“What in the world is going to happen to the traditional tabletop?” That has been one of the biggest and most frequently asked questions in the foodservice industry through this pandemic.
And it’s been a hot topic at TableCraft. So, we asked some of our contacts within the Foodservice industry from a variety of operations (i.e. end user, restaurants, hotels, chain accounts and distributors) for their insights about what’s changing and how. (Read the full summary here.)
What we found wasn’t a surprise: sanitation, organization and reducing the amount of “frequently touched” objects on the tabletop came up repeatedly.
Let’s Talk About Sanitation
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. One of the biggest shifts has been the addition of hand sanitizer readily available at each table. Whether you’re serving patrons inside, outside, or patio-side, having hand sanitizer is vitally important to instill a sense of “I can do my part and keep my hands clean while venturing out” for the customer.
Another notable shift has been the near-constant sterilization. Employees are now being trained to clean each piece of furniture between uses to ensure the utmost safety and security of its patrons.
Even at pick-up counters, employees are sanitizing the register, card reader and counter between every customer to follow proper sanitization methods.
You Got to Keep Them Separated
Speaking of seating areas, tables must all be spaced at least six feet apart in most states and municipalities. And if they cannot accommodate the space, owners and operators have installed impermeable barriers between tables. We’re looking at you community tables!
We’ve also seen restaurants and bars establishing “one way” walkways and highly-visible signage to keep patrons from congregating in common traffic areas (i.e. bar and restrooms).
Lastly, some establishments have gone a step further and are allowing customers to choose the level of table service they would prefer, to limit the “human contact” element.
At the Surface Level
Another notable shift in tabletop has been the removal of condiment bottles, salt & pepper shakers, oil & vinegar bottles, utensils, and napkin dispensers.
Instead, operators are switching to single serve, smaller capacity salt & pepper shaker options, sauce packets, and ramekins of all materials including semi-disposable and disposable, to serve individual portions of condiments.
Some restaurants have also shifted to individually-wrapped disposable utensils to limit the amount of “touch zones” on the tabletop. Oh! And tablecloths have also been banned in some areas as a risk of cross-contamination between parties.
The way we present our menus has also experienced a drastic change. Those traditional vinyl menu covers are on their way out the door – operators are now switching to either printed paper disposable menus, posting a large menu visible for all patrons or the use of QR codes to digital menus.
What Can We Do?
The TableCraft team is diligently looking at ways to help facilitate the changing needs of the tabletop, while helping you and your team keep your operation efficient, safe, and compliant.
Get in touch with your local sales representative or TableCraft sales director to discuss how we can help you make the transition to the “new normal tabletop” seamless and safe.
See our 2020 Transitional Catalog for solutions and inspiration as we all navigate this changing landscape.