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You’d think after being interviewed over 350 times by major outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Vox, you’d get really good at being interviewed, right?
You’d be right.
Such is the case for the guest on this edition of Give An Ovation, Dr. Benjamin Chapman, who gave extremely valuable advice and information regarding COVID-19 and the food industry.
Dr. Chapman is currently a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University, with expertise in food safety culture, home food preservation, and communicating food safety and risk reduction messages.
Here are a few takeaways from his conversation with Ovation CEO and the Give An Ovation Host, Zack Oates:
1. The Biggest Risk Is Not Eating
Don’t be too worried about catching the corona virus through food itself. While there is a risk, it’s not as high as other scenarios. So please, don’t stop eating.
2. Evaluate How You Can Lower Risk In Your Situation
Risk levels will never hit zero, but we can take actions that serve as hurdles preventing the spread of the illness. Face coverings, sanitizing surfaces, and physical distancing are all a part of the recipe. Unfortunately there is no silver bullet/one-size-fits all solution to making your restaurant safe, so you need to do all the little things.
3. Get Your Employees Up To Speed
Ben emphasized several times that people stand the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 when they are around other people and could breathe in moisture droplets containing the virus. While the virus can be passed via fomites (surfaces being touched such as utensils, menus, etc.), the risk is far lower.
Therefore it’s imperative that your employees know how big of a deal this virus is, and that they really do play a part in it’s spread. One of the most dangerous parts of the current restaurant experience is the time the waiter spends talking with the guests.
4. Rethink Some Long Term Items
Some things may never go back to the way they were pre-corona virus. Just as 9/11 forever changed the airline industry, COVID-19 will most likely leave its mark on buffets, drink machines, condiments, and more. Right now they’ve simply been eliminated, but what about 18 months from now? “If it gets introduced back, it’s going to have a different look”, said Ben.
5. Get Trained In Risk Reduction Frameworks
Ben has helped create countonmenc.org, a resource that includes protocols and training programs for a wide variety of job specific materials to help set standard expectations for food safety during COVID-19. While it’s materials are specific to North Carolina, people and businesses from all over the world have used it, so give it a look!
Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole podcast, as well as other interviews with restaurant/business gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation” on YouTube, podcast.ovationup.com, or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.