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Why improved security should be considered if you are extending the eat out scheme

Posted onPosted on 16th Sep

Eat Out To Help Out (EOTHO) has been one of the government’s most successful Covid 19-related measures. With hindsight, perhaps this shouldn’t have been a surprise. After all, lockdown probably left many people craving to get out but possibly worried about over-stretching their finances. EOTHO provided a great compromise.

Although the scheme has officially ended, some hospitality outlets are planning on continuing it unofficially. This, too, should probably not be a surprise. It’s effectively an extension of the off-peak discounts the hospitality sector has been offering for years.

This time, however, Covid-19 is still very much an issue and with new government guidelines now in place, security has to be a top priority. Here, according to Marie Tracey (above), managing director of Heart Security, are some points to consider”

Control your perimeter and access
Confusion and crowds outside your premises are a health-and-safety issue and an invitation for criminals. This means that you need to ensure any queues are well-managed. The very best approach is probably to use advanced bookings and/or virtual queuing. If you’re reluctant/unable to invest in technology to manage this automatically, then you can manage it through having staff manually send texts/emails.

Even if you are working on advanced bookings only, it’s advisable to have a system in place to manage queues virtually if you possibly can. This can be a useful Plan B if anything happens.

Think about the practicalities of changing table configurations
Many cafes and restaurants will need to change table configurations to accommodate bookings of different sizes. Under normal circumstances, this can be as easy as having staff move the tables as soon as they are clear. Under current circumstances, however, it’s very much recommended to plan this, carefully in advance and possibly use floor markings to help. You could use different colours for different configurations.

Remember that in addition to maintaining social distancing, you also need to ensure practical access for staff. Also, remember that some of your customers may have mobility issues. You may want to check in advance if anyone is going to need room for a wheelchair. There are, however, other mobility issues people may not think to mention such as needing to use crutches or walking sticks.

Help people to keep their belongings with them conveniently
If you generally use any sort of cloakroom arrangement, you’re going to need to rethink it. Collapsible bins could be an option for allowing customers to corral their belongings conveniently without staff needing to touch them.

Keep an eye on your cash register
These days, the hospitality industry probably takes a lot less cash than it used to, but you still need to keep an eye on your till. Remember modern-day thefts can be digital as well as physical. For example, someone could try to compromise your POS terminal to steal data. On a similar note, keep an eye on any other company assets which might be worth stealing.

Remember your general health and safety
Although Covid-19 is everywhere in the news, resist the temptation to make your health and safety all about it. Keep up your general precautions and be prepared to demonstrate that you’ve taken those precautions. This will help to protect you from insurance scammers.

Heart Security are specialists in commercial security solutions and winners of English Women’s Awards Family Business Award as well as several other awards, including Small Business of the Year.