Food safety management is always a top priority for restaurant owners and managers. By knowing and complying with ever-evolving requirements, you can help ensure the safety of your staff, customers, delivery partners, and community. 

Health and safety in the food service industry are crucial in helping you develop a strong food management strategy. Based on the latest recommendations from infectious disease experts, here are the latest guidelines for your updated food safety management checklist for today: 

Know the law

Know where to access both federal and state law regarding restaurant health and safety guidelines such as the CDC safety guide for restaurants. Use their recommendations as a guide for developing a food management strategy that meets industry standards. Once you have this information, use it to stay updated on changes, create accountability amongst your staff, set up ways to track compliance, and create training modules. 

Rethink your layout

Maximize the efficiency of your layout to include 6-foot markers for customers waiting to pick up orders or be seated, as well as appropriate spacing between tables. There should be a separate pickup area for delivery drivers with proper distancing from staff and dine-in customers. To maintain social distancing protocols, set up areas to accommodate drive-through and curbside pickup. For further safety, create barriers using plexiglass or similar material between customers and staff.

Stock up on new supplies

Your food safety management plan should also consider the number of supplies needed to maintain health and safety guidelines. Know how much and where to purchase essential supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff, cleaning supplies, cleaning agents, hand sanitizers, floor tape, and barrier equipment. As a precaution, have a list of back-up suppliers in case your primary supplier is unable to fulfill your order. 

restaurants covid-19

Support your staff

Your most valuable asset is your staff, so it’s important to keep up morale and make them feel supported. Safeguard them with all the tools and equipment they need, along with clear guidance on how to protect themselves and others. Update your training manual and discuss the proper use of PPE and how to serve customers at a safe distance.

Remember to instruct all staff members to wash their hands at regular intervals throughout their shift, and make sure they have been adequately trained and are following established handwashing protocols. 

After training staff on following the recommended health and safety guidelines, continue to field concerns your team may have and ensure they can effectively provide feedback to management. Assure staff that policies will be reinforced to keep them safe and communicate the importance of staying home should anyone feel sick. 

Protect and inform customers

As you incorporate health and safety guidelines, shape a positive experience for your customers as part of your food management strategy. Follow this customer communication checklist from DoorDash: 

  • Update your marketing channels (e.g., website, email, social media) to reflect your new operating hours. 
  • Post interior and exterior signs to inform customers about online ordering options, social distancing requirements, updated operations, and safety measures you are taking to protect customers and staff alike. 
  • Prevent confusion for customers by ensuring that your staff understands the new dining processes and be ready to help as needed. 

restaurant safety

Ramp up cleaning

Set up new cleaning schedules to meet the demand for a more frequent and rigorous cleaning regimen. Touchable surfaces (e.g., counters, tabletops, credit card readers, seats, door handles, and menus) must be sanitized regularly. Additionally, determine whether in-house staff, a third party, or a combination of both will be responsible for maintaining cleanliness. Provide a detailed list of updated cleaning expectations, specifying which employee is responsible for completing the task and how often. 

  • Kitchen:

    To avoid spreading harmful bacteria throughout the kitchen, staff should always do prep work on a clean cutting board. When handling raw food items (e.g., lettuce, bread, fruit), ensure that the board is washed thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap between use. Also, have kitchen staff designate specific cutting boards for fresh produce and others for meat and poultry.

Food delivery safety

DoorDash’s Provided by Dashers, insulated hot bags are essential for food delivery safety. It allows the food to stay at a safe temperature from the time it leaves the kitchen to when it arrives at the customer's home. Although cleaning these bags is not the restaurant’s responsibility, you can confidently reassure your customers that Dashers are doing their due diligence in following the latest health and safety guidelines:

Be sure to find a food delivery partner that you can trust. Dashers have been instructed to abide by the latest safety protocols, including using a paper towel to wipe down their insulated hot bag with an antibacterial solution. DoorDash has also provided Dashers with gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer at no cost, and we made no contact delivery the default setting for all DoorDash food delivery orders.


Food safety management is a necessary part of owning a restaurant in today’s evolving landscape. Keep your community safe while continuing your operations  by knowing where to find your state and federal restaurant health and safety guidelines and regularly updating your protocols in accordance. 

5 key takeaways

  • Create a solid food management strategy. 
  • Design an easy and efficient layout at your establishment to allow appropriate distancing for the safety of your staff, delivery personnel, and customers.
  • Stay on top of your supplies and stock up as needed. 
  • Set up clear cleaning schedules with frequent sanitizing. 
  • Have staff regularly wash their hands following proper handwashing protocols. 

Most importantly, managers should continue to support and protect staff and customers, just as DoorDash will continue to support restaurants and communities worldwide. 

For more information, don’t forget to download our 3-page Restaurant Health and Safety Checklist

Andrew McCarthy
Content Lead

Andrew McCarthy is the Senior Content Lead for B2B Marketing at DoorDash (both Merchant and Work divisions) where his mission is to help merchants grow and to make work delicious! Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he has 5 years of experience working in the on-demand delivery space across the United States, Canada, and Australia. When he’s not managing the incredibly talented content team at DoorDash, you’ll find him dining at the hippest local restaurants or ordering ramen from the comfort of his couch.