Dining in the New Normal

The Food and Beverage industry is one of most severely affected by COVID-19. Scores of people eating, drinking, and talking in close proximity turn any restaurant meal into a potential super-spreader event. In response, almost all F&B facilities restricted operations to take-away only -- or shut down entirely.
As societies ease into the New Normal, restaurants are opening up to in-house dining -- though under strict guidelines. The challenging task facing F&B operators is to give their guests a pleasant dining experience while guaranteeing their safety. Here are some basic procedures all F&B outlets must implement for a successful reopening:

Check temperatures of guests and staff

The most common COVID-19 is fever, so all guests should be checked upon entry, and staff at least once per shift.

Touchless menu

The table menu is the most-handled item in a restaurant besides the silverware. But, unlike forks and knives, menus are never disinfected between customers. The technical solution is to place a card with the restaurant’s QR code at each table and at reception, so guests can scan the card and view the menu on their digital device. This has the added value of eliminating waiting for menus to be delivered to the table, and allows regular updating of menu options.

Table separation

Health authorities have issued guidelines for table separations and permitted capacity, but some guests might prefer even greater distancing. One compromise is to place physical barriers between tables, which has the added benefit of enhancing privacy.

Enhanced cleaning cycles

A simple table wipe down between customers is not sufficient in the New Normal. Restaurants now need to clean and disinfect tabletops, chairs and all other surfaces between sittings. This should be done in full view of the waiting customers -- with a bit of theatrical flourish, as well.

Visible clear cleaning and safety measure procedures

Customers are also concerned about what happens out of their sight, especially in food preparation areas. Restaurants should display posters, show on in-house video screens, and include in online menus the hygiene and safety procedures implemented in non-public areas.

Balancing guest satisfaction and guest safety in the New Normal is a daunting task for hotels and restaurants. For more advice on how to survive and flourish during the current situation, please contact michelle@loyalguest.com

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