All over the country, Vaccine Requirements for restaurants are requiring guests to show their COVID vaccine cards or negative COVID tests to dine at the establishment. In Chicago, the mandate was effective January 3, 2022, for all indoor dining establishments. If you operate a restaurant, coffee shop, brewery, winery, hotel ballroom, or banquet hall (or any in-person food-and-beverage facility), this impacts you.
COVID has added a layer of complexity to this ever-changing world. Now more than ever venues need to continue serving the public while keeping them safe. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that it is important to stay ahead of the curve. Do you want to help guests feel comfortable? Then show them that you can provide an environment of enjoyment and safety.
Under the new mandate, all venues are required to review the vaccination cards for any guest ages 5 and up. This step – while simple on paper – can make or break the dining experience for your valued patrons. In this current climate, your team and their training are going to be important to navigate this next phase of the Return to Normal.
But how does a facility ready themselves for this additional layer of requirements, while still creating a welcoming environment?
The essential and simple answer boils down to one thing…STAFF!
But it’s not just about having a warm body at the door. It’s about having the right staff. This piece of the puzzle cannot be underestimated. Here are the top things to consider when it comes to staying on the right side of the mandate as an indoor dining establishment. If you do it properly, you can still maintain the warm and welcoming hospitality your guests have come to know and expect.
HAVE DEDICATED COVID VACCINE CHECKING EMPLOYEES.
The first step in the whole line of dominos is having specific people in place to fulfill this critical step of vaccination card review. In a climate where staffing is key, and for an already stretched team, this can be a stressful issue.
Appointing a host/hostess to take on this role can seem like an easy fix. But given the significance of the vaccine requirements for restaurants mandate, saddling a dedicated host with this role may end up taking away from the hospitality experience. Your front-of-house team would likely agree that their focus would rather be on the guest experience vs playing the part of a medical review or part-time law-enforcer.
For a smooth experience for your valuable customers and staff, you need a dedicated team devoted to this regulatory step so that you can get back to the business of service.
KNOW WHAT VACCINE REQUIREMENTS TO LOOK FOR.
If you’re lucky, you have an audience from many different areas of the world. This means lots of different vaccination cards and details. You need a team that knows what to look for. A team that understands the checks-and-balance enforcement that is expected from city officials.
Your first line of defense in keeping your dining patrons safe should include a strong staff. Your staff should be skilled in reviewing various state, county, or country-issued vaccination cards for proof of compliance. The vaccine requirements for restaurants mandate requires that your establishment review the physical or digital record, reflecting the individual’s name, vaccine brand, and date administered. Additionally, individuals over the age of 16 need to show ID matching the proof of vaccine. This is just one more thing for your front-of-the-house to contend with.
TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN!
It’s a reality that not every person is going to be thrilled to stop and share their medical information just to get a drink or a deep dish. It’s a frustrating situation for everyone out there doing their best to feel human again. We’ve seen cases across the country where restaurants, bars, and venues become targets for customers’ anger and frustration. Your host/hostess/bartenders or servers shouldn’t have to mitigate an unreasonable situation when they are simply trying to bring the community back together.
You and your team are in the hospitality business! Hospitality starts at home. Keeping the team happy and healthy while making your guests feel welcome and safe is the best kind of night out. Your security needs to be skilled with seamless card review with the subtle skillset of de-escalation. The goal is to avoid a stressful situation before it gets out of hand.
You need level-headed individuals whose focus is not only on the safety of the establishment but also on hospitality. The last thing any venue wants is an unhappy customer at their front door creating a scene with your hard-working employees. Having security staff that’s trained at defusing tense situations is going to be one of your best assets.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
The horizon for the food-and-beverage industry remains promising, even with the undercurrent of uncertainty that COVID-concerns can bring. Now more than ever, having the right people in place is critical to the foundation of success. It’s the right time for the right team.
If you are operating a venue or establishment where people gather for fellowship, food, and fun, then you are essential to the fabric of the community. We are here to help you deliver on creating an environment that makes your customers feel safe and welcome. Hospitality, happiness, and safety is in our DNA.
Would you like to hear more about what we can do to help? Ask us about our specialty Coronavirus Services Security team.