s how operators have been adapting to this call for a higher level of cleanliness—and how their operations will continue to change as dining rooms open back up on a wider scale.

Visible markers of cleaning and sanitation

According to Measure Protocol, 86% of consumers say that visible evidence of cleanliness is most important to feeling safe. With this in mind, operators are paying special attention to ensuring consumers can see what’s being done —and they will continue doing so going forward. This includes visual markers such as cleaning timetables and signage indicating new cleaning procedures; even something as simple as seeing staff members cleaning surfaces and other areas in the restaurant or hand sanitizer stations located throughout the restaurant can make a difference. In short, it is critically important for restaurants to show that they are clean so that guests can trust restaurants are proactively doing their part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Using the right products now and in the future

Reducing food safety concerns and public health risks is an important aspect of running a successful restaurant any time, but especially so during the pandemic. The focus has shifted to visibly cleaning areas of the restaurant that customers see most—the front of the house—but visibility isn’t enough; operators need to make sure they’re using quality, effective products to do so.

Managing changing dining challenges

Visible cleanliness is of course important, but another aspect of the pandemic that has caused a shift in procedure is changing dining trends. Previously, operators may have only focused on indoor dining—now, more restaurants are offering outdoor dining services and need to consider the impact of more outdoor dining areas on their pest risk. Less human activity in restaurants, in general, has caused pests to seek food and water more visibly, which presents risks that can have potential long-term damage to a restaurant’s brand.

Measures that were taken in the past to prevent pest risk will need to be redefined to help ensure all bases are covered. Solutions such as the Rodent Ceiling Service—which proactively eliminates rodent activity within hard-to-access ceiling areas—and the Cockroach Multi-Station, a best-in-class monitor that provides early detection and ongoing defense against German Cockroaches, are designed to give restaurateurs the peace of mind and safety they need in these challenging times. By monitoring pest behavior both indoors and out, restaurants can be confident their establishments are pest-free.

Source: Excerpts; Restaurant Business