The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) are a not-for-profit organisation with the vision to make sustainability part of the DNA of every foodservice business. During the COVID-19 pandemic they have been committed to providing effective support to foodservice businesses in a number of different ways from providing the latest update and information, advice for food businesses and employees and holding free webinars as part of their ‘Reopen Right’ series.
The below advice is taken from the SRA’s ‘How to Re-open Right’ guide. Visit https:// foodmadegood.org/reopen-right/ to access the full guide and lots of other useful pieces of advice and tools.
PUT SAFETY FIRST
Hygiene, from a customer and staff perspective, will become a bigger focus for caterers long-term. There will be many areas of your operation that will need to be reviewed in line with the evolving guidelines.
• Review your floor plan and layout within the kitchen to ensure you’re following the latest social distancing guidelines. Also ensure you are using any alfresco area you have to its full advantage.
• Design waiting lines according to precautionary measures and consider installing physical barriers.
• Provide clear signage to clearly communicate protocols or guidance to customers.
• Provide no-touch trash cans and disposable towels or tissues for customers.
• Replace bin bags frequently.
• Implement contact-less payment and where possible, go cashless.
• Where possible, establish alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, allowing them to maintain distance from one another.
• You may want to develop policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick employees and customers.
• Ensure good hygiene practices using clear, thorough check lists and remind staff and diners of the latest public health advice with posters, leaflets and other materials.
YOUR PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
• Check all your equipment is working efficiently. – HVAC – Fire alarm – Consider replacing air filters more frequently – Check sinks, pipes and fridge/ freezers for leaks – Check your lightbulbs and consider switching to LED
FOOD & PACKAGING
• Make sure you are following Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) guidance on good hygiene practices. Also useful for reference is this European Commission report on COVID-19 and food safety available at https://ec.europa.eu/food/ sites/food/files/safety/docs/biosafety_ crisis_covid19_qandas_en.pdf
DIVERSIFY YOUR REVENUE
• Delivery According to YouGov, health-conscious consumers are increasingly moving towards food delivery apps. This consumer group is more likely to be attracted by veg-led options and is also willing to pay more for goods without artificial additives. Make sure you’re following the government’s guidance on allergens and provide information about portion sizes to avoid over ordering and unnecessary food waste.
• Produce Boxes Many restaurants have offered boxes with fresh and wholesome produce.
• Meal Kits Demand for meal kits has shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic and foodservice businesses with a strong brand/product could look at producing meal kits as a way of capitalising on demand for their food. Look at Mindful Chef, Honest Burgers, Patty & Bun, Pizza Pilgrims’s ‘frying pan’ pizzas for inspiration.
SOURCE FOR A NEW MENU
• Source Locally & Seasonally Work with your local wholesaler and other local growers to reduce food miles and boost your local economy.
• Highlight Sustainable Options Use the WRI’s behaviour change playbook to ensure your menu encourages diners to choose more sustainable options.
• Avoid Waste Complete a regular food inventory and select ingredients that will work in a range of recipes to avoid food waste. Service is likely to fluctuate during the initial opening period. Check your inventory is thorough and consider carrying it our more regularly so you can adapt your menu and supply as needed.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Even if you are not planning to open just yet it would be good to maintain communication with your customers and potential customers in your local area to ensure you’re front of mind. Utilise websites or social media to provide an update about any plans you do have to open in the future, including cleaning and safety protocols, new menus or to provide a general personal update from yourself or staff members.