The Greater Good
The Future of Food Service after COVID-19
COVID-19 and the social distancing measures enacted to slow its spread have forced non-essential businesses to adapt and adopt new ways of doing business. With widespread worry and tightened restrictions…what does the future of foodservice actually look like?
THE FUTURE: MENTAL HEALTH
As of April 7, 95% of Americans (306 million) are under stay-at-home orders and millions are without work. At the very least, these changes are creating emotional uncertainty, while others are suffering from financial and family loss.
HOW CAN FOODSERVICE PROVIDE MORE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT?
As people slowly filter back into office life, the emotions will run high. Now is the time for our service teams to amp up empathy. Take the extra minute to put themselves in their guest shoes and take the extra second to offer a friendly hello or smile.
As a foodservice partner, we’re fully engrained into the businesses we serve. As members of the front line, we need to understand and communicate the available support options being offered.
THE FUTURe: SOCIAL DISTANCING
We’ve spent the past few years bringing people together. While we’re slowly closing the 6ft. social barriers—regulations and emotional barriers still exist.
HOW CAN FOODSERVICE CREATE CLOSENESS IN A DISTANCED WORLD?
Community tables have always been the signature of a well-connected culture. Now, we need to provide the same sense of community in a safer way. Use signage to split up community tables, highlight more intimate seating options, or even utilize plastic barriers to keep the conversations—and the safety running smoothly.
We always strive to create an experience that bonds our guests and chefs. Try implementing new ways to keep the conversation open by using plastic barriers, video screens, or social media content.
THE FUTURE: FOOD SAFETY
As a leader in foodservice, we’ve always been on high-alert when it comes to safety standards. Today, it’s on everyone’s radar. We need to search for new and smarter ways to keep people safe and communicate its importance.
HOW CAN FOODSERVICE ENHANCE EVEN THE BEST SAFETY STANDARDS?
38% of guests say they’re most concerned with touching food items others have touched—which means buffet options may need to be adjusted to pre-assembled meals served in safety-conscious packaging.
Source: Bar & Restaurant Expo 2020
Masks, gloves, and sanitizing/hand-washing stations should be considered a new norm for the next 6 months. Make sure to add these to high-traffic areas, but don’t forget to communicate their importance and proper use.
Scientists are shining new light on naturally-sanitizing materials. If building or renovating an existing space, utilize materials like copper, UV light, and easy-clean building materials.
Some companies have gone the extra mile to implement new health and safety management positions. If possible, create a role specifically to understand and manage the safety and security of the food and guests.
Institutions and healthcare facilities will need to consider how they can incorporate health and safety into a seamless customer experience without sacrificing other consumer expectations of their brand’s quality.
Want to learn more about what LifeWorks is doing to help organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we can help you?