How has COVID-19 changed the commercial kitchen?
There’s no doubt the hospitality sector has suffered more than most from the stop-start nature of social distancing restrictions, with commercial kitchens across Europe having to adapt to ever-changing government law and consumer expectations around dining.
Widespread vaccination programmes offer fresh hope that the industry will return to some sort of normality within the coming months, although some of the new safety and hygiene practices put in place could be here to stay indefinitely.
So, what’s changed? Hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars have always adhered to hygiene regulations in some way, but it’s hoped that the latest operational changes could ensure our favourite eateries are safer than ever for both staff and customers alike:
Mass use of PPE to mitigate risk of transmission
Many commercial spaces have had to stagger staff start and end shift times, reduce the total amount of staff working together at any one time, and allow for proper cleaning down of the kitchen and work surfaces.
Because it can be difficult for those working in commercial kitchens to always maintain social distancing, the requirement for high-quality, durable facemasks and workwear has reached far beyond already cautious few establishments pre-pandemic.
Whether operating as a takeaway only business or allowing customers in to dine; face shields, masks, gloves and employee temperature checks are now commonplace in the commercial kitchen.
Personal hygiene and enhanced training
Innovative ways of getting staff up to speed with new regulations in the kitchen meant training commercial kitchen workforces was sometimes inconsistent and had to happen in a hurry.
Going forward when the industry reopens, a focus on restaurant and bar managers taking time out to plan regular training of safety and hygiene measures expected of them will help brush up on areas for improvement so that teams remain extra compliant.
Changing business models
Diversify or disappear appears to have been the motivation for many commercial eateries and mobile caterers to move out of the traditional way of cooking and selling food. This has led to a dramatic rise of collection-only and food delivery.
This shift has meant many commercial kitchens have been able to remain operation and maintain cashflow within the government guidelines, but it remains to be seen whether this business model will stay long-term given that delivery of food to customers involves an added level of health and safety compliance.
How can we help?
Wearwell’s comprehensive range of hospitality workwear is tailor made for ease of movement, comfort and safety, so that staff can look professional and feel comfortable, all while making sure they meet British and European PPE safety standards.
Our Washable Antibacterial Face Masks are particularly useful when needing comfort as well as safety in a kitchen environment, with a mouldable nose bridge and lightweight feel, they can also be washed up to 20 times for regular use.