24.11.2020

Ways to Help Keep Your Kitchen and Venue COVID-Secure

Written by Kadence Edmonds

euan cameron busy restaurant dark seated diners

The hospitality industry was turned upside down when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit earlier this year. The impact was felt far and wide, and its legacy will endure for some time. That is why it is essential to ensure that your restaurant - and most of all, your kitchen - remains COVID safe. 

At the start of the year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown that could last until next month. There are strict limitations in place, so restaurants and other establishments will be severely impacted.

With restrictions increasing across the UK and other countries, it is time to do all you can to protect your employees and customers. As you transition to takeaway and delivery, review your restaurant's workflow to ensure all meals are served safely.

Check all staff when they arrive

The Coronavirus can spread quickly and is not always easy to notice. Your staff can pass the virus among each other, eventually disrupting your business and worse, affecting your customers.

Before each employee clocks in, require them to check their temperature and report any possible symptoms. Encourage staff to be honest, especially regarding visiting friends and family.

Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Promote safety without exceptions

Upon arrival, have your staff use hand sanitiser before touching any equipment. Next, ensure they don the proper mask and wear it correctly. As annoying as it may be, address your workers any time their masks slip below their nose or months. 

Kitchens can be hot and stressful, so your staff are bound to work up a sweat. Since the virus can enter your system through your eyes, nose, and mouth, wiping away sweat can pose a health risk. While you should discourage workers from touching their faces, accidents will happen. Require employees to wash their hands after accidental contact.

Follow standard kitchen hygiene practices

While the virus spreads mostly from person to person, it can survive on surfaces. Since you will be serving meals right after preparation, there is a small chance droplets could be passed to your guests. 

To start, ensure all meals are thoroughly cooked according to Food Standards Agency guidelines. Now is not the time to rush orders, especially since one undercooked meal could damage your reputation during an extremely difficult time. 

Next, routinely sanitise all surfaces, even more frequently than usual. Because you will be cleaning more often, make sure you do not risk contaminating your food in the process. Sometimes, workers clean kitchen surfaces but leave chemicals behind that might leach onto the food.

Implement the standard red bucket/green bucket system. Red buckets hold water and a rag for wiping away debris from a surface. Green buckets will hold soap water and a rag for sanitising surfaces. Use these appropriately to ensure no traces of the virus stay on countertops and other surfaces.

If you use chemicals like bleach to disinfect items, make sure your staff uses the proper dilution ratios. Using too much bleach could cause serious side effects, and using too little could allow the virus to survive.

Carefully package meals

Whether you offer takeaway or delivery, there is a chance the virus can live long enough on the packaging to affect your customers. Food, utensils, napkins - many items in the order will touch your customer’s mouth. It is vital that no trace of the virus latches to these surfaces. 

Depending on the size of your kitchen and how many employees you have, it is best if only one person is responsible for packing meals. They should wear gloves, a mask, and never interact with other employees to reduce contamination. When a meal is ready, this worker will wrap it, place it in the to-go container, and add any other items. No one else should touch the container once it is ready. 

Refine your ordering process

Takeaways can see a large amount of traffic throughout the day. With the national lockdown in place, many people might be turning to takeaway instead of shopping or eating at dine-in restaurants. 

Traditional restaurants offering takeout and delivery may also see increased demand. However, with this demand comes a higher amount of contact with potentially infected customers. 

To keep your staff and guests safe, you must make ordering as seamless as possible. In a perfect world, customers only need to walk up and grab their order without talking to anyone or touching other surfaces.

Epos Now Order & Pay - our new mobile ordering platform - offers convenient online ordering, encompassing delivery, collection, and table ordering. The mobile ordering platform has been designed to be entirely contactless so you can keep serving through any operating restrictions.

To get started, you simply have to create an online profile and import your products. Then, Epos Now Order & Pay takes care of the rest. The platform is accessible to diners on any device with a web browser. All they need to do is simply scan a QR code or type in a URL for a seamless mobile ordering experience. 

Whether you offer takeaway or delivery, customers can choose items, pay, and set a pickup time all with Order & Pay.

Offer Contactless payments

If you cannot provide online ordering, do everything you can to reduce cash and card payment. COVID-19 can be transferred via paper and plastic, so employees working the till should always wear gloves. 

Better yet, they should encourage customers to use contactless payments. All it takes is a simple tap to finish the transaction, meaning the staff and customer never contact one another. Even once restrictions end, contactless brings speed, effectiveness and cleanliness to your business.

If you need help finding an integrated payment provider talk to one of our consultants here.

Prepare for the future with Epos Now

Your EPOS system is crucial to your business, but it can do much more than simply process transactions. With the Epos Now hospitality POS, you can:

  • Connect with 100+ apps to help with items like marketing, customer loyalty, and accounting
  • Accept credit, debit, gift cards, and contactless payments
  • Manage your store from anywhere with 24/7 cloud access