How restaurants are finding ways to limit contact amid COVID-19

By | June 9, 2020

WINNIPEG — With restaurants now reopen across Manitoba, efforts are underway to adjust and adapt to the new normal — with that comes a push to limit contact as much as possible.

“As part of our reopening protocols we obviously created a new normal,” said Shaun Jeffrey, Executive Director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

Visiting a restaurant during the pandemic is visibly different. Restaurants are taking measures to maximize sanitation, outlining specific guidelines for their patrons, distancing tables, employees are wearing masks, and on many occasions, they’re using floor stickers to indicate where people can and can’t go.

But many restaurants are also changing the way you order your food — in an effort to limit contact.

Jeffrey said some restaurants have introduced single-use menus, while others are going digital.

“We’re actually seeing a lot of restaurants utilizing their websites, where you go to their websites and are able to activate and review their menu on that website,” said Jeffrey.

“We take advantage of the fact everybody has a cellphone these days to be able to access that, and it’s a safe way to be able to get the proper information, and that way you can still see things like pictures and menu information, calorie contents and so forth.”

One of those restaurants is Confusion Corner Drinks + Food. It has put a QR code on all of its tables which can be scanned, using a phone or mobile device, to access their menu.

“You can just open the camera on your phone and it brings you right to our website, which has the menu open on it. That way we’re not wasting menus every single time,” said Hillary Olson, Floor Manager at Confusion Corner Drinks + Food.

“This way we’re not using single-use menus and we’re not risking the transfer of germs or anything like that.”

Olson said it was an adjustment for patrons, but once they realized how easy it was, they were on board.

A DIGITAL FUTURE

As restaurants adjust their operations, the option of going digital has proven beneficial — and could become the new normal for restaurants.

“We’re already starting to see some restaurants move from the disposable menus to electronic and online options for their menus,” said Jeffrey.

Jeffrey said there also several benefits for restaurants as they make the switch to digital menus.

He said many restaurants are utilizing everything they can in their establishment to provide the best service possible.

“They’re taking advantage of these visual devices to be able to do things like specials, what’s on tap, display their menu, and what’s on special tonight. They’re using these TV’s as menu boards,” said Jeffrey.

Olson said they’re recognizing the benefits at Confusion Corner.

“We’ve been able to update the menu as we’re running out of things or changing the features if we need to, which has made it a lot easier,” she said.

The idea is to reduce contact as much as possible while still providing the same dining experience.

“We’re trying to implement measures that are keeping them as safe as possible and limit some contact if necessary but we definitely don’t want to take out the whole dining experience,” said Jeffrey.

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