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Maintaining a Safety Culture While Restaurant Businesses are Semi-Open

A group of four people bump elbows to acknowledge each other while mitigating germ spread. All group members wear a mask to protect themselves from Covid-19

Building a restaurant workplace environment that encourages staff input and collaboration is, in fact, possible during these uncertain times.


As we have mentioned before, an effective way to cultivate a strong safety culture is to promote the notion that “everyone is a leader”. This can help spark an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of ownership for all team members. Such efforts can be made virtually just as successfully, and safely, as in-person.



The New Pre-Shift Meal

For many restaurants, a meal is shared among the wait staff prior to opening (, or after closing,) for business. While group meals are most likely now outdoors (and socially distanced), that does not inhibit conversations from occurring. Add safety into these talks. Given that COVID-19 is — in itself — a safety factor, “safety” is a natural topic for discussion. Ask what challenges the team has faced since re-opening. Have certain concerns risen among the hospitality industry? Talk about them. Brainstorm possible solutions as a team while keeping protocols from the California Department of Public Health ( in mind.


If your business has not yet reopened, or has needed to temporarily shut down for a second time, keep these conversations happening virtually via a video conference meal. Connect with your employees and inform them about the most recent CDC/State Updates ( Ask for input, suggestions, or best practices for how the business can effectively implement these new rules. Leaders can also share how they safely completed operational maintenance during the times the business has been closed. This also keeps safety in the spotlight for employees and keeps teams engaged.



Weekly Check-Ins

Maintaining communications is critical during these current events. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Try going over pandemic updates and protocols one-on-one. This prioritizes the employee, creates a safe space to ask questions, and may help you gauge how your employees are feeling emotionally.



Virtual education

Temporary closures are an optimal time to keep employees trained, focused on compliance, and cognizant of best practices. Use this time to your employees’ advantage by sharing educational videos, articles, and podcasts. Several businesses (like ours) have access to online tools for their employees. Now is a perfect time to utilize such benefits.



The Takeaway

By empowering staff and including them in the COVID redesign of company practices, management may see an increase in production and a greater sense of community. Teams may work more effectively together and be more inclined to help each other.



For more information about this or other safety tactics for your workplace, feel free to contact our team of Risk Advisors at [email protected].



Products and services are provided by one or more insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and the precise coverage afforded by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies as issued.

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