Covid-19 has caused restaurants many detrimental issues since it reared its ugly head from the depths of hell last year. Some issues were foreseeable, but many were not. One issue that everyone should have seen coming is that guests would value cleaning and sanitation above all else when dining at a restaurant.

Guests Want Clean Restaurants

Many potential guests are fearful that their health may be at risk when dining out. This comes from the public perception of Covid-19 being a problem. Since Covid-19 is being pushed night and day as a serious issue, people are taking it as a serious issue whether it is or not. Covid-19 aside, there is a legitimate argument about the health of guests in regards to cleaning and sanitation. Have you ever heard the saying: “It’s better to eat the sausage than to see how it’s made?” The point is that the processes that it takes to bring a guest his or her medium-rare steak and baked potato is a lot messier than he or she would want to see. That is the rule of thumb in restaurants, but should it be? The obvious answer is: No.

Change Needs to Happen

There are two things that need to change in restaurants in order to relay to guests that this restaurant is clean and safe: follow and enforce the restaurant cleaning and sanitation standards that have been in place for decades; and conduct these cleaning and sanitation standards in front of guests.

Be the Change

Cleaning and sanitation standards have been commonplace in restaurants for some time.  However, now is the time to execute them properly. I do not agree with many of the things that have come to pass since Covid-19 became a reality, but I do appreciate the push for higher standards of cleanliness. The problem is that most restaurant owners have let cleanliness fall by the wayside because it does not directly affect revenue. It is time to enforce these standards in all restaurants, not simply for “Covid Compliance”, but to show you care about the patrons who spend their hard-earned money at your establishment. Consumers are speaking out more than ever about their experiences through word of mouth and social media. Do not allow your restaurant to take on negative sentiment when you already have so much to deal with during these difficult times. Be the leader that evokes change in your restaurant culture.

Seeing is Believing 

As well, when executing cleaning and sanitation standards, make sure to do them in eyesight of your guests. According to a survey done by OpenTable in 2020, 72% of guests believe that strict cleaning standards are extremely important moving forward. If I were a restaurant owner, I would pay attention to any statistic that has at least 51% or more people saying the same thing. Appeal to this overwhelming majority by playing into the adage “seeing is believing”. If I see a server assistant using gloves, a hot soapy towel, and a sanitized towel to clean tables, booths, and chairs, then I am a lot more likely to feel comfortable with the restaurant that I am dining in. As well, I am more likely to return.

What’s Glove(s) Got to Do With It?  

A whole heck of a lot, actually. As a restaurant owner, you must always keep two groups content:  the health regulators and your guests. Both groups are looking for the same thing in this Covid-19 stricken world: cleanliness and sanitation. Put the standards in place that may be lacking using resources like the National Restaurant Association. Enforce these standards instead of looking at them as non-essential to revenue. Conduct these standards in front of your guests, so that they can rest assured that your restaurant is serious about their health. This is not about Covid-19. This is about defining a new restaurant culture that puts value on the food and the customer.

Covid-19 has changed our lives more than we could have ever imagined for good and bad. For the restaurant industry let Covid-19 cleaning standards be the new standard. There is no reason to let your restaurant fall back into the half clean state it was in before the pandemic.