As the pandemic moves into the upcoming year, many foodservice industries are still figuring out how to safely and responsibly engage their customers. During the first wave of the pandemic, shelter-in-place orders put even more pressure on the ultracompetitive and tight-margin world of catering as catered events around the country were canceled in droves. The catering industry has shown resilience in the face of these events. Many businesses survived by providing food delivery options to their patrons. Others gained positive brand awareness by donating their meals to time-constrained essential workers and medical personnel.
With the economy slowly reopening in some areas of the country and a promising new vaccine in the pipeline, customers now feel confident hiring catering services once more. Some customers favor catering services over traditional dining as temperature checks, mask requirements and plexiglass partitions make in-person dining feel alien and sterile. As corporations and even small groups turn to catering, there’s an increased need to deliver tasteful and risk-free dining experiences to all guests. Here are six tips to safely cater through the pandemic.
1. Provide single-use silverware and plates
While the chances of transmitting COVID-19 through surfaces is small compared to coughs or sneezes, single-use utensils add an extra layer of protection to your diners and staff. Sustainable silverware and plates made from bamboo are better for the environment and add a level of elegance to your cutlery.
2. Plan ahead
Offer your guests a path to social distancing by individually wrapping silverware ahead of time with napkins and towelettes, salt and pepper packets, ketchup, mustard or any other necessary condiments.
3. Buffet the safe way
Serving food buffet-style can still be done responsibly by assigning masked personnel to each station or providing each guest with tongs to serve themselves.
4. Offer lunch boxes
Rather than offering platters of food, serve individual meal boxes complete with a main course and side dish. These boxes can also add personality and style to your brand.
5. Pre-plate your meals
Consider pre-plating your meals for more formal events. This method also works for appetizers and desserts. Seat your guests ahead of time and have servers come by each table to maximize social distancing.
6. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!
Have sanitation stations readily available at all events to promote a safe dining experience and assure your guests that their best interest is in mind.
As you safely cater through the pandemic, Wayne Farms caters to you with a wide range of fresh and packaged options to meet your operational needs.