Restaurants rely on having adequate levels of staffing to function properly, which can be a tricky thing to manage. If you have too many employees, your labor costs will be too high. If you don’t have enough, the ones you do have will be overworked and stressed, and the level of service you’re able to offer will suffer. You may also run up extra costs in paying overtime or dealing with high turnover Given the current climate, restaurants must take steps to protect the health of their employees.
Don’t Let Sick Employees Work
First and foremost, it’s important to avoid allowing sick employees to work. If restaurant employees work while they are ill, they are likely to spread their illness to other employees as well as your customers. Sending sick employees home can be tough, especially if it means you’re going to be shorthanded. Encourage your employees to find someone to cover their shift as soon as they start feeling ill. Create a shift swap policy that will make it easier for them to get their shifts covered so you are less likely to be left shorthanded. You could also consider asking employees to indicate in advance when they would be able to pick up a shift if needed. While you can’t force them to be on call or guarantee that they will be able to, having a short list to start with when calling will make it faster to get shifts covered.
Enforce Proper Hand Washing
Handwashing has always been a critical part of food safety, but it has gotten even more attention lately thanks to the pandemic. Restaurant employees should wash their hands frequently. At a minimum, they should wash at the start of their shift, after breaks or eating, twice after using the bathroom, after touching any part of their body, after coughing or sneezing or using tobacco products, when changing tasks, and generally any time their hands become contaminated. You may find posting reminders around your restaurant helpful. There are a lot of different options for safety signs that can be posted throughout your business to remind employees and customers of best practices for washing hands.
Provide Plentiful PPE
The less contact your restaurant employees have between one another and your customers the better. To that end, it’s especially important now to provide adequate and plentiful PPE. Food grade gloves, cut gloves, and masks are pretty standard protective equipment for restaurants that employees should have access to. If you notice any employees not using appropriate PPE, remind them to use it to protect both their own health and the health of those around them.
Protecting the health of your employees is important if you want your restaurant to succeed even under normal conditions. You can do this by preventing sick employees from working, enforcing proper hand washing, and providing adequate amounts of PPE. By protecting your employees’ health, you’re also protecting the health of your customers and will be better able to offer them quality service.