Pressed, Polished, and Safe is the New Normal

How do you make a good first impression? By being ready to make it, with intentionality and purpose.

It feels like February 2020 was over a thousand years ago – another era in space and time, where the world was a different place. Many practices that were standard then are being examined under the lens of our new expectations for cleanliness and preparation.

For example, on a restaurant review site this past week there was a question posed about the takeout and delivery capabilities for a certain local establishment. One respondent drew attention to the fact that the employees at this restaurant were not wearing masks as a warning to the inquiring patron.

A month ago, that was not an expectation at all. As a matter of fact, you may have been put off, and wondered what working condition was making employees wear face coverings. But now, they are anticipated; to not have face masks is seen as unusual and unsafe.

Governments may soon regulate that all food service workers don face masks for the foreseeable future, but even if they do not, there is still social license to consider.

Every business that trades with society will need to regain the confidence of the buying public.

We are all on high alert for lurking dangers on shopping cart handles, doorknobs, light switches, and ATM buttons. People are more generally aware of germs now. Which means that expectations have changed. Trust must be rebuilt, even if you did nothing yourself to erode it.

What might that mean for restaurants in the near future?

First, we foresee that “anything goes” uniforms will not serve you well. This is the moment for all your front of house staff to be pressed and polished, looking professional. Their appearance must engender confidence when someone walks through the door. Patrons are apt to share their experience and impressions on all social and review sites. Give them photo-worthy evidence that you are taking this moment seriously. Fresh and Clean will be the theme going forward.

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