Amid the pandemic, dining out remains a significant safety concern for many consumers. In fact, research from Datassential shows that 20% of consumers said they will definitely avoid eating out, and another 39% said they will still eat out but are nervous about doing so.
There are a lot of things noncommercial foodservice operators can do to help reassure these cautious customers and convince them that they’re taking the health of both customers and staff seriously. Perhaps the most important thing is to make sure that whatever safety measures taken are highly visible to customers.
In a recent report, Datassential noted that extra efforts on the part of foodservice operations will help differentiate them among all the businesses seeking to regain patrons.
Following are five tactics that operators can implement at minimal cost to ensure that their safety efforts are recognized by patrons:
1. Describe the key safety precautions being taken in all communications, as well as the safety procedures consumers need to follow when they visit. Operators should have a prominent, detailed display on their website, as well as at the entrance to the restaurant and in key areas inside the restaurant. In digital communications, remind consumers that they need to wear a mask and practice social distancing when picking up to-go orders, and that they should stay home if they feel unwell. This assures them that other customers will be expected to follow safety rules as well.
2. Make sure systems are in place for frequent cleaning and sanitation of public spaces. In addition to wiping down tables between customers, be sure that shared items, such as condiment dispensers and menus, are also replaced clean to each table. Datassential reported that 76% of consumers said a restaurant’s cleanliness and food safety procedures matter more now than before.
3. Ensure that employees are adhering to safety procedures. Instructing employees that they must wear their masks properly at all times will not only help protect them and customers, but it also will provide reassurance to customers when they see all employees are wearing their masks properly and following other safety practices.
4. Replace self-serve stations, such as beverage counters and salad bars, with staff-serviced stations or premade options. Consumers will appreciate being able to order their favorite salad, even if the salad bar is no longer available. Consider offering prepackaged foods, as well as premade signature drinks, such as lemonade or iced tea, in a grab-and-go cooler.
5. Offer individually wrapped and packaged items, such as single-use condiments and straws. Datassential research found that when customers order food from foodservice, one of the most important things to them is that each item in the order is individually wrapped. Offering individually wrapped straws is an essential safety move that customers will notice and appreciate—and operators don’t have to sacrifice sustainability. Phade® Marine Biodegradable Straws from WinCup are eco-friendly, high-performing and surprisingly affordable.
Visit www.phadeproducts.com to learn more about how Phade® individually wrapped straws can help attract and retain customers in your foodservice program.
This post is sponsored by WinCup