Operating Safely GUIDE

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


Running a restaurant efficiently and safely should be guided by the following principles:

Health & Well-Being

Restaurants must demonstrate the importance placed on the health and well-being of their employees and customers. This may include posting policies including symptom checking, as well as publicizing employee measures (and support of employees) to customers. Help customers understand the new expectations and behave in safe ways.

Stay Nimble; Information is Fluid

This is a fluid environment and will evolve as things are tried, information is gathered, guidance from authorities changes, and customer responses are surveyed and understood. Be prepared to operate in an iterative way. Expect to make continuous adjustments and changes. Plan for multiple possible future scenarios. Observe results and track metrics.

Menu Dictates Space

A tighter, more focused menu allows kitchens to better plan labor and prep needs, and run a more sanitized kitchen. Refocus external communications to celebrate a carefully crafted, reduced menu. Focus on what you know guests will love, and tell a story that highlights what your restaurant does best. Consider pre-selling items to anticipate capacity and plan the dining floor.

Trusted Public Gathering Spaces

Embrace preparation and safety protocols as part of your restaurant's story. Establish yourself as a safe public space/beacon/gathering place. Become the trusted local destination that builds loyalty and signifies safety though your sanitation rigor.

Buffered, Sealed Back-of-House

Maintain a distinct separation between FOH and BOH. Social distancing in BOH may be challenging, and the FOH is exposed to many variables. Use expeditors as a buffer between those who can touch food and those who cannot. Designate separate entrances for FOH and BOH employees. Signal separation through visual cues (glove colors, aprons, head covering color) and make diners aware that a plan is in place.

Buffered, Contactless Front-of-House

FOH needs multiple layers or barriers reinforced by products, furniture, and staff structure in order to practice distancing by diners at every level. Main considerations include the table setting (minimal), how food is ordered (digital, disposable menus), and how food arrives (minimal/unified people who deliver).
Avoid common areas where staff tend to gather.

New Rituals & Positive Outlook

Don’t view regulations as onerous or challenging. Different doesn’t have to be negative. Seek opportunities to create new, lasting rituals, to signal safety, to claim new spaces, and to innovate.

Transparency & Communication

Incomplete or incorrect information poses a risk in this complex, unprecedented situation. Clear, concise, complete, consistent communication to employees and customers is critical, and will help boost efficiency, morale, and consumer sentiment.

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