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How to Prepare your Dining Room for Life Post-Lockdown

By Bria Weaver for Mirvik Uniforms & Merch

With restaurant dining rooms beginning to reopen, fears about COVID-19 continue to play a major role in consumer decisions. While the health and safety of everyone a restaurant serves has always been mission critical, it’s never been more essential to reassure consumers of the safety of dining out.

As Canadians continue to come out of lockdown and consider returning to restaurants, your establishment can help put their minds at ease by enacting a few best practices and arming your staff with the right tools upon reopening.

Restaurants Canada has also developed a COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Guide that can help support your business with reopening and adapting to the ongoing pandemic, but below are some quick tips to consider:

The Right Supplies

While most disinfectants will work against the coronavirus, Health Canada has put together a list of hard-surface disinfectants that are supported by evidence demonstrating that they are likely to be effective and may be used to kill the COVID-19 virus.

Once you have the right disinfectant on hand, make sure you are supplying your staff with enough cloths so that they are using clean cloths or rags for every table. Alternatively, consider having paper towels and use these to sanitize tables before/after guests.

Develop a Protocol

Once your staff are armed with the right supplies, put in place a thorough cleaning process. It is not just the surface of the table that will need to be wiped down. After every guest, ensure your staff are wiping down their seats and sanitizing tables. The idea is to train staff upon their return on these enhanced protocols and ensure positive habits are developed.

Salt, Pepper and Sanitizer

As suggested in the COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Guide from Restaurants Canada, consider keeping salt, pepper, and other condiments off the table and providing these items to guests only when requested (then sanitizing them afterwards) in order to reduce the number of ”key touch points”. Instead of having these items at the table, you might want to consider providing a hand sanitizer bottle or having sanitizer readily available in other easily accessible ways. This can also be an opportunity to differentiate your restaurant by utilizing branded bottles or container options that fit with your aesthetic.

The New Uniform

Masks can be used to help your staff and customers feel at ease and customers may expect to see your staff wearing masks as part of their uniform. Similar to disinfectants, not all masks are made the same. One of the most innovative options out there is by Montreal-based Mirvik Uniforms & Merch. They’ve created a reusable and washable face mask utilizing a liquid repelling, premium twill fabric that prevents the penetration of liquid and moisture. Inspired by the same technology they use for their chef’s coats, their masks have been tested for comfort by major restaurant chain employees.

Communicate  

While you are making all these changes, make sure your customers know about the precautionary measures you are taking. Post on your social channels, share updates in your newsletter, display a note in your window and include an insert in your menu. You can add your brand’s personality to it by incorporating humour or witty language or other aspects of your unique voice and design sensibility.

As we recover as an industry from the destruction of COVID-19, we will continue to need to pivot and ensure that our staff and diners feel safe to return.

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