How to Create Guidelines for employees
In February of 2020, the hospitality industry was one of the largest employers of people in the United States, with 12.3 million workers. The latest data shows a decline in this number as a result of the pandemic. Now, only around 9.9 million people work in the restaurant industry across the U.S.
With Covid-19 forcing the restaurant industry to lay off 5.9 million employees, operators had to find other solutions and simplify their operations to account for the lack of staff.
Not only do operators need to adjust their staffing strategies to overcome the labor shortage, but they also need to focus on new customer demands and expectations due to the pandemic. Customers have higher expectations when it comes to sanitation and hygiene, so as a restaurant operator, it’s crucial to listen to your customers and ensure their safety.
Restaurants and bars have adapted their operations with the addition of new on-site guidelines, takeout and delivery services, and outdoor seating to keep customers safe. Additionally, employers have had to adapt to keep their employees safe through new employee health and safety rules and regulations by implementing proper safety and hygiene practices in the workplace.
Employers must provide health training for restaurant employees by educating them on risk factors and preventative measures (especially if any symptoms develop), training them through various demonstrations, and monitoring their symptoms and health.
It is important that, as consumers, we understand that employees’ safety is just as important as our own. Show gratitude, support your local businesses, tip well, and respect their health like you do your own.
Below, we will discuss general employee health guidance through several training tips and guidelines and COVID-19 guidelines to help keep your employees as safe as possible while working during the aftermath of the pandemic.
Tips and Guidelines for Employees Post-Pandemic
Implement New Training Policies
New resources on how to properly train your employees are constantly being developed. Through training videos and online resources, there is an abundance of information out there.
So, how do you sift through all of this information and keep employees updated on all of these changes? Staff meetings with regular updates and demonstrations on best practices are a great place to start.
Staff Meetings and Regular Updates
Restaurant and bar staff are accustomed to daily meetings at the beginning of every shift. As the owner of a bar or restaurant, it is your responsibility to stay up to date on the latest guidelines for employees working within the food and beverage industry to maintain their safety as well as the guests. If you find any new information or guidelines that need to be put in place, let your staff members know during staff meetings.
PourMyBeer Tip: Try and keep the meetings short and to the point. If there is a lot of important information that needs to be said, type it out and print enough pages for everyone to grab at the start of the meeting. This will provide the staff with all the necessary information for their shift, and they won’t need to take any notes.
Hygiene & Cleaning Practices
Hygiene has always been a top priority in the hospitality industry, especially in the past few years. When purchasing disinfectants, check the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of approved cleaning products to determine if your products are safe to use. Once you have confirmed they are on the list, follow the proper instructions on the label to make sure you are using them correctly. Below are some helpful tips that you may already be implementing in your establishment.
Show the proper hand washing technique before staff members start cooking food or serving customers. It’s no secret that people absorb more information through visual learning. In fact, this learning style increases retention by 29-42%. So why not use this learning tactic when teaching your employees?
You can even make signs and posters (or use the graphic below) once you’ve completed these demonstrations. You’ll want to place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance of your workplace and in other work areas where they are most likely to be seen by staff members.
The demonstrations show employees how to be as safe as possible, not only for themselves but also for the customers.
PourMyBeer Tip: Keep in mind that not all of your employees may speak English as their first language. Include signage with graphics that everyone working in your establishment can understand.
Place hand sanitizer stations around the workplace. Not only will this keep employees safe and reduce the spread of germs, but it will also remind them to consistently sanitize their hands.
Make sure that the sanitizer in your establishment has at least 60% alcohol to kill all germs.
Sanitization of High-Contact Items
Employees need to clean everything that the guest touches to reduce the spread of germs even further. Clean high-traffic items regularly and consistently. For example, items like the check covers, pens, and tables must be cleaned thoroughly. Areas that employees touch regularly must be cleaned, such as workstations, keyboards, handrails, and doorknobs.
Now that vaccines are readily available to help prevent Covid-19, it is your choice as an employer to decide if you require that your staff get vaccinated or you leave the decision to get vaccinated up to your workers and let them know unvaccinated workers are required to wear a mask at all times.
If your city or town is still implementing a mask mandate, make sure your staff members know the correct way to wear a face-covering – covering both their mouth and nose with their mask.
PourMyBeer Tip: In most states, employers can opt into the mask or vaccine requirement if they choose to. If it is a requirement in your establishment, have disposable masks readily available for your staff members. You can also supply staff members with cloth masks that have your establishment’s branding on them.
Symptoms to Look For
As mentioned above, you want to monitor your employees for any signs of Covid-19. Though we are all already familiar with common signs, below is a graphic that clearly shows the symptoms to watch out for.
The three biggest signs of Covid-19 are cough, shortness of breath, and fever. However, in 80% of patients Covid-19 only causes mild symptoms, so make sure you are constantly updating yourself and your employees on the most recent symptoms as defined by the CDC. If your employees seem fine, but they live in a household with someone who has tested positive for the virus, they must notify you immediately and follow these CDC recommended guidelines.
PourMyBeer Tip: With tests more readily available now, keeping a stock of at-home tests to offer to your employees is always a good idea.
How to Handle Positive Cases
Knowing how to respond when an employee tests positive for Covid-19 is crucial. If you don’t respond fast enough, it could spread even further. So let’s talk about what to do in the event that one of your employees tests positive for Covid-19.
If an employee does test positive, you will want to immediately tell them to self-isolate for the recommended amount of time by the CDC. Then, all other staff members that had direct contact with that employee should get tested.
Next, you’ll have the employee who tested positive track their symptoms from start to end to ensure that they are not still showing signs of the virus. The CDC has created easy-to-follow guidelines for employees returning to work after contracting the virus.
Employees who test positive should self-isolate for 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally 2-3 days after.
Although there are certain guidelines and time requirements in place, these can differ from case to case. Check out these Public Health Guidelines by the CDC to access what the best solution is.
General Safety in the Workplace
With safety as the number one priority, you should always be implementing safety procedures in your establishment. It is essential to your business that your employees know the proper safety procedures to keep everyone safe.
If you want to prevent disasters such as food poisoning or cross-contamination in your establishment, your food needs to be handled and prepared safely. Ensure that your employees know where to appropriately store different foods and pay attention to product holding temperatures.
In particular, staff must know how to handle raw meat to avoid salmonella. The best practices to keep in place are washing hands and surfaces frequently, keeping meat and other ingredients separate to avoid cross-contamination, and making sure to cook meat to the right temperature.
You can also have your employees take the ServSafe food handler online course and assessment. By having your staff complete the online course and assessment, you can ensure that they will be up to date on all the ins and outs of food safety.
Implement Fire Safety Procedures
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, on average there are 8,240 fires in restaurants per year. Training your staff members to be as alert and attentive to their surroundings while cooking dishes is the simplest way to prevent fires in your establishment. There are a few procedures and pieces of equipment you can implement in your operations to help prevent fires from occurring as well.
Install smoke alarms, lights, and exit signs throughout your establishment so employees and customers will be alerted and make it out safely. Have multiple fire extinguishers readily available throughout your restaurant for easy access if an emergency occurs. You can also look into appliances with fire suppression systems. When activated, these units can switch off your fuel supply and dispense substances that help to put out flames.
There are a few safety procedures that you can add to your operations to help reduce the likelihood of fires too.
- Make sure to store flammable objects away from flames.
- Ensure you and your team know how to properly put out a grease fire.
- With all the fire extinguishers you have on deck, make sure your employees know how to properly use them.
- Have an evacuation plan and run a fire drill with your team once a month.
Prevent Common Restaurant Worker Injuries
By creating and implementing proper restaurant safety rules in your establishment, you can avoid many of the common on-the-job injuries.
Cuts are one of the most common injuries for restaurant workers. From waiters to cooks, the risk of cuts is inevitable. One way to avoid this is to provide your workers with cut-resistant gloves to keep their hands safe. If a glass or plate breaks, make sure employees are not handling the broken glass with their hands. Broken glass should always be handled with a broom and protective gloves. Another common injury is skin burns. Staff members should always wear oven mitts or use potholders to handle heated cookware.
With the ongoing staffing crisis, you may be running short-handed. If that’s the case for you, make sure you implement the right techniques to find, hire and retain employees. Here are some tips from The Restaurant Boss, an industry consultant helping restaurant operators worldwide simplify their operations:
- Understand your employees
- Listen to them and ensure you know what their goals are
- Sit down with your staff members to create plans to get them where they want to be – both professionally and financially
- Learn what or who motivates them (i.e. Are they working to pay for their children’s education? Do you know their children’s names?
Knowing the root cause of why your establishment may struggle to fill roles and keep staff will help you overcome some of these issues. When it comes to finding staff, one of the best ways to start is to create a referral program for current employees. Not only will this improve the quality of new hires, but it also saves you time and money because you no longer have to spend time recruiting talent. Great workers will only refer someone they are confident will get the job done well because it reflects on them.
Word of mouth travels fast, so if your employees love going to work every day, they are likely to relay that message to their friends. If you are looking for solutions to overcome the staffing crisis, self-pour technology is a great option! Operators around the world can serve more customers with less staff, leading to reduced labor costs and higher profits! See how self-pour can benefit your establishment below!
Mental Health and Stress Management
With all that is going on in the world, day-to-day life can feel more overwhelming than ever, especially for workers within the hospitality industry. It’s important as an employer to understand your employees’ feelings of fear and stress with the effects of Covid-19 continuing to batter our world.
To make your employees feel more comfortable, look at these tips to build resilience and manage job stress among employees. Make sure that you are a source of comfort for your employees. You want them to feel safe, emotionally and physically. So don’t be afraid to let them know that you’re there for them, you want to support them, and you’ll accommodate their needs.
Guidelines for Employees With Self-Pour
If you are part of the PourMyBeer family, there are a few guidelines that your employees can follow to keep your self-pour establishment as safe as possible. As self-pour beverage walls grant some serious freedom for the customers, they also provide independence for the staff.
Since guests pour their own drinks, the server already has less interaction with the customers than at a traditional bar, keeping it safe for both the staff and the customers. It also frees up time for the employee to work on other things in your establishment, such as serving drinks at the traditional bar setup or cleaning up tables.
Employees can also take several preventative measures to not only maintain the safety of the guests but also their own.
Employees should wipe down all taps and screens as often as possible to eliminate germs. These are high-traffic areas with many customers touching them, so be sure to clean them. This also shows your customers that you care about their well-being and are proactive.