Last updated: March 16, 2020.
FanWide is America’s largest sports bar network, providing a technology platform for restaurants and entertainment venues. The world’s leading sports organizations and brands use FanWide’s services and technology to enhance their bar programs and grow their fan communities. FanWide also consults with hundreds of bars around the country every week and we have heard some concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since the company is based in the American epicenter of the spread, Seattle, we’re seeing a few of the affects ahead of the rest of the country. We wanted to share our best practices to make your customers and staff feel and be safe!
Do you have any other suggestions? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add the helpful ones to this blog to share with the rest of the community.
FanWide’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Best Practices for Bars, Restaurants and Food Service
- Be Informed Daily: Check any official guidelines each morning for your building, district, city, county and state. Here are the CDC Guidelines and you can Google search links to the areas relevant to you such as the DOH in Washington.
- Enforce Cleanliness at the Door, Bar & Tables: You want your bar to look clean and be clean. Have sanitizer and proper signage displaying where sanitizer is accessible when people enter. Also have sanitizer at every bar, and table.
- Post a Sign on your Door: Tell everyone that you are open and that you are coronavirus-aware. Contact FanWide and request a custom poster like the one above.
- Constant Table Cleaning: Shared items like menus are one of the dirtiest things in the restaurant. Make sure to clean these items after each customer or group. Also consider bottles of ketchup and other condiments, salt and pepper, straw dispensers, etc. Give everything an extra wipe after every customer.
- Attract New Customers: If you’re seeing any drop in attendance, then become a FanWide Elite member. FanWide will support your business development and marketing team to bring in new events and customer 20-person alumni happy hours to featured events with 1000+ fans through official partnerships with major sport organizations. Please visit FanWide’s blog to view a list of televised sports which are not cancelled: https://fanwi.de/coronavirussports
- Never Reuse Glasses: If a customer at the bar asks for a refill, pour their drink in a new glass, exchange it for their dirty glass, then wash your hands. Never put a customer’s glass near the tap or beverage dispenser.
- Never Use One Bar Towel on Multiple Tables: Your team should be aware that the towels need to be bleached after each and every table to prevent accidental cross contamination. This is not the time to be lazy about table maintenance. Consider printing up signs to place on the table that let guests know that the table has been disinfected with bleach. This also helps your hostess identify tables that are ready for new guests. Providing this level of reassurance will promote repeat customers as they will want to go to the business that has their best interests at heart.
- Washing Hands After Collecting Anything from Guests: Wash hands after removing plates, returning credit cards, grabbing the bill, etc. After touching anything a customer already has, you want to make sure to wash your hands to not introduce new germs.
- Show your Customers you are Clean: Post a flyer or sign saying that you are taking extra precautions to keep the bar clean and everyone safe. Encourage them to make additional suggestions for cleanliness.
- Paper Towels & Garbage by Doors: Encourage everyone to open your front and bathroom doors using paper towels and make it easy to throw away. Place trash cans near the entrances and exits of the bathroom doors.
- Space Your Tables: If your bar is experiencing a reduction in guest attendance, consider removing a few tables from the service area and spreading out the remaining tables to provide a more space between patrons. Especially if you have a bank of two tops that are close together.
- Order Additional Supplies: Make sure to accommodate for shortages of cleaning, packaging, straws, etc. from interrupted supply lines. This is especially true for anything shipped from Asia.
- More Sanitizer: Check with your supplier and pick up extra hand sanitizer. Make sure that the hand sanitizer is available at the bar. You can even have your servers walk by a new table and offer it to your guests upon arrival. Coronavirus is scary, but use it as an opportunity to prove your level of service.
- Keep it Friendly in the Front: Staff in the front of the house should not wear masks. Although actual rules can vary by state, according to FanWide’s COO and practicing attorney Jeff Sarvas, “Restaurant managers generally have the right to enforce a consistent standard of uniform for their staff, which can include requiring staff to not wear masks if they are not at risk.” If an employee has health concerns and will not work without a mask, they should be allowed to go home without reprimand.
- Keep it Safe in the Back: Encourage kitchen and back of the house staff to wear masks. They are handling many raw materials that can easily spread Coronavirus to all customers.
- Staff Check In: When your staff comes into work, check in with each of them about how they are feeling. Require them to scrub their hands and use a disinfectant wipe for their cell phones, keys and anything else they brought from home that they may touch.
- Use Delivery Services: While some customers may not want to come into the restaurant due to other guests, many are still supporting the restaurant industry by ordering through services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates. Make sure you can maximize your food sales, even if the guests are not coming inside. This will also support the delivery drivers.
- Curbside Pickup: Let your customers know through your social media and mailing lists that your kitchen is still open and customers can pick up their food from outside the restaurant. Post signs or banners outside saying “Curbside Pickup Available | Support Local Businesses” and allow your guests to call in their orders and have someone standing by the door to meet guests in their cars.
- Pay Staff to Stay Home if they are Sick: This is tough for some businesses to afford, but if you can compensate your employees to not work if they are feeling sick, this will significantly reduce any risks. Washington State is compensating contractors who wish to work from home to reduce the risk of spreading, so your state may too.
- Consider Communicating in All Languages: Make sure you share this information with your staff through their native language if it is not English so that all your employees follow these best practices.
- Defer your Payments: If you owe money to your credit card company, bank or other group, give them a call. Most now have coronavirus policies in place which allow you to defer your minimum payments and not get charged interest.
We know that times are tough, but we’re here to help! Please make sure you send us any tips that we should add to this list.