The COVID-19 pandemic forced most restaurants to rethink how they do business. Carrie’s Café is no different.
Over the summer, hospitality leadership faculty developed new operating procedures so that the café would be ready for a fall reopening.
Carrie’s Cafe reopened Sept. 1 with carryout dining options only.
The café will remain open 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Oct.29.
Wajeana White, instructor of hospitality leadership, outlines Carrie’s Cafe’s new safety protocols intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
About the new safety protocols
All Carrie’s Café students are ServSafe Manager certified. They have also completed COVID-19 training through the National Restaurant Association.
This training helped students develop the necessary steps to protect guests from COVID-19.
These steps include:
- Sanitizing high-traffic areas with detailed cleaning every 30 minutes or less.
- Requiring guests and student workers to wear face masks or personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
- Establishing one-way traffic for navigating kitchen workstations.
- Following social distancing standards.
- Adding floor decals and signage to aid in proper social distancing.
- Supplying easy access to sanitizer.
- Installing a PlexiHealth shield barrier at the guest checkout station.
- Implementing cashless payment system.
- Offering online ordering to reduce guest wait times.
Additional protocols will serve to ensure food safety. These include:
- Providing pre-wrapped cutlery and disposable eco-friendly packaging of to-go meals.
- Supplying single use, eco-friendly cups, lids and wrapped straws.
- Laminating menus to allow for easy sanitizing between guest use.
Students responsible for managing Carrie’s Café take even further safety measures, White explains.
All students complete daily wellness checks before entering the kitchen.
To manage the potential spread of COVID-19 from suppliers, Carrie’s Café requires that its vendors follow the same precautions.
“These new steps follow the best practices provided by the local health department, CDC and National Restaurant Association,” White said. “They also allow Carrie’s Café to lessen the effects of COVID-19 on our campus and in the greater Springfield community.”
Understanding Carrie’s Café’s impact
Restaurant corporations have large teams and resources to develop safety protocols and procedures.
But Missouri State faculty members’ expertise and research have fueled Carrie’s Cafe’s practices.
White, Abbe Ehlers, faculty emeritus, and Dr. Stephanie Hein, department head of hospitality leadership, serve as the experts for Carrie’s Café.
They all come from extensive food and beverage backgrounds.
This allows them to provide student workers at Carrie’s Cafe with real-world experience at its finest.
“No other industry has been impacted by COVID-19 more than the hospitality industry,” Hein said. “Working at Carrie’s Café provides our students with real-time learning opportunities. This helps prepare them for the new normal and new ways of doing business.”