Customers haven’t been eating out since quarantine began but according to a Nielsen survey, the eating habits of Filipinos when it comes to takeout, delivery, at-home eating and even dining out aren’t likely to change even after isolation measures are eased. This could mean that restaurants that suffered losses during lockdown have a chance to win back customers as community quarantines loosen up.
Just this week, the government has approved dine-in operations of establishments in areas under modified general community quarantine, with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) releasing a set of guidelines to follow. As restaurants prepare for reopening, conversation turns to new hiring trends in response to the public health crisis. Here are three that the foodservice industry may see more to make customers feel at home in the new normal.
Having someone check temperatures of people entering an establishment is one measure that a business can take, alongside the provision of personal protective equipment and social distancing, to curb the spread of illnesses. This applies not only to customers but to employees as well. Temperature screeners should ideally be a medical officer or nurse, but other employees can be eligible as long as they are properly trained and provided with hazard pay or other additional compensation. The person should be willing and able to perform necessary tasks and should also be informed of the possible risks of virus transmission. Training for temperature screeners should be done by a medical professional and will cover how to properly conduct temperature checks, use and disposal of personal protective equipment and professionalism in terms of information confidentiality.
According to a survey conducted by Datassential, customers value cleanliness now more than just food. Results showed that when choosing a restaurant, 45 percent of respondents consider cleanliness and sanitation as their top priority while 36 percent favored delicious food.
Training for temperature screeners should be done by a medical professional and will cover how to properly conduct temperature checks, use and disposal of personal protective equipment and professionalism in terms of information confidentiality.
One way to safeguard potential customers is to hire sanitation specialists. These workers are trained to disinfect high-traffic, high-contact areas, especially dining tables. They are responsible for notifying customers that the dining area has been thoroughly cleaned every time guests leave. In the US, Denny’s Corp. has started hiring sanitation specialists to complement its current restaurant crew. These specialists will be in charge of cleaning frequently touched surfaces with a two-step clean-and-disinfect procedure.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AMBASSADORS
Aside from servers and crews, restaurants should also consider employing staff for customer flow and traffic control and make sure that social distancing is practiced within the establishment. These social distancing ambassadors will check if customers are maintaining the right distance—about one meter away from each other according to DTI—and adhere to guidelines and protocols between tables, at order counters, and also those waiting in line. Some local shopping centers like Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, have already employed people specifically to make sure that people follow distancing protocols.
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