Operating Safely GUIDE

How restaurants and foodservice operations can adopt safe practices while operating efficiently


Restaurant management is a demanding affair, and operating in the face of a global pandemic has proved challenging for all – but successful for some. There are national and local laws to comply with, and industry recommendations from numerous sources to consider. The landscape changes quickly with every news cycle, evolving public sentiment, and updates to public health information. The process involves people’s livelihoods and emotions – for managers, employees, suppliers, and customers. There is no single flowchart or checklist, and every restaurant and locale are unique.

These guidelines are intended to help you navigate your unique situation. You will, of course, need to find and follow official laws and requirements from federal and state sources like the CDC, FDA, OSHA, local governor’s office, and local health department. Failure to do so can result in shutting down businesses and entire towns.

At US Foods®, we believe in the power of food and service to give people a chance for a better future. We want to empower people with both nourishment and opportunity. We strive to help you surpass your best, using our collaborative spirit and commitment to service. These guidelines are part of our mission to serve you as consultants and business partners, bringing personalized solutions to the table to fit each customer's needs.

This information is guidance only. It does not constitute legal, medical or safety advice, nor is it a formal endorsement or recommendation of a particular response.

Resources & references

A brief synopsis of useful information sources*

White House & CDC
  • Phased Guidelines
    1. Drive-through, curbside takeout, or delivery
    2. Limited dine-in capacity
    3. Increased dine-in capacity
  • High Level and relevant to all industries
  • Specific Guidelines for Certain Industries, e.g. Grocery & Food Retail
  • Assume Restaurants & Bars is coming
  • Best Practices for Reopening
  • Today, only covers Phase 1: Pick-up and Delivery; no guidance on
  • Defers to CDC where FDA & CDC may differ
Your State
  • Laws & Regulations, specific to your state & city's timeline
  • Also: Guidance; language may say “consider”
  • Will cover Phase 2 reopening specifics (limited dine-in capacity)
  • Will differ by state
  • e.g. Mask-wearing laws
  • e.g. Employee temperature-taking
  • Best Practices nationwide; template document to be modified per state
  • Links to CDC, FDA, State information (clearinghouse)
  • Peer information sharing & guidance, including implicit standards & lessons learned

*Reflects guidance from sources published prior to May 5, 2020. Current guidance may vary.