Hiring, Training & Rewarding Employees During COVID-19 (and Beyond)

A discussion with 3 industry leaders

By Vickie Holland

We recently had a round robin discussion with three Jan-San industry leaders. We asked them to weigh in on hiring, training and rewarding employees. We also asked how COVID-19 is changing these processes. Not surprisingly, there was some interesting overlap on the responses. The comments below have been lightly edited for clarity.

What changes are needed in your hiring process during COVID-19

Joseph Patrick Gaither (JPG):  Prior to the outbreak we had been moving to a paperless process and other than the in-person interview had successfully transitioned the process to be online. Moving forward we will conduct all interviews online. Although we feel that you lose some of the personal touch with this approach it is necessary to ensure the safety of our staff.

Melissa Usher (MU):  Arthur Jackson had to make a quick transition in becoming more remote and electronically accessible to our new incoming talent. Pre-COVID, our corporate recruiter would partner with management to hold in-person interviews either at the corporate office or in our client buildings. We would facilitate at least 2 large in-person new hire orientations at the corporate office. We no longer hold new hire orientation in-person. We had to move our interview process to over the phone or Zoom calls. New hire orientation paperwork has moved to DocuSign.

Judy David (JD) We are currently in a hiring freeze.  If we do get permission to hire, we will do screenings online, but in-person interviews will be with just a couple of people, as opposed to the panel style we typically use.   We’ll have to social distance and wear masks throughout.  We’ll also try to make it as paperless as possible. Right now, my focus is more on delivering the necessary disinfection with our current staff.

What are the 3 traits you look for when hiring new custodians?

JD: Some important traits to look for include strong work ethic, dependability, positive attitude and willingness to learn.

JPG: The three traits I value most are #1-Dependability: sustained employment, the ability to maintain professional employment, #2 Work ethic: understanding why we are all here- this is usually a topic of discussion during the work history conversation and #3- Genuine: someone that is honest or sincere. Nobody in our profession is perfect. I look for a staff member that can recognize an issue and engage in problem solving or solutions. But that won’t happen unless we can recognize issues and have that dialogue. I prefer a candidate that is genuine and not constantly trying to sell themselves.

MU: The traits we look for in any new custodian would be attitude/personality, work ethic and work history.

How do you keep your employees motivated?

MU: Motivation starts with the manager or supervisor at the work site. They get to know each of their employees and what makes them tick. They empower their employees by allowing them to have responsibility and flexibility over their day to day tasks. Our managers reward a job well done with pizza parties (as one example). 

JD: I have been known to sometimes dress in costume to motivate our team. I try to make it fun, no pride! Food is also a great motivator! Team breakfasts are great. I had a past program where I hid a note in an area to be cleaned. First custodian to find the note won “Lunch with Judy”. I loved this reward because I was able to sit down and have a quiet one on one chat with an employee and really get to know them. Handwritten thank you notes go a long way. We also like to reward and recognize employees with a leadership position.

JPG: Positive reinforcement! If you don’t recognize the behavior you want, you will get the behavior you recognize. We also do a lot of little things throughout the course of the year to celebrate milestones or recognize a job well done with lunches or water ice in the summer. Honestly the best practice is to be approachable and accessible to the staff, every day. When you walk the buildings always recognize your team members, compliment their work, thank them for showing up every day and doing a good job. Take 2 minutes out of your day to talk with them and see how they are doing, that small recognition and appreciation really goes a long way.

Any suggestions for Employee Safety during COVID-19?

MU: Be mindful of your PPE (do not wear your mask below your nose or on your chin), keep up on your hand washing hygiene, keep your distance, if sick, stay home. We are so focused on COVID that many employees are forgetting their other safety training. I highly recommend sending out safety tips and self-care reminders to your managers and front-line employees.

JPG:  We have been preaching universal precautions since the beginning of the outbreak. A great deal of the information related to the pandemic has been fluid, so early on we tried to prepare with an overabundance of caution. The advice I give to our staff is to treat their PPE as an essential tool necessary to perform their job, like a broom or a microfiber rag. PPE has always been essential to our organization, but in the last six months there is a greater focus and expectation from our employees and customers that we have been engaged in almost daily.

JD:  Wear your masks, don’t touch your face and wash your hands.  Wash them every time you take your gloves off.  Wash them before you take a break.  Wash them at the end of your shift.  Wash them because you pass a sink.  Universal precautions are as important now as ever.  If we don’t stay healthy, how can we keep everyone else healthy?  Also, did I mention you should wash your hands?

Imperial Dade offers free training programs to customers. Contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit http://www.imperialdade.com for a location near you.

8 Not-So-Scary Advantages of Ghost Kitchens

This may be the ideal time to open a new food concept!

By Laura Craven

Imagine you’ve always dreamed of opening a restaurant but the massive investment in the physical location, equipment, furniture, décor, labor, etc. was prohibitive. And, the time needed to build or remodel the space, develop the menu, train staff, pass inspections, and create a marketing campaign could take several months or even a year.

What if you could rent a turnkey commercial kitchen space for 10% or less of the initial cost to rent a traditional restaurant and hit the ground running within a matter of weeks? Impossible you say? Not if you use a ghost kitchen.

What is a ghost kitchen? Also known as “cloud”, “dark”, “delivery”, or “virtual”, ghost kitchens operate without the traditional front-of-house dining room and customer-facing store front. These shared foodservice hubs have been around for several years, arriving on the scene as delivery orders grew in popularity. Today, with dining rooms closed or restricted and more consumers adopting delivered meals, commercial kitchens designed for off-premise sales could be the answer for restauranteurs, both experienced and inspired newcomers.

The advantages of using ghost kitchens, in addition to the fractional rent, may include:

  • Strategically located in areas near many hungry customers
  • Parking and check-in stations for delivery drivers
  • Tech enabled facilities to support online ordering and status communications
  • Co-op purchasing opportunities
  • Marketing partnerships with third-party delivery services
  • Cleaning/sanitation services and HACCP support
  • Flexible leasing arrangements
  • Ability to change concepts with the seasons

A successful “virtual restaurant” still requires great food, hard work, and the ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace, but the barrier to entry is much lower.

Tips for a delivery-only model:

  • Streamline your menu for speed and off-premise quality
  • Offer unique menu items tailored for the demographics in your delivery area
  • Use the right technology application and data analytics for your business model
  • Price your offerings with applicable expenses in mind such as delivery fees
  • Use high-quality packaging to preserve temperature, texture, and appearance
  • Use tamper-evident bags and wrapped cutlery/napkin kits to ensure safety
Download the Off-Premise Packaging Guide

Today’s convenience-culture consumers are willing to pay more for having restaurant-quality food delivered. If you are interested in making your dream a reality, visit www.thekitchendoor.com for a list of ghost kitchens in your area. For a complimentary consultation on off-premise packaging, contact the experts at Imperial Dade. Visit www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.

Innovative Restaurant Tech Takes “Contactless” to a New Level

By Laura Craven

Many technologies have been around for years including online ordering apps, digital wallets, QR codes, and geotargeted digital marketing. However, the new requirements for contactless experiences, health monitoring, and other challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis have created opportunities for innovative platforms to help restaurants reach more customers, sell more food and beverage, and adhere to new requirements.  

Adoption of restaurant technology has been accelerated by the need to adapt and survive in today’s world.

“Restaurants are an important part of communities and the fabric of society. They are going through a hard time and tech companies and the broader ecosystem need to support them through it. ”

Ray Reddy, CEO of Ritual

Imagine being able to pay your check by simply smiling at your mobile phone. In this recent article published by Deigo Coquillat, the fusion of digital wallets and facial recognition is explored.

Technology can also help streamline activities, allowing for labor to be reallocated to other tasks. With labor averaging about 30% of a restaurant’s expenses, any opportunity to offset the cost of new expenses such as higher-quality packaging, managing curbside pick-ups, or frequent cleaning and disinfecting is critical.

Jennifer Marston asked the leaders of 8 restaurant tech companies about their philosophy in bringing new tools to the industry. She summed up their answers in her latest article in The Spoon. Concepts ranging from loyalty programs, staff health checks, and guest data management are discussed.

“Best in class hospitality tech platforms enable operators to offering experiences that meet changed guest expectations around health and safety, while helping them market to guests in a personalized manner.”

Jennifer Marston, The Spoon

Taking contactless experiences to a new level includes self-pouring beverage dispensers that are activated by scanning a QR code with a mobile device. Nancy Luna writes about Coca-Cola’s Freestyle Machines in Nation’s Restaurant News and explains the latest in sanitary self-serve beer taps and cloud-based menu options.  

“The idea is to be safe, seamless and fun.”

Michael Conner, Chief Architect of Coca-Cola Freestyle

New restaurant technology will continue to emerge and if those platforms improve guest experience, solve problems, and help operators succeed they will be valuable additions to the marketplace.

Versatile and Cost-Effective, Labels Have Been Used for Thousands of Years

Back in the 1930s, Stan Avery was frustrated with the messy process of applying glue to labels at the point of application. He created the self-adhesive label and ignited an entire industry.

Of course, labels go back a long time before Mr. Avery. Product identification was around in the days of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen. In fact, King Tut was buried with a collection of wine, the vessels all inscribed with information related to the contents. In the early 1700s, a French monk, Pierre Perignon, used handwritten parchment paper labels tied to a bottle of wine to maintain inventory. Fast forward to 1798 when Bavarian inventor Alois Senefelder invented lithography. Paper labels, mostly for wine and beer at that time, could now be mass produced. Drug labels were next on the timeline, developed in the mid-19th century, and included instructions and safety warnings. This was about the same time that the gummed postage stamp was created.

Today, labels are made from a variety of materials and adhesives and are used for a plethora of applications. They come in every shape, every color, and customization is a breeze. For small jobs you can even print them at home using label stock from, you guessed it, Avery brand products.

Here are 10 uses for labels in foodservice, beyond basic product identification.

  1. Tamper-evident labels for food and beverage packaging
  2. Coupons for repeat sales
  3. Tracking food safety and freshness information
  4. Merchandising for increased sales
  5. Branding on bags, cups, and containers
  6. Fastening bags and boxes
  7. Displaying special dietary attributes
  8. Sharing cooking and reheating instructions
  9. Decorating kids’ cups and containers
  10. Holiday greetings and promotions

For more information on labels for foodservice from top manufacturers, including Bollin Label Systems, please contact Imperial Dade. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.

How to Adopt Social Distancing Guidelines for Your Business

Although the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet, many businesses are starting to reopen their doors as some states scale back restrictions. Public health figures encourage the continuation of remote work where possible, but that’s not a feasible option for certain companies. Those who work in restaurants, retail stores, beauty salons, or other parts of the service industry have to return to their workplace to resume operations. Even some offices may need individual members present for important functions.

The bottom line is that, as more and more people get comfortable enough to venture into public spaces, businesses must ensure the safety of their patrons and workers by taking all of the necessary precautions, starting with social distancing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the best ways to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 is through social distancing. Social distancing requires all individuals to retain at least six feet of physical distance between themselves and others. The goal is to limit close contact with others, keeping yourself and, therefore, the public at large safe.

Although social distancing is crucial to workplace safety, it can also present challenges for those who are unsure of how to set up their businesses properly to comply with social distancing guidelines. We hope these tips act as a guide and provide you with a clearer picture of how to implement social distancing in your workplace.

  • LIMIT INDOOR CAPACITY: First and foremost, it’s important to understand that you cannot correctly carry out social distancing rules if you have a full house of clients and/or employees. You may have to limit indoor capacity, especially at the beginning stages of your reopening. This will allow you to perfect your safety procedures before allowing more people to visit.
  • REARRANGE SEATING & WORKSTATION AREAS: Move furniture as needed to ensure everyone has a six-foot radius of space around their area. This likely means less indoor seating and, if possible, moving outdoors. Another solution is to block off any areas that won’t be used; this way, you can safely distance people without dealing with the hassle of rearranging everything.
  • MARK WAITING LINES WITH FLOOR DECALS: Waiting lines can become a transmission area if people stand too close to each other. Ensure everyone follows social distancing rules by installing floor decals feet apart. One-way walking paths, indicated by floor decals, can also help minimize close contact.
  • INSTALL PLEXIGLASS PARTITIONS: For added security, install plexiglass partitions. These dividers work best in settings where people have to engage in face-to-face contact, such as retail cash registers, open-concept office areas, and restaurants.

Don’t forget: there are other precautions, besides social distancing, that you can follow to create a safe work environment.

Imperial Dade - Business Safety Precautions UPDATED

For more information on reopening guidelines or to buy the equipment and supplies needed to prepare your business to reopen, contact Imperial Dade today. For a location near you visit http://www.imperialdade.com.

Counterfeit Cleaning Products on the Rise During COVID-19

Hand sanitizers. Disinfectant wipes. Household chemical cleaners and so much more.

All of the different types of cleaning products that were readily available to consumers just a few short months ago are now nearly impossible to find at your local supermarket or wholesale stores. This shortage is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus that caused a worldwide panic also left a hole in the cleaning products supply chain, one that counterfeiters have taken advantage of by introducing poor quality products to the marketplace.

As COVID-19 intensified in early spring, shoppers flooded the stores in search of essential supplies and cleaned out all of the aisles of cleaning products and protective equipment. Commercial cleaning chemical demands also skyrocketed. With no supplies left in stores, fraudulent companies began marketing fake “brand-name” products on some online sites. These counterfeit cleaners are not tested and approved by trusted government sources, so they don’t actually “kill 99.99% of germs” like they claim to. Buyers who have been tricked into purchasing counterfeit products are still left exposed to bacteria, germs, and viruses.

On the other hand, genuine cleaning products are subject to vigorous testing by different government agencies, depending on their intended use. For example, disinfectants that claim to kill harmful bacteria are considered pesticides and, therefore, must register any active ingredients with the EPA and meet strict labeling requirements. Industrial general-purpose cleaners must also abide by the Hazardous Communication Standard and meet OSHA labeling requirements. Federal regulation ensures that chemical cleaners are not only safe to use, but also as effective as they claim to be.

 As a buyer of commercial or household chemicals, how can you identify between a genuine and fraudulent product?

Only purchase brand-name products from a reputable distributor or retailer. Make sure any disinfectants have an EPA registration number listed on the label. This number is proof that the product has been tested and approved by the EPA for use. If the label doesn’t carry a registration number, it may be counterfeit.

To make purchasing the right disinfectants easier for everyone, the EPA has created a simple online tool that identifies which disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. All you have to do is launch the application, found here, and input the initial two parts of the registration number. The program will display important information, including contact time and efficacy for emerging pathogens.

Once you have purchased an EPA-approved cleaner, make sure you’re using it correctly by following these steps:

Imperial Dade - Cleaning Instructions Updated 2

As always, if you have any questions regarding your cleaning products or techniques, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our chemical specialists at Imperial Dade. From Victoria Bay Peroxide Disinfectant Cleaner to Spin and Span Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray, we can help you find the best solution to stay safe. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation. For a location near you visit our website.

Warewashing, An Important Part of your Kitchen Sanitation Program

By Laura Craven

An effective warewashing program can ensure kitchenware cleanliness, enhance guest satisfaction, and save money. For this edition of The Expert Interview, I spoke to my colleague Angel Rodriguez. As a Regional Director of Chemical Sales at Imperial Dade, Angel oversees the Environmental Service Program. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Angel has a wealth of knowledge on the topic.

LC: What exactly is warewashing?

AR: Warewashing is the term associated with cleaning and sanitizing any kitchenware used in the preparation, serving, or storing of food. This would include pots and pans, cutlery, glasses, serving pans, and trays. Warewashing can be done by machine or manually. This process is a key factor in ensuring that a commercial kitchen provides a clean and safe dining experience for their customers.

LC: You mentioned cleaning and sanitizing. Can you explain the difference?

AR: Great question! Cleaning removes food and other debris from the surface of an item, such as a plate. Sanitizing is the next step. Sanitizing kills the microorganisms and germs on the cleaned surface, making it safe for food contact.

LC: I think we all have an understanding of manual warewashing. It’s what we do at home, correct?

AR: Yes, but in a commercial environment there are specific steps and regulations. At home you may wash a plate with retail detergent, dry it, and put it away. In a restaurant you must wash the plate with a commercial-grade detergent, rinse, and then sanitize in water that contains 200 parts per million of sanitizer. That last step is the one that causes the most challenges. For example, if the water is too hot, the sanitizer will not be maintained at the appropriate level.

LC: And if that happens, is the sanitizing step compromised?

AR: Yes, and if a health inspector performs a test, it will result in a violation. It is really important to have a proper 3-compartment sink system, use the correct products and follow procedures.

LC: Does using a dish machine make the process easier for the operator?

AR: Commercial dish machines require less labor and, especially in large establishments, are much more efficient than manual washing. But there are still procedures and maintenance that need to be performed.

AR: First, the operator must consider the best type of machine. There are many sizes and configuration ranging from a small under-counter model, which would be appropriate in a bar area or small café, to a large conveyor model used in a hotel. These machines operate at high or low temperatures. Low temperature machines are less expensive and more energy efficient, but require more chemicals. There are trade-offs that need to be analyzed.  Every situation is unique. This is why it is important for operators to work with an experienced supplier, one that will take the time to determine the best system for their needs.

LC: Okay, once the correct equipment is chosen and installed, what are the steps to make sure the program runs smoothly.

AR: Scheduled preventative maintenance is crucial. A technician will change chemical lines, squeeze tubes, and dilution tips to make sure that the proper amount of detergent and chemicals are being used by the machine. These items can wear out, and if neglected can shut down the system. This can cause a major halt to a kitchen while waiting for an emergency service call.

ID_ESP_restaurant

AR: Using the right detergents and chemicals for the machine type is another important factor. The warewashing system components operate together so substituting or leaving out products will cause problems, can result in health code violations, or worse, it can make people sick.

LC: Sounds like there is a lot more to a warewashing program than simply washing dishes.

AR: It is a very important process in a kitchen sanitation program, however when set up and maintained correctly, it will free up kitchen staff and managers to focus on their menu and their guests’ satisfaction.

LC: Thanks, Angel!

Angel Rodriguez, as well as Imperial Dade’s team of Chemical Managers, are available to consult with foodservice operators on warewashing systems. Angel can be reached at arodriguez@imperialdade.com.

 

Restaurants, Consider Switching to Linen-Replacement Napkins for a More Sanitary Option

By Laura Craven

Linen napkins have long been considered a necessity by many restaurants. However, with heightened concerns about sanitation, now is a good time to consider linen-replacements.

With the latest in paper-making technology, linen-replacement napkins are practical, economical, and can support an upscale brand image. Here are a few things to consider when choosing between linen and paper linen-replacement napkins.

Why Linen-replacement Napkins

  • Linen-replacement napkins are sanitary and require less handling before use by the guest.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are perfect for off-premise applications and can be included in upscale wrapped cutlery kits.
  • Good quality linen-replacement napkins are about $0.04 – $.0.06 each.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are available in many styles, sizes, colors, and patterns. They can also be printed and embossed to create branding opportunities for restaurants.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are very absorbent and soft. One napkin typically lasts an entire meal.

 

Why Not Linen Napkins

  • Linen napkin rentals can range from $0.75 on the low end to over $3 on the high end. Additional costs include pick-up and delivery fees, laundering, storage bags, and replacement for lost or damaged napkins.
  • Linen napkins are typically handled by many people between the time they are laundered, transported, folded or rolled, and placed on the dining table. This creates many opportunities for contamination.
  • Linen napkins are treated with chemicals during laundering, which reduce their absorbency over time and make them rough to the touch. This results in customers requesting additional napkins, often paper, to wipe their hands and clean up spills.
  • Linen napkins are stored in bags or totes after use along with food particles, grease, and other debris from the dining tables. This creates an unsanitary environment attracting insects and rodents.
  • Linen napkins are stored and laundered with other linen items including table cloths, uniforms, and towels all of which can introduce contaminants to the load.
  • Linen napkins have a higher carbon footprint than paper when you factor in fabric manufacturing, napkin manufacturing, continuous transportation, laundering, plastic wrapping, and ultimate disposal.

To learn more about the many linen-replacement options available, contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant. For a location near you, visit our website.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

To schedule a personal consultation, please contact us and we’ll have a representative respond as quickly as possible.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.