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New COVID-19 program gets Texas restaurants up to speed on proper protocols

New COVID-19 program gets Texas restaurants up to speed on protocols

Cleaning supplies for housekeeping
The program is designed to reassure customers that restaurants are doing things right. Getty Images

The Texas Restaurant Association has launched a program designed to help restaurants wade through necessary protocols during these coronavirus times.

The statewide organization cites a survey stating that 77 percent of consumers say they plan to reduce visits to restaurants in the future. To stoke consumer confidence, TRA, along with Dallas College and an organization called A Closer Look, have launched a program, paid for via a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, that will train, evaluate, and certify restaurants on the additional protocols that must be followed per Texas' minimum standard health protocols.

Restaurants that have earned certification will get a decal they can put on their doors, as a reassuring signal to the diner.

The program consists of five courses focused on key roles within a restaurant:

  • managers
  • takeout/delivery line staff
  • servers
  • kitchen staff
  • cleaning crew

A minimum of five employees must complete the program, and restaurants will undergo third-party evaluation by A Closer Look, a mystery shopping and customer experience company. A member of A Closer Look’s team will visit multiple times, providing feedback on training and improvement.

The initial grant from TWC will provide funding for 500 restaurants to be evaluated and certified with 2,500 of their employees receiving training. TRA and Dallas College plan to continue expanding grant funding from the Texas Workforce Commission to ensure all restaurants and employees can participate.

The first class will start on June 25. More information can be found online.

Dr. Emily Williams Knight, TRA President and CEO, calls it a big win for the industry, stating, "This comprehensive program allows restaurant owners and their staff to demonstrate to the public that they have done everything possible to safely receive guests in their dining rooms."