Local restaurant hires consultants to ensure safest possible reopening once dine-in operations resume

Coronavirus

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — At 5280 Burger Bar’s Westminster location, the kitchen is still cooking. Customers are still enjoying signature burgers but the satisfaction is just not the same for the people operating the restaurant.

“I want interaction, I want guests at our tables, I want the noise, the energy,” 5280 Burger Bar’s Director of Operations Todd Levick said, adding, “I want that give back of emotions that restaurants are built on.”

Before getting the green light to open for dine-in services, Levick wanted to bring in consultants to consider the new safety foundation he’s preparing.

Food safety consultant and managing partner of CloudBreak Advisory Steven Chevalier conducted a risk assessment. Rebecca Berry with HotSchedules Now Powered by Fourth provided guidelines on the rehiring process. 

Before getting to the kitchen, 5280 Burger Bar has employees checking their temperatures and logging them. The temperature station sits under a cork board with a number of fliers instructing employees to wash their hands and stay home if they are feeling sick. 

“If they test out of range, we’ll test them again,” Levick said. “If they test out of range again, we’ll ask them to go home.”

In the kitchen, the team is trying to keep a respectful distance, constantly dressed in masks and gloves.

“Sometimes gloves can provide a false sense of security for employees and they might not wash their hands as often. How are you overcoming that difficulty?” Chevalier asked in the assessment.

“We will have a timer that goes off every 30 minutes and everyone has to, in the next few minutes, utilize the sink, wash their hands, change their gloves and sanitize their station,” Levick replied. 

Sanitizing is going to be a big part of the chefs’ and servers’ new job descriptions. 

“Whether that’s dedicating your staff being a sanitation team and then being a food team, I think the safety thing is the biggest piece of having an employee return and having an understanding of training,” Berry said. “That’s going to be a whole new HR process.”

The state of Colorado has drafted proposed guidelines for use when it is safe to start easing COVID-19 related safety restrictions for restaurants. This draft is being shared for stakeholder input through Friday.

Finalized guidelines should be released Monday and will give restaurants a better understanding of capacity limits. 

“I’m not as worried as what that percentage will be in the beginning,” Levick said. “If that’s what it takes to be safe, if that’s what the guests are looking for in us, then we are more than happy to do that and we’ll open immediately. We can’t wait to actually fill the seats what ever seats we’re allow to have.

On Thursday, area restaurants registered for a reopening plan webinar with the consulting company CloudBreak Advisory.

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