For the first time in seven months, Gallery by Chele is finally reopening its doors for dine-in services on Oct. 1. How will they live up to the new dining code? Can the dining experience be preserved on top of existing health and safety protocols?

“Quarantine was never an excuse to stop dreaming,” says chef Chele Gonzalez. “The process of research and development never stopped. We played with new ideas, deconstructed old ones and [added] inspiration from the best local sustainable producers.”

Despite the operational challenges brought by quarantine, they were able to launch a takeaway and delivery menu service as part of their private dining experience. Now that they’re easing their way back into in-house dining, the health and safety of customers have become an even more important priority.

“We know that our guests want that feeling of normalcy. Our challenge now is how to seamlessly weave our dining experience with the necessary health and safety protocols,” says restaurant manager Anne Bestoso.

Aside from adhering to the government’s existing guidelines, Gallery by Chele decided to take their safety practices up a notch. Their front of house and back of house staff are provided their own sanitation area to be used when there’s any form of contact with diners and are required to wash their hands every hour, besides using sanitizers and alcohol.

Meanwhile, guests are encouraged to reserve a table before even coming to the restaurant and will be asked to fill out a health declaration form. A personal sanitation kit, which includes masks and sanitizers, will also be provided. QR code menus are available as well as contactless payment options. All utensils and plates by the diner will undergo proper sanitation procedures before placing them in a cutlery UV box in the main dining area. 

The restaurant itself will have floor directional signs, automatic soap and sanitizer dispensers and one-meter distanced tables, among others. High risk contact surfaces will be sanitized every 30 minutes while deep and thorough cleaning of all areas in the restaurant will be done once a week. Even their suppliers are required to log in and encode proper details as well as undergo necessary sanitation procedures when delivering goods (they can only be accommodated in the lobby).

At the end of the day, Gonzalez wants his team to have a firm grasp of the core values of hospitality and quality service while they do their part in industry recovery. “Now, we feel more self-assured. We know who we are as a restaurant, what is important to us and our guests and how we can make dining at Gallery by Chele not only a memorable experience but a safe one as well,” he says.

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