Your updated health and safety practices are only as good as the efforts of employees carrying them out. Now that protective equipment like gloves and masks have become the norm in restaurants, make sure your employees aren’t just wearing these items but are using them properly. This New York Times report about the new experience of dining out scrutinized some employee behaviors that didn’t reflect their parent company’s COVID-19 practices – such as a server not wearing gloves when delivering food to guests and another wearing a face mask below her nose. Does your training address how to place face masks and how they should fit on a person’s face? Does it detail who must wear gloves, when they must be worn and changed, and what your team must do when changing gloves to ensure they don’t contaminate food or surfaces around your establishment? Make sure your team is prepared to walk your talk when it comes to protecting safety.
It can be easy to get caught up in the new bells and whistles that may protect the safety of your restaurant and improve guests’ perception of your safety practices in the months ahead. But you can take some comfort in focusing on the key food safety practices you had been following – plus ensuring your employees wear a mask. A recent survey of 1,000 adults by the International Food Information Council Foundation found that of the food safety actions businesses can take right now, consumers view the wearing of protective equipment, frequent cleaning, the wearing of gloves while working, and the availability of sanitizers or wipes as the most important. While top responses were consistent from April to May, having employees wear masks while working jumped to the top of the list in May – at 36 percent. It sends an extra signal to guests that you value their safety.