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IS YOUR RESTAURANT READY TO WELCOME GUESTS? - BY: PETER TESKA, GLOBAL INFECTION PREVENTION APPLICATION EXPERT, DIVERSEY

In many countries, restaurants were among the first to feel the impact of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Bookings disappeared almost overnight, followed by long imposed periods of closure and staff inactivity. The onset of Coronavirus hasnt diminished the hard work you have put into your business, but the subsequent rapid change of circumstances and focus mean that you are in effect at ground zero. Putting effective cleaning procedures in place is crucial to reaffirming your reputation when reopening, and for your future success.

IS YOUR RESTAURANT READY TO WELCOME GUESTS? - BY: PETER TESKA, GLOBAL INFECTION PREVENTION APPLICATION EXPERT, DIVERSEY

In many countries, restaurants were among the first to feel the impact of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Bookings disappeared almost overnight, followed by long imposed periods of closure and staff inactivity. The onset of Coronavirus hasnt diminished the hard work you have put into your business, but the subsequent rapid change of circumstances and focus mean that you are in effect at ground zero. Putting effective cleaning procedures in place is crucial to reaffirming your reputation when reopening, and for your future success.

Category: Europe - Trends / Expert's advice
This is a press release, published for free on 2020-07-07
Posted by Diversey


New Expectations around Cleanliness

There are few sectors prior to the pandemic in which hygiene has been of such a high priority. Thankfully, the food service industry is well-versed in the necessity for cleanliness in both front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) areas. Yet guests’ sensitivity to hygiene standards was previously based primarily on appearance. The presence of Coronavirus requires you to conform to unparalleled and explicit new levels of cleanliness. With this heightened expectation of hygiene, both guests and staff will want to know - and to confirm with their own eyes - what you are doing to ensure health and safety.

Before you focus on enhanced cleaning, create a clear plan based on a feasible reopening date. Having gone through a disruptive period of high uncertainty – and with much uncertainty still to come – this enables you to assess risks and measure daily progress. It also helps to raise team spirit by creating a mutual goal among staff and allows everyone to work backwards from the intended opening date to determine how quickly other tasks need to be completed.
Aim to have everything completed to your satisfaction by this date, but shift it if necessary as you progress. In the new normal of hyper-vigilance, first impressions are critical as you seek to rebuild previous levels of customer confidence. Anything less than best public health practice creates another obstacle to survival when you already face many more.

Best Practices for your Business
Ready your restaurant for reopening by implementing the following strategies:
  • Implement Social Distancing: Understanding the requirements of social distancing laid down by governments and health authorities is essential. Social distancing defines the constraints for everyone in your restaurant. With strict limits on the number of guests, evaluating the layout of your restaurant and clearly defining entrance and exit routes is essential for safe movement. Instruct staff in procedures. Emphasise that social distancing applies everywhere and will change only with new guidance from applicable authorities.
     
  • Require Face Coverings: Because maintaining social distancing from other staff and guests will not be possible continuously, as a general guideline face coverings (i.e. masks) may be required for use by staff. However, application of this advice depends on whether the practice is recommended by local government legislation which takes precedent. If face coverings are a local requirement, then please instruct staff in how to use masks and when to change them.
     
  • Use Training and Communication to your Advantage: Training on all new public health practices is important, especially for employees whose duties have not involved cleaning before. Develop cleaning kits that combine essential products ensuring ease of use, prevention and best practice. Then, clearly outline to staff and customers the measures you are taking to protect them, and that you are using recommended and safe products. Establish an emergency protocol, as the pervasiveness of Coronavirus means that workers may test positive.
     
  • Prioritize Hand Hygiene: Hands are the main route for personal infection and the spread of pathogens. Thus, regular hand washing procedures and use of registered hand sanitizer are central to limiting exposure. Ensure access to wall-mounted dispensers and free-standing hand hygiene stations offering alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
     
  • The percentage of alcohol in hand sanitizer is key to its effectiveness. Many products have rushed to market on the back of the pandemic that should be treated with caution. An existing registered product that also includes a virucidal claim will provide assurance, as will the use of sanitizers that have more than 70% alcohol content to ensure a faster kill rate.
     
  • Select the Right Chemicals for Added Assurance: Preferably use registered disinfectants with a virucidal claim, having proven efficacy against Corona type viruses. The shorter the contact time - one minute or less – the better for inactivating the virus. Use technologies like Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP), which are markedly safer for people and surfaces while still being tough on pathogens. These disinfectants are also more efficient than the existing slower Quats-based (quaternary ammonium compounds) products, or those formulated on Hypochlorite or Peracetic acid.
     
  • AHP achieves the balance of maximizing potency while minimizing toxicity. It’s a formulation that will be more pleasant to use as it also breaks down into environmentally friendly water and oxygen just minutes after use.
     
  • Conduct Hand Contact Surface Disinfection: Studies show that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can remain on surfaces for up to several days, including 48 hours on stainless steel and 72 hours on plastic. Routine disinfection of high hand contact surfaces is an important part of preventing the risk of transmission. Commonly touched surfaces should be put on a cleaning schedule to ensure they are disinfected frequently throughout the day.
     
  • Incorporate a disinfectant range that offers numerous applications, including ready-to-use liquids, pre-moistened wipes and concentrates for added convenience and consistency. It may also help if you colour code products, tools and equipment for different cleaning procedures to help prevent cross-contamination and the spread of germs.
     
  • Work with a Trusted Provider: With supply chains struggling to achieve pre-pandemic levels, using multiple suppliers for cleaning essentials can complicate your cleaning program. Being able to rely on a single hygiene partner for everything from chemicals to training improves efficiency.
Don’t make the budget supply option your main criteria and avoid buying ineffective, unproven products from an unfamiliar source online or from your general distributor. Instead, identify a trusted hygiene provider that can offer expert advice and the appropriate products during this critical time.

There is nothing certain in the new normal for the foodservice industry. Nevertheless, by implementing a clear plan and the appropriate cleaning and hygiene measures, you can create the safest restaurant environment possible for your staff and guests while giving yourself the best chance of success in these very difficult times.

*Use biocides safely. Always read the instructions on the label.

Peter Teska is a Global Infection Prevention Application Expert at Diversey, the leader in smart, sustainable solutions for cleaning and hygiene. He is a member of the Diversey Hygiene Academy and can be reached at peter.teska@diversey.com. For more information, visit www.diversey.com.
 

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