Dine-in isn’t the only area restaurants need to apply stricter safety practices. The same goes for off-premise dining to retain customers. With the Delta variant surge, these takeout tips will help operators keep their guests and staff comfortable and safe.

In a recent Essity survey, 60 percent of consumers have higher expectations of restaurant hygiene. With the Delta variant only adding to the burden on the industry, operators need to step up safety measures for delivery, takeout, and drive-thru operations.

To secure hygiene for off-premise dining means considering every stage of the foodservice process—from kitchen to handover. This guide from Essity gives operators practical tips to ensure staff and customer safety and keep business running smoothly.

Safety Starts with Staff

Your kitchen staff is your front line in food safety. Secure kitchen and employee hygiene with the following tips:

  1. Support great hand hygiene: Ensure staff knows how and when to wash hands. Staff should wash hands with soap and water and always use a clean paper towel to dry.
  2. Keep handwashing stations stocked: Ensure handwashing stations stocked with soap and hand towels before each shift to reduce interruptions and ensure compliance.
  3. Clean systematically: Use cleaning checklists, with a ‘clean as you go’ policy. Each employee is responsible for cleaning his or her area throughout the shift.
  4. Limit cross-contamination: Divide the restaurant into zones according to cross-contamination risks. Assign a color to each zone and only use that color for cutting boards and wipes. Never move tools between zones and always wash hands when changing workstations.

Tork Takeaway

The takeout bag is key to ensuring food safety in transit. It is also an opportunity to reassure and engage with guests. Set your takeout, drive-thru, and delivery operations up for success with these tips from Essity’s Tork® brand:

  • Handle packaging with care: Be mindful of hygiene when packing takeout bags — always ensure proper hand hygiene to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Give guests hygiene products to go: Equip takeout bags with napkins, wipes, and other appropriate hygiene products, especially for drive-thru guests.
  • Add a personalized note: Reassure guests by adding a note in takeout bags outlining steps you’ve taken to ensure a hygienic experience.
  • Use tamper-proof packaging: Something as simple as a sticker to seal packaging signals to guests they can feel comfortable with the integrity of their food order.

Branded Safety

Get your message across by adding your brand to napkins, wipes, and tamper-proof seals on takeout and delivery products. That way, hygiene is part of the guest experience and signals safety to guests. It also helps with brand-building and increases the chance for a revisit! Tork offers custom printing on a variety of napkins, including those from the Tork Xpressnap® and Tork LinStyle® product ranges for operators to provide to customers.

Delivery Done Right

Give delivery staff the right tools needed to keep up with hygiene at every step. Provide sanitizers, wipes, and facemasks to them while they drop off orders. Offer guests no-touch deliveries by using online payment and by sending text alerts or calling when deliveries have arrived rather than performing in-person handovers. If working with a third-party company, research their food safety handling policy since they will represent your business and brand.

Pickup Safety Practices

Pickup is just as important as delivery to provide a safe and hygienic experience. Limit risk and interaction by setting up clearly marked zones separating waiting areas for dine-in and pickup. Alternatively, let guests arriving by car pick up their food curbside, or create a separate pickup point or kiosk outside so guests don’t have to come in. As always, providing napkins, foodservice wipes, and sanitizers to pickup customers is always a good measure to show them their safety is top priority.

Promoting good hygiene and safety practices, reassuring guests at every step, is critical to a restaurant’s success. With these tips, operators can be confident that they are going above and beyond to keep their guests and employees safe and happy.

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