Now more than ever, the health and safety of your team is of utmost importance. Your employees are on the frontlines everyday interfacing with customers, preparing your product, and keeping your doors open. It’s important to take care of them during this time and help them navigate all of the changes during COVID-19, from keeping up with the new sanitation guidelines to increased volume of pick-up and delivery. But with everything going on, we believe the best way to take care of your staff is by implementing a few simple changes to your operations.
First and foremost is elevating the safety and sanitation of your employees’ workspaces. This shows them (and your customers) that you are taking things seriously. In a time where no playbook exists, take it upon yourself to stay prepared and get ahead of things as much as possible.
Elevate sanitation checks. Start by instituting 10-minute sanitation refreshes that focus on your pick-up and takeout areas. Those will have the highest traffic while your dining room is closed. You can incorporate these stop points in production or prep right before, in the middle of, or after service depending on what works best for your restaurant. Use this time to sanitize kitchens and workspaces, and do the work as a team.
Increase PPE measures. Make sure your team wears masks and gloves at all times. This is for their own safety as much as it is for the people picking up your product. And if possible, restrict restrooms to teams and staff only to make sure you’re driving a healthy and sanitary environment. This also shows consumers that you’re taking this crisis very seriously.
After your elevated safety and sanitation precautions are in place, you’ll want to revisit how you’re deploying your labor to meet the changing demands of your customers. With the shift to pick-up and delivery, be sure that your labor distribution reflects what is needed now, not necessarily what has been done before.
Reevaluate. This includes labor distribution, deployment, and making sure your aces are in their places.
Focus on staffing to capitalize on peak periods. Restaurants do 35% of daily sales during lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and more than 50% from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. from takeout and delivery. Adjust your staffing based on your business’ peak hours to maximize efficiency. Review where you have that coverage and how you’re deploying that labor. Truncating your operating hours can also offset any influx of labor costs.
Work in teams. Try to give people one day off, one day on. It will keep a few people employed while also giving you backup options if, worst case scenario, a case does arise.
Mitigate obstacles. Swiftly shift priorities to ensure that all corporate initiatives support the changes in your daily operations. Set your staff up for success during this crisis. Remember that they’re on the frontlines, so do everything you can to set them up for success and help them execute. Be attuned to their needs and keep things as simple as possible. This is not a time to try anything new, but fortunately, you can implement small changes that have a big impact. Focus on changes that are within your reach and be mindful not to introduce anything new.
Maximize your kitchen for pick-up and delivery. Look at your physical setup and see what needs to be changed in order to protect your staff while also giving them everything they need to make things run smoothly and feel safe. This could include setting up contactless pick-up stations or building a makeshift facade that limits the time your employees spend interfacing with customers.
Set up workstations. As you build your pick-up and delivery menus, set up workstations. Mark off the appropriate distancing and limit the production per station to limit crossover.
Remove busy work. Your staff is on the frontlines during this crisis, so keep things as simple as possible. Get rid of all unnecessary administrative tasks, calls, and activities. These are tasks that matter, but don’t matter right now. By removing the busy work, you can keep them focused on what matters, which is driving the overall experience and efficiency.
Stay agile. Information changes on a daily basis, so stay open and nimble to help your staff (and yourself) navigate these unprecedented times.
Keep it transparent. Chat through your employees’ fears and anxieties, then encourage them to have a go-forward mentality. Be open to their feedback and remind them that you have their back.
As the restaurant industry attempts to adapt to the changing landscape, let’s not forget our workers on the frontlines. Taking care of them through this crisis is a good practice, and can be done with just a few simple changes.
Learn more about how to optimize pick-up and delivery–fast in our webinar hosted by Jim Collins, CEO of Kitchen United. Joined by Larrah Palwak, Senior Director of Operations at Kitchen United, Matt Marroni, Director of Kitchen Implementation at Kitchen United, and Elizabeth Villa, Director of Digital Strategy at Kitchen United, they discussed key ways to make the sudden transition as smooth as possible.