Food safety discussions have taken on a new level of urgency, as restaurants face the enormity of consequences of COVID-19. Restaurants that spent the first weeks of the pandemic reassuring customers that they had expanded cleaning protocols are now shutting their doors and shifting to takeout and delivery models that have their own safety challenges.
Declaring that anything is safe at the present moment is a risky proposition. It was not that long ago that US Foods conducted their highly-publicized survey which found that nearly 30 percent of delivery people sample the food items they’re entrusted with. Both quick and full-service restaurants pivoting to takeout and delivery models should heed the warning: protect the package.
Here are three ways to support and communicate food safety claims and ensure that take-out and delivery items are safe once they leave the premises:
If possible, screen delivery staff daily for any signs or symptoms that they have any illness – coronavirus or otherwise.
For example, the restaurant delivery services Delivery Dudes, headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida just launched a new “Dudes Bodega” platform which offers delivery of food, grocery, medical supplies, prescriptions and other products. Since the company was founded in 2009, all of their drivers always start their day at a Delivery Dudes driver hub. The company has also brought in a healthcare professional to train team members on how to conduct health and temperature checks before every shift at all of their driver hubs. Ask your delivery services what protocols they have in place and if they have their own delivery staff.
Discourage drivers from touching food items. Using tamper-evident labels are the clearest sign that food items have not been touched by anyone outside the restaurant’s physical location. These labels can be used to close the bag or box that the food is packaged in and create a clear deterrent to delivery staff. A ripped label alerts the customer that the order was tampered with and the restaurant can then replace their order. The operator also has the capability to personalize the order with the customer’s name, so they know the item they receive belongs to them – and them alone.
Let your customers know that you are taking measures to ensure that the food you are delivering is as safe as possible. From ensuring staff wellness and expanded cleaning protocols at the location to directions on using the microwave to reheat items and smart labels, consumers want assurances that the food they received is safe.
Tamper-evident labels can also be printed with additional information such as branding, contents, nutritional facts and promotional messaging, as well as an optional QR code that encourages customers to visit the restaurant’s website to engage further.
Measures taken today to ensure – and communicate – an increased level of food safety will continue to pay off when business returns to normal. Consumers will respect and remember which ones went the extra mile to keep them safe.