How COVID-19 is Permanently Changing Restaurant Service Standards

Long gone are the days of air kissing your regulars, shaking hands as guests depart, bartenders tasting their creations before serving, and the list goes on. COVID-19 has permanently changed human-to-human interaction in the restaurant business and beyond. In speaking with clients and friends in the industry, we have found that even when things return to “business as usual,” standards and SOPs will be revised, and new trainings implemented for hospitality in a post-Coronavirus world.

Here are a few of our findings:

#1. Hand Sanitizer Everywhere

Soap will no longer be available only when using the restroom. Hand sanitizer, and even hand washing stations, will be readily accessible – at the host stand, on the bar and in public areas throughout the restaurant.

#2. Single-Use Menus

Disposable paper menus may take the place of heavy duty, fancier menus and coverings. Or menus will be washed with disinfectant after every use. At a restaurant last week, we found a bin at the host stand with menus that had been used and required disinfecting before they could be passed to another patron.

#3. A Less “Handsy” Bar

Bartenders will no longer be squeezing fruit directly into drinks. If a specialty cocktail requires it, then the bartender will need to wear gloves. Individually wrapped straws will be the norm, and under no circumstances should bartenders be tasting cocktails they make prior to delivering them to guests.

#4. Handling of Glassware

Although not holding stemware near the rim should have always been the status quo, it is more important than ever. Servers and bartenders will be required to hold glassware by the stem. The same goes for silverware and plates (fingers should never be near the food).

#5. Sanitary Payment Transactions

Restaurants will need to implement procedures surrounding the point of sale. Whether it be credit card processing directly at the table so a diners’ credit card never leaves their hands, or sanitizing the check presenter, pens and credit card themselves, cleanliness procedures need to be stringent and followed.

#6. Condiment Cleanliness

Although cleaning condiments like ketchup and mustard bottles, salt and pepper and sugar caddies is almost always required side work, it’s usually only done at the beginning and end of each shift. It will be imperative that these items are cleaned between tables.

#7. Buffets and Salad Bars

Restaurants should consider banning buffets and salad bars entirely given the sanitation risks. However, if they choose not to, adding wider sneeze guards or having a staff member monitor the station so that no diner touches or tastes the food may be required.

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