The decision for many food industry business owners to resume operation is often a choice between health and livelihood.
And the choice to patronise these businesses is left on the customers’ shoulders.
In some parts of Australia, the restrictions on pubs and restaurants in light of COVID-19 restrictions will reportedly be eased further. But the reality is, the virus is still active and rampant, which is why it is highly likely that the number of infected people will continue to rise.
A major contributing factor to the rise of Covid-19 cases is the inability of people to maintain social distancing (the act of remaining approximately 6 feet away from others to stop the spread of COVID-19) – both in the dining area and in the kitchen.
Why don’t people comply?
People still forget
When people are detached from a situation, they tend to demonstrate less attention to it. This is why it is the frontliners or those who know someone who has fallen sick to the virus who are more likely to adhere to guidelines. When people have not yet faced that kind of reality, they are unable to see the importance of social distancing. Thus, it is far from their minds.
People can also simply, forget. Some people have a lot of things going in their minds.
A research from Stanford suggests that the belief that handwashing or disinfecting is enough can make some people less likely to practice social distancing. The research also suggests that non-compliance can be due to beliefs that society is over-reacting to this pandemic.
They want to take back control of their lives.
Sometimes, people do not comply as an act of defiance.
It is no secret that everyone felt a sense of helplessness when the lockdowns started, and people have been cooped up. Some are unable to manage to lose that control in their lives, and this is why they tend to fight that control – to feel alive once more.
Some people believe they are invincible to sickness or injury, which can also be another manifestation of establishing some control.
Denial can be a manifestation of fear.
When the possibility of having themselves or a loved one suffer and potentially die in this illness, it can be too frightening to contemplate. When faced with grim situations, some people tend to shut it off and ignore it. And because of this, it is a tricky thing to compel people to change their behaviour when people are afraid.
Addressing this challenging issue:
Since maintaining social distance is challenging for many people, it is up to your team to enforce this in your business premises.
There are many creative measures that restaurants all over the world have started implementing.
However, for this article, let’s focus on social distancing signages and reminders. Because much information about Covid-19 has already been made public and accessible, one of your main goals is to REMIND people why social distancing is essential.
Your diners are your responsibility. Now and then, you will encounter people who intervene and take matters into their own hands when in the presence of people who are not following social distancing. This is risky, and no one wants arguments and confrontations, especially when people are now having a deeper appreciation for dining out. Your job is to make your diners enjoy this renewed luxury.
Make use of social distancing signages to remain compliant with the current health and safety recommendations.
1. Make use of social distancing signages to complement other social distancing safety measures.
Signages are the most visible communication tool that you can use. When you place social distancing signs inside and outside your business premises, you demonstrate seriousness in this issue.
While customers are considered “always right”, this “rule” is frowned upon when customers blatantly violate health and safety measures. As an owner or manager, you can exercise your right to impose safety rules for the rest of your dining customers.
Social-distancing signs remind your staff and customers of the importance of social distancing without having a staff to tell them now and then.
2. Check readability and wording of signages.
Use signage that not only immediately gets your attention but also provides easy- to- process information on why social distancing is necessary.
Signage that is cramped with information may not be enticing to read. Too much wording and too many visuals can be confusing. People won’t know where to look.
Design considerations are essential. You can choose to personalise your signs using humour or your branding “speak” while avoiding crude and offensive language.
There are a variety of free digital resources that you can print out. For a more professional look, you can order custom made signs with your business branding in mind.
3. Strategic placement of signs and messages.
You can post social-distancing signs anywhere on your business premises, to remind customers and staff of its importance.
Excellent locations for social-distancing signage include:
Floors – Often when in a queue, people are face down at their phones without noticing that they are moving closer to the person in front of them. Floor decals can call the customer’s attention where to position themselves as they wait, either to be seated or while in the checkout queue.
Sidewalks – Signs placed on sidewalks aim to grab a customer’s attention as the individual passes.
Entryways – This is a highly visible location where your main advertising signage is also placed.
Other prime locations are doors, storefronts, windows, overhead/hung from ceilings, common areas, and more.
Combine indoor and outdoor message displays to maintain safe business operations with minimal interruption of service.
4. Choose the right quality of signage materials.
You can choose from a variety of materials, but some are more popular due to their effectiveness, affordability and display options.
- Floor Decals – Look for vibrant graphics with quality adhesive to ensure durability from foot traffic. The material must be slip-resistance.
- Carpet Stickers – Ensure that they securely stick to low-pile carpet, thin and slip-resistant.
- Decals and Static Clings – Display colourful, adhesive decals on your window, glass panels, glass door. There are semi-permanent options should you wish to display a new social-distancing message.
- Poster – Dare to have large signs so that your social-distancing message can surely catch attention!
- Banner – This is one of the most straightforward signage applications to install since a banner can be hung from just about anywhere.
- A-Frame Sign – This should be made of durable plastic to withstand outdoor conditions. Your social-distancing messaging is placed directly on either side of the frame. You can choose to have a permanent print or one with plastic inserts for easy removal and replacement of your messaging.
- Street and Sidewalk Decals – Should be weather resistant, slip-resistant, and conformable to rough or uneven surfaces.
Many people find social distancing to be a challenge, and it is your responsibility to remind them when they are inside (or even outside) your business premises.
Signs with social distancing reminders can help keep your customers and staff understand the requirements for safe distancing in public. When customers feel safe in your restaurant, they are able to enjoy themselves while you keep them as safe as possible.
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,