It’s a bitter tasting reality But many of the restaurants that were forced to close doors due to COVID-19 will never reopen. And those who do are likely to have to consider some profound changes to hygiene practices and licensing guidelines like those introduced in already reopened cities like Hong Kong. First, think of temperature checks on entry, time limits for eating, plexiglass partitions separating tables, and a resurgence of disposable plates and glasses.
Food Networks Restaurant: Impossible star Robert Irvine is likely to introduce some of these restrictions in the near future as he helps the struggling restaurateurs who appear on his show navigate a post-COVID world.
“I have an entire system of protocols that I developed using the rules and procedures that the CDC and other people gave us,” says Irvine. “That’s what I do for a living. I go to people’s restaurants and tell them their food is bad and their cleanliness is terrible, so that’s what I was known for before the pandemic. I’ve developed a system that I believe will be the new normal for restaurants, starting with my own. I teamed up with other experienced military contractors at WorkMerk to help customers know that their wellbeing was paramount to launch VirusSAFE Pro, a software solution that can provide real-time verification of employees’ compliance with prescribed procedures and protocols Has priority. ”
According to Irvine, the implementation of new technology will be the biggest factor in the return of restaurants.
“We’ll be paperless,” he says. “We pay on our phones and apps and use menus and QR codes that we have on our phones. We will order a lot more digitally and restaurants will have their own delivery services. If I went to a restaurant and saw a clerk on the phone I’d tear them apart, but that might be the new normal. The new normal may check the temperature of something and enter it into a phone. We rate restaurants and what they do for customers and employees, and you can see that rating. It is accredited by governing bodies. “
More than ever, these governing bodies need to hold restaurateurs accountable to ensure that people feel safe outside the confines of their homes.
“In the United States we have health inspectors,” says Irvine. “It is now up to local governments to hire more of these people to do such a great job. There are only so many things a health inspector can do, so we can’t expect them to visit 500 restaurants a day, but that is exactly what they would have to do to make sure we are all safe. We need to put systems in these places and restaurants that hold the owner or the manager, or both, accountable for their actions and their employees. We have to bring back consumer confidence for the guests, but also for the employees who work there. They are human too. If you don’t feel safe, don’t come to work. “
Unfortunately, for many restaurant workers, returning to work may not be a choice.
“I think we’ll see smaller employees,” says Irvine. “Remember that in a dining room that used to seat 300 people, there is no longer room for 300 people. Every restaurant now has to come up with a new normal. We know that a break-even point in a small restaurant is around $ 1,000 a day just to open the doors, turn on the lights, and have people there. What is this new normal break-even point based on fewer tables and maybe longer hours? I don’t think we have as many staff as we used to have unless there are alternative sources of income. For example, if I’m used to a dining room and before the pandemic I didn’t have takeaway and now I’m making takeout, do I keep the takeout and redirect the staff to it, or do I stop the takeout and just do the food room? These are business decisions that boil down to number 1, consumer confidence. “
Even if consumers return to restaurants at some point, the months of loss of income will be too much for many to overcome, according to Irvine.
“I think it’s going to be a big change,” he says. “We won’t have all of the restaurants we started with. I think we’re going to lose 30 to 40 percent of our mom and pop restaurants. “
But Restaurant: Impossible will do its best to make sure the number doesn’t climb any higher.
“It’s not a bad linchpin for me,” says Irvine. “For some people, it will be life changing. The cleanliness and health of the people have always been the focus for me, as well as the food and the place. Now I have to go to a restaurant mom and dad have had for 36 years where they don’t have enough money to get a new fridge or put a seal on a fridge and now there is going to be a whole new set of rules otherwise they cannot be opened. These are the people I have to help. I don’t have to help the chain that has all the money in the world and can afford to train and teach. Education will be an ongoing thing and I think it will help a little, but we still have a long way to go. “
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