Safety in School Nutrition Programs

Despite different backgrounds, life experiences and age, a common educational experience exists – school foodservice. Whether a student eats in the lunchroom, classroom or simply stops by a grab-and-go kiosk, safety for students is top of mind this fall.

Changing to distance or hybrid learning has changed the way schools provide meals to students, too. Depending on state-by-state regulations, many schools across the nation have not fully returned to in-person instruction. Some schools are providing both to-go bag lunches for home and meals for classrooms. While there are many variables to how schools are managing this, one thing is for sure: School lunches are very important for many students.

Each day, 30 million students are served by the National School Lunch Program, many of whom rely on this offering as a means for nutritious, healthy food.

Automated Labeling for School Meal Programs

This year it is much harder to maintain safety standards with a traditional lunchroom format of service. Schools have adapted by mobilizing staff to bring lunches to classrooms or team up with bus drivers on their routes to deliver to students at home. This delivery style lunch continues coverage, but also increases the importance of proper labeling. Allergies, dietary restrictions and nutrition regulations must continue to be considered – printing these crucial pieces of information clearly on labels makes assessment easy and ensures a safe meal for every student.

Utilizing Clear Labeling for Prep & Food Packaging

Operators are also still focused on serving healthy student meals while taking food allergies and sensitivities into consideration. Changing dietary needs and regulations, compounded with allergies, means school foodservice operators are hypersensitive when it comes to protecting students. The DateCodeGenie® system prints labels for grab-and-go, prep, allergens and more at the touch of a button – and can be customized for your school’s unique needs. Meals can even be individually labeled with student names to ensure safety and prevent mix-ups. Plus, this intuitive system can be controlled from a centralized district or campus location to streamline and save time. Labeling becomes easy, safe and efficient so that you can focus on keeping students safe.

With the Date Code Genie®, school foodservice operators can:
  • Quick-print labels for frequently prepped items
  • Label entire meals or individual portions made for grab-and-go
  • Easily customize labels with school logo, branding and even student names
  • Display ingredients, allergens & nutrition information clearly on labels
  • Control multiple district schools in one place

Multiple label adhesives are available, including a tamper-evident style that assures delivered meals have not been compromised. Date Code Genie systems provide benefits to school foodservice operations both immediately and well into the future.

Visit our website and speak with your Imperial Dade representative about purchasing a Date Code Genie for your school or other foodservice operation.

Which Building Rating System is Right for your Facility?

As the economy starts its slow path to recovery and employees return to the workforce, many are wondering what the future workplace will look like after COVID-19. Organizations across the world have reassessed and revamped sanitation practices, furniture layouts, and protective measures. Still, it’s difficult to determine whether these changes will be effective in creating a safe and healthy work environment without outside professionals’ help. That’s why so many business owners elect to utilize safety rating systems to prepare their establishment in the post-COVID world.

At its core, a safety rating system is designed to help an organization cultivate and maintain a workplace that enhances its occupants’ health and wellness. Take a look at some of the benefits offered by these programs.

No two safety rating systems are the same. Below, we will outline some the differences between the GBAC STAR Facility Rating System and the WELL Health and Safety Rating System to help you make the best choice.

GBAC STAR Facility Rating System

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) rating system, better known as the STAR Facility Accreditation program, is designed to help organizations establish a comprehensive plan for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention. Successful completion of the program requires organizations to demonstrate they can prepare, respond, and recover from biological threats, such as the coronavirus.

To earn this accreditation, organizations must meet the 20 different criteria listed in the STAR Program Elements. Organizations that acquire this accreditation meet the gold-standard of cleanliness and safety in their industry. Furthermore, their staff has the knowledge and tools to provide a safe environment for employees and customers alike.

The GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation program is available for organizations across a list of industries — daycares, restaurants, hotels, schools, stadiums, doctor’s offices, etc.

Take the Readiness Assessment test to see how your business holds up or learn more about GBAC here.

WELL Health and Safety Rating System

The WELL Health and Safety rating system focuses on workplace well-being as opposed to strict infectious disease prevention. They take a holistic approach to health and safety by encompassing factors such as comfort and resiliency when developing an effective program.

To earn this rating, organizations must meet 15 out of the 21 possible criteria across five categories:

  • Cleaning and sanitation procedures
  • Health service resources
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Air and water quality management

Once certified, organizations must uphold the strict quality standards year after year to qualify for the rating system’s renewal.

Imperial Dade impacts the cleaning, sanitation, and hygiene portion of each rating system. To learn more about our COVID-19 resources or cleaning and janitorial supplies, contact us today! Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.

How to Get Kids Back in School Safely & Healthier Than Ever

By Jameka Carter

As schools start to reopen, the health and safety of the children have become a top priority. Many schools are starting back up virtually, but plan to bring students back into buildings soon. However, parents are concerned about sending their children to school during a pandemic and want to know what changes will be made to ensure their safety. Teaching kids about healthy habits starts at home, but it doesn’t have to end there. Schools play an important role in educating students as well. By promoting good hygiene, providing hand washing programs and installing proper cleaning supplies, schools can educate and equip children for healthier habits.

Schools must prove they are doing everything they can to keep students safe and healthy while in their care.

40% of parents worry their children will suffer from a lack of hygiene at school. Their parental concerns are based on their children’s experience. 86% of school children avoid using the toilets at school, and nearly half of all parents point to unhygienic conditions at the cause. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Schools must prove they are doing everything they can to keep students safe and healthy while in their care. By insisting that school bathrooms and individual classrooms be properly cleaned and sufficiently supplied with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer, parents can allay their children’s fears, reduce health-related absenteeism, and create a more relaxed, confident and productive learning environment.

People are aware that handwashing is important, but they don’t make it a habit. It’s time to start teaching students how to wash their hands. Fortunately, teaching handwashing isn’t something schools need to take on alone. There are many programs to help educate children about hand hygiene, from Global Handwashing Day to handwashing programs pointed out by the Center for Disease Control.

Fewer illnesses mean fewer trips to the doctor, less use of antibiotics, and more time in class.

Handwashing can reduce illnesses and keep kids in school. A recent study shows that kindergartners and first graders in the U.S. are chronically absent more than 10% of days within a school year. The report goes on to say that “students who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read at a grade level by third grade – which makes them four times more likely to drop out of school.” When children are taught how to properly wash their hands, fewer illnesses will occur. Fewer illnesses mean fewer trips to the doctor, less use of antibiotics, and more time in class.

Imperial Dade offers quality hand hygiene and restroom supplies from top manufactures including Essity, creators of this infographic available for download. Contact your Imperial Dade Representative today for a restroom site survey and product recommendations. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.

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.

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.

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.