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How to Restart Business Operations During COVID-19 with Food Safety Culture

by | Jun 30, 2020

Whether you run a restaurant, grocery store, or convenience mart, you need a business plan for recovery from COVID-19. As you restart business operations after the pandemic, the key is to invest in your food safety culture. Strengthening your food safety culture can not only help you regain customer confidence but also prepare you to weather future crises.

Here are three steps to get you started.

1. Get executive support.

Initiatives without support from leadership rarely succeed, which is why you must ensure top executives understand your rationale. Emphasize how a strengthened food safety culture can not only improve the company’s bottom line but also foster team cohesion and help meet corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives. To get and keep their buy-in, be sure to also seek their input when crafting your plan for improving your company’s food safety culture.

Above all else, it’s imperative that stakeholders in your leadership are truly committed to a food safety culture. This is especially true following the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers at a number of companies held walk-outs/sick-outs after requesting safer working conditions, because they felt management didn’t take them seriously. Putting safety over profits is the only way avoid these situations, which starts by making a commitment.

2. Prioritize employee buy-in.

To maintain the trust and loyalty of your employees and rebuild customer confidence, it’s important you take an employee-first approach to food safety. The goal is to ensure every employee knows both the “what” and the “why” of your food safety culture.

To achieve this goal, underscore the importance of a strong and consistent food safety culture through training and communications.

For example, now is the ideal time to brush off your training materials and update them to create new best practices for front-line employees. Shockingly, many organizations are still struggling with the basics: In fact, just over half of restaurants offer a training manual or food safety certifications. Formalizing your commitment to food safety culture cements its importance.

Be sure to emphasize the measures you’re taking to address health and safety following the pandemic. Clear and consistent communications — during team meetings and safety huddles, throughout your location and in breakrooms, and in team emails and text messages — help send the message home.

Customers don’t want rhetoric from businesses; They want to see visible commitments. That’s why it’s key for your employees to know what’s expected of them.

3. Share your plan with the public.

The final component of your reopening plan is to inform the public about your food safety culture. Following COVID-19, they’ll want to hear what strategies you’re using to ensure their health and safety. So, use all the communication channels at your disposal — from email and text messages to social media and in-store signage — to publicize the precautions you’re taking.

As you seek to reopen your restaurant, grocery store, or convenience mart, you need a plan to keep employees and customers safe. Central to that plan is a strong food safety culture. By fostering executive support, gaining employee buy-in, and sharing your plan with the public, you’re sure to be successful.

Ready to check out digital solutions that help communicate, track, and improve your food safety culture efforts? Click here to learn more about RizePoint’s COVID-19 and enterprise solutions that help you gather data, gain transparency, and initiate corrective action.

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