Catering Design Group provides insight for reopening garden centre catering operations

Company: Catering Design Group

Aware of the challenges faced by the foodservice sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Catering Design Group (CDG), has created ‘Designing Safe Spaces for Catering Environments’, an insight document highlighting the steps garden centres can take to help reopen their cafes and restaurants or to get them fully operational again with minimum risk to staff and customers.

The Daventry-based commercial kitchen and restaurant design company has considered all aspects of a catering operation, from design and operational requirements to the use of technology to help reduce risk of contamination.

Everything from the layout and flows to both front and back of house to materials and equipment is covered. 

Phil Howard, managing director of CDG said: “This is an incredibly tough time for garden centres, with a visit to the restaurant being a huge part of the overall experience, and we wanted to share our ideas and expertise with our clients and other operators to help with their plans to get their restaurants up and running again. This isn’t just about removing some tables and chairs to manage social distancing. Restaurant operators understand that there has to be a complex rethinking of an entire operation to make it a safe space for all, while still maintaining ambience and the dining experience.

“Mindful of the timescales involved and the cost to deliver these necessary changes, we see this as very much a collection of initial ideas to highlight and provoke further thought on the key areas where changes could be made. Clearly, these would need to be tailored to each individual garden centre.”

CDG has factored in considerations such as increased hygiene points, reviewing front and back of house layout and the flow of customers, minimising touch points, reviewing storage and waste capacity and introducing measures for social distancing compliance.

Mindful of how long the Covid-19 virus remains on different surfaces, the independent design company has also included advice on materials, with recommendations such as anti-bacterial wall cladding, anti-microbial upholstery and anti-bacterial touch screen technology.

“Design elements such as directional signage and graphics on walls and floors will be essential for social distancing compliance,” said Phil. “Operators will also have to consider touchless sanitisers and the availability of technology for contactless ordering, payment and collection. They will also need to think about zoning and the re-orientation of areas such as kitchen workstations to reduce the risk of cross contamination. For many garden centres there is a huge opportunity to develop their outside eating spaces to maximise the number of covers, whilst still implementing social distancing measures.

“We have scrutinised every aspect of a typical catering operation and hope that our thoughts will be of benefit to operators in these challenging times.”

‘Designing Safe Spaces for Catering Environments’ is available on request by emailing Steve Hutchings:

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