The coronavirus pandemic has added an extra layer of food safety protocols on an already long list for foodservice operations. We connected with a California ServSafe Specialist about which additional measures health inspectors are looking for when they visit during the pandemic. We always want to provide foodservice operations with the support they need to achieve food safety success. Compare your current processes against this guide to see what you are doing right and where you can improve:
- Social Distancing
Health inspectors will be looking to make sure your tables are properly spaced; markings are on the floor to keep customers distanced in line and that the full party is present before seating. They also encourage using staggered seating times to control the flow of traffic within your restaurant. Essentially, do not allow customers to bunch up or get too close to each other. Additionally, tables are expected to be six feet from all food preparation area, including beverage and server stations. This is where Cambro comes in.
While you can’t move your inside bar, our CamBars are able to go wherever you need them. Maintain distancing between customers and between preparation areas by setting up a CamBar safely away from tables. Customers can order drinks before service and bartenders can safely make cocktails without disrupting the seating at or near the bar.
- Education for the Public
It is your responsibility to make the measures at your operation as clear as a Camwear CamSquare. Don’t assume that customers know what they are supposed to do. ServSafe considers it mandatory to post signage at each of your public entrances informing your customers to maintain six feet of social distance, wash their hands or apply sanitizer upon entry and to stay home if they are ill or have symptoms of Covid-19. Post a copy of your Covid-19 operating protocol somewhere that is visible to your customers and ensure they are wearing a face covering until they’ve been seated.
- Protect Employee Health
Customer protection starts with your employees. Ensure your employees are being protected from becoming sick at work—and that they stay at home if they aren’t feeling well. With or without the coronavirus pandemic, employees should never work at a foodservice operation if they aren’t feeling well but calling out sick still carried a negative sentiment. Now, it is imperative that employees feel supported if they aren’t feeling well. ServSafe states it is mandatory to take employees’ temperatures, conduct a health survey checking for symptoms consistent with Covid-19 before each shift. Face coverings are mandatory for all staff interacting with the public. Not only should the surfaces customers come in contact with be cleaned frequently, so should those that pertain to employees. Ensure employee restrooms and breakrooms are disinfected consistently. We’ve all heard it a million times at this point: wash your hands. Make it easy for employees to wash their hands frequently no matter where they are located within your operation. For example, Chick-fil-A uses Cambro Handwash Stations to make handwashing available to employees serving customers outside in the drive-thru.
- Measures to Increase Sanitation and Disinfection
When in doubt, sanitize! Health inspectors will be looking at which kind of menus you are offering and what is happening to them. Ensure plastic menus are disinfected and paper menus are discarded after customer use. We suggest looking into the option of posting QR codes in lieu of physical menus to increase hygiene and sustainability while saving employees from having to waste time sanitizing menus. Inspectors will also have an extra special interest in your utensil, glassware and dishware warewashing. Instruct employees to properly wash, rinse and sanitize items with a product effective against coronavirus for an adequate amount of time. Employees should also clean and disinfect high contact touchpoints, like door handles and credit card terminals, frequently. ServSafe states that takeout stations are a must. Designate a table or shelving unit, like our Camshelving Premium Series Flex Station, to eliminate person-to-person contact during pickup.
BONUS: Recommended Safety Measures
ServSafe suggests implementing these additional protocols to better your business and get a few extra points with your health inspector:
- Provide disinfection wipes or hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) to customers
- Install hands-free soap and towel dispensers
- Implement a payment system that doesn’t require person-to-person contact
- Utilize a reservation system to prevent people from gathering and promote social distancing
- Offer additional outdoor seating that has been approved by your local jurisdiction
We’re living in weird times, but foodservice professionals have never let a challenge stop them from achieving success. Enact these protocols to keep your employees, customers and health inspector happy and healthy. Need more guidance? Click here to contact your Cambro rep today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.