How to prepare your hospitality space for winter dining

Jamie Woodhall, Technical and Innovation Manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene

The hospitality industry faced an uphill battle during the pandemic, but in August this year the sector was widely credited with helping the economy to bounce back, and the outlook for the rest of this year looks positive.

But as Coronavirus cases increase in tandem with the weather getting colder, making outdoor dining areas much less appealing for customers, owners of hospitality businesses will understandably want to do all they can to ensure people feel safe in their premises, should “Plan B” be enforced.

Restaurants, pubs, bars and hotel owners are no strangers to planning for the festive season, but thinking through cleaning and hygiene strategies with Coronavirus in mind can be a daunting task. Let’s explore how best this can be approached, as well as some of the regulations out there that are focussed on safety in the kitchen, that businesses would be wise to follow.

Covering all bases

With the increased use of indoor facilities in winter unavoidable, we’d suggest focusing attention on the four key areas that are outlined in our unique ‘HATS’ critical appraisal survey. Our experts work with customers to ensure safety is considered surrounding Hygiene Factors, Atmosphere, Touch and Social Distancing.

Within Hygiene Factors hand hygiene is critical. Worryingly, Initial Washroom Hygiene recently found just two thirds of Brits said they always wash their hands after visiting a public washroom, compared to 74% in 2018. The same survey also found that washroom users would be more inclined to sanitise their hands if dispensers were no touch. Businesses should provide clean and well stocked washrooms, with access to good quality soap, a hygienic hand drying option as well as hand sanitiser.

Atmosphere is all about the consideration of the indoor air quality in a business premises. One way Coronavirus spreads is via air transmission. An experiment in a South Korean restaurant found that Coronavirus could spread within a couple of minutes if there’s an infected person just 15 feet away. If you can’t provide adequate ventilation and a good supply of fresh air into your premises then you should be thinking about the installation of air purification units. We distribute technology called VIRUSKILLER™, which has been proven to kill 99.9999% of viruses including Coronavirus within a single air pass*. It comes in a variety of different sizes, to suit a range of spaces.

Next is Touchpoints, which looks at all those shared areas or touchpoints which can contribute to cross contamination. We survey the premises to ensure the right professional disinfection regime is in place and that hand sanitiser is made readily available near high frequency shared touchpoints such as the entrance door handle.

Our specialist disinfection services can also help you maintain the highest levels of hygiene, and help to reduce cross contamination risks and the transmission of viruses such as Coronavirus. Our team uses a range of innovative disinfection methods to suit each part of your premises, including electrostatic disinfection, which involves adding an electric charge to the disinfectant as it is sprayed, causing it to be drawn to surfaces and objects like a magnet. Ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps, that produce a UVC light that deactivates virus’ reproductive processes so that it can no longer spread, are also used to treat touchpoints with sensitive equipment, such as cash registers, computers and other electronics.

Lastly, Social Distancing cannot yet be forgotten. Though it’s no longer mandated, and masks are discretionary, it makes good business sense to make customers and employers feel safe – and if any future government guidelines come into effect reinstating mandatory social distancing practices that your business can quickly, and effectively implement them.

A compliance check up

If you’re following a HATS process and working to ensure a hygiene-first approach to operations, then we also suggest checking if your kitchen is compliant with the latest health and safety regulations.

Did you know that 70% of fires in commercial kitchens originate in faulty extract ventilation systems due to the build-up of grease? If a fire does break out it can quickly spread via the kitchen ventilation system, causing damage throughout the entire building. For this reason, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) introduced the TR19 guidelines to standardise duct, kitchen extract, and air handling cleaning in the UK.

Compliance with TR19 includes providing adequate access to ductwork, inspection mechanisms, and that post-cleaning verification methods are met. A TR19 compliance report is complex, including clear statements that indicate how the system has been cleaned in its entirety, a recommendation on cleaning frequency, and even a schematic diagram or as-installed drawing of the system.

Rentokil Specialist Hygiene offers a TR19 compliant kitchen ventilation deep cleaning; including a full compliance report from BESA accredited and trained grease hygiene technicians. Rentokil Specialist Hygiene is also a BESA member, meaning we are kept constantly up-to-date with any changes to the criteria. To ensure compliance and mitigate risk, call in the professionals for effective and safe kitchen ventilation cleaning.

Many areas in the kitchen are particularly hard to clean, presenting unique challenges and safety risks, especially in areas that are high up. We have the equipment and expertise to clean ceilings, lights, ducts and other spaces that a daily cleaning routine can’t manage. Our specialist technicians work to stringent health and safety standards and complete a thorough risk assessment before undertaking any cleaning operation.

Final words

The festive season is approaching, and there are lots of opportunities for hospitality businesses to grow. If you are looking for advice on cleaning strategies and ensuring your business has done all it can to stop the spread of Coronavirus, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts. We can carry out a survey and take it from there.

* When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.