Tips on responding to customer comments

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The pandemic is hitting the restaurant industry incredibly hard. Most eateries are still figuring out how to move forward with their new normal. As we learn more about COVID-19, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidelines and considerations for restaurants and bars to follow to slow the spread of the disease while also being open for business and serving customers.

According to the CDC, the more people interact with each other, and the longer they interact, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19. They’ve looked at the industry and categorized the risk level:

  • Lowest risk: Service limited to drive through, delivery, take out and curbside pickup.
  • More risk: Drive through, delivery, take out and curbside pickup along with limited outdoor dining with tables spaced at least six feet apart.
  • Even more risk: Indoor and outdoor dining, with tables spaced at least six feet apart.
  • Highest risk: Indoor and outdoor dining with seating capacity not reduced.

As restaurants begin to open up again, customers may be wary of taking the risk to dine in. Other customers may be frustrated with the shutdown. They’re longing to get back to the way things were. Either way, customers will have questions and concerns. In this new normal, restaurant owners and employees have the additional task of responding to customer comments rooted in uncertainty. They need to readily provide information to customers, answering questions, and addressing concerns.

What are diners asking?

Here are a few common questions that servers are hearing from customers in this brave new world.

Do I need to wear a mask?

 Some customers are confused about how and when to wear a mask. They may need some guidance. Typically, they should wear masks as they walk through the restaurant to their table, and again if they use the restroom. Servers and other employees should all be wearing masks during their shifts. Restaurant should post signage about mask wearing rules and enforce those rules.

How is the restaurant cleaned? Is it sanitized? 

Sanitation is always crucial in restaurants, but there has never been a greater need for disinfecting and sanitizing than there is now. Customers will want to know how often you clean and disinfect surfaces like door handles, cash registers, bathroom stalls, countertops and tables. Completely sanitizing your restaurant before closing at night, opening in the morning, or between lunch and dinner is fast and easy with innovative sprayer technology. Once your cleaning staff are trained to use it, your servers can confidently tell customers the restaurant is disinfected with the most innovative tools on the market.

Why do I see empty tables when I had to wait for my table? 

This is one of the most common customer questions or complaints in this new era. In some parts of the country, seating capacity is a matter of your restaurant’s policy. However, in many states, establishments are prohibited from operating at more than 50% capacity. That means lots of empty tables. It’s about social distancing, and keeping customers and employees safe. Refer to the CDC’s guidelines, citing the increased risk level with tables not adequately spaced.

How can I be sure my food is safe to eat? 

Here, it’s important to emphasize employee hygiene and health. Restaurants are always stringent on hand-washing. However, these days it’s even more essential. The CDC recommends frequent employee hand washing before, during and after food prep, after touching garbage and after clearing dishes. The guidelines recommend 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water. Also, many restaurants and retail establishments are requiring employees to have their temperatures checked before clocking in for a shift.

As restaurants open back up for dine-in business, it’s important to assure customers that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. With a heightened focus on sanitization, we can settle into this new normal.

Need a fast, effective sanitization solution for your restaurant? EnviroPro Solutions’ easy-to-operate electrostatic sprayers can disinfect surfaces in a matter of minutes and sanitize up to 23,000 ft2 on a single tank of chemical solution.