Let’s face it, at some point during the cold and flu season, you’re at higher risk of having a sick employee working at your establishment. In fact, the CDC notes between nine and 41 million illnesses occur annually in the United States. As a restaurant owner, you want to be able to ensure your establishment can operate with healthy employees. While this is easier said than done, there are easy ways that you can defend against the spread of viruses responsible for cold and flu but also harmful bacteria during this time.
The way you train your employees to clean, disinfect and sanitize in the restaurant is a crucial step in avoiding the spread of bacteria and viruses. Similarly, the tools that your employees have at their disposal are just as essential. Choosing the right cleaner and EPA-registered disinfectant and sanitizer is an important part of the process, and making sure you’re keeping up to date with the latest and greatest cleaning products can go a long way. Read on for the top four things to know to get your business ready to take on cold and flu season.
Consumers Value Clean
When customers walk into restaurants, they want to see and feel that it’s clean. One study found that nine in ten customers notice the cleanliness of businesses they frequent often. What’s more, 86 percent of consumers want proof that public spaces like restaurants are cleaned on a daily basis. A 2023 P&G Professional Consumer Pulse Study found 92 percent of patrons surveyed expect the dining areas of a restaurant to be cleaned more than two times a day. Being able to say that the space is clean is great but ensuring your employees are properly cleaning is what is going to set your establishment apart from others.
Training and Monitoring Are Key
Taking the time to train employees on proper cleaning practices and on-label instructions takes the stress out of wondering if your establishment is clean or not. To ensure proper sanitation practices, be a role model in handwashing etiquette and personal hygiene standards. Discuss the importance of reporting symptoms when feeling ill to stop community transmission. Train employees that all visible soils must be cleaned before an EPA-registered disinfectant can be used on surfaces like door handles, menus, shared condiment bottles, touch screen kiosks or faucets, as mandated by your local health department. Ensure food-contact surfaces and food equipment are cleaned, rinsed and sanitized with an EPA-registered food contact sanitizer at the correct concentration. Finally, follow up with employees as they learn and monitor compliance with these practices.
Consider adding cleaning tutorials to weekly team meetings or make it a monthly refresher exercise to ensure your staff is prepared for this upcoming sick season.
Choosing the Right Product
Following proper cleaning, sanitization and disinfection practices is just half the battle. Making sure you have the right product is the next important step in the process. When identifying the right product for your business, think about these factors: choose products you trust, find a variety of options for different surfaces and needs, and focus on product superiority. Having trust in the tools you’re using is huge in keeping the surfaces in your establishment protected from bacteria and viruses.
With so many products in the market, ensuring your team is using the right one for the job is critical. Simplify the process by identifying a single supplier that offers a wide selection of brands and products suitable for various applications in your restaurant, which can streamline employee training, product ordering, and supply management.
Emphasis on Quality
As a restaurant owner, you know that continual innovation is a sign of healthy growth. New product launches and formula upgrades for your cleaning products is a sign that your supplier is investing in making their products the best they can be. Having the peace of mind knowing that you have quality products working for your business can go a long way in ensuring you have time to focus on other needed operations.
Cold and flu season is coming, whether we like it or not, but there are things we can do to prepare. With the right, high-quality products, tailored cleaning procedures and effective and traceable training, restaurant owners and managers like you can help achieve the sanitation goals established by your local health department while helping to mitigate risk factors associated with virus transmission. Prepare your restaurant staff today to help ease the stress of cold and flu season.