Virus Security Monitoring: A Critical Compliance Trend for 2021
“It’s always hard to predict the future and these days, even more so. One thing we know for sure is that every hospitality operator will continue to face risks surrounding both current, but also future virus threats.
Recent reports show hospitality settings to be safer than many other areas of society thanks to the early investment they made into ensuring venues were COVID secure. It’s now a case of continuing to monitor virus security, particularly as adaptations to regulations unfold.
We certainly anticipate this newest compliance trend of 2021 to be one that many hospitality operators will need to jump onboard with. Interestingly, it’s not solely about tickboxing operational requirements either, it’s just as important for brand image too.”
– Duncan Colvin, Head of Compliance, Venners
1. Why…you should monitor Virus Security in 2021
Many lessons have been learnt through the various lockdowns and partial trading of the past year. One lesson that stands out, is that customers react positively to a safe, well managed business.
The feeling of being within a safe and professionally managed site helps a customer relax, lengthens their stay, and leads to an altogether more relaxed atmosphere.
Like all first impressions, an anxious customer will look for visual tells that your bar or restaurant, has taken their personal concerns seriously. Notices, a sense of secure spacing and flow combine with signals from other customers that they have relaxed and are confident in the management of the venue.
For this to continue across the estate a company must flex to both the legal requirements in place at the time, as well as the customers perceived level of threat.
Virus security should be added to any compliance checks made across an estate. Any site failing to maintain Virus security policies may not only be putting their staff and customers at risk but will clearly be impacting on the reputation and professional standards of the company more widely.
2. How…to monitor virus security compliance
Venners was asked to include Covid-19 security compliance to their audits across a national chain of restaurants. Both franchised and managed sites had a high takeaway and delivery turnover even at the height of the pandemic and remained open where permitted.
- Firstly, the company had drawn up policies and risk assessment templates for each site to follow. Having access to these, Venners Compliance were able to draw up audit points and key areas to test.
- Audit questions were used to focus on statutory requirement and government led recommendations as well as company policies that often went further.
- Scoring of the questions highlight critical fails and rank the priorities at the time.
- Additional Covid questions were limited to a new section of the existing audit to ensure like for like comparisons could be identified across the remainder of the sections.
3. What…to do to improve virus security compliance
The addition of the Covid-19 security to the audit reinforced the policies across the company and certainly communicated to the franchised network the importance of following the requirements.
Problems first encountered included missing statutory notices, incomplete risk assessments or poor practises on site. The audit team were able to guide each site and offer practical advice on required procedures, enabling a growth in scores and staff confidence.
First visit failing sites were revisited and levels of Covid compliance were raised across the entire estate.
4. The benefits… of continued virus security monitoring
Virus security policies may need to be with us, in some form or another, for a while. Rather than a headache, the correct introduction of policies and auditing procedures can help a business thrive after lockdown.
Benefits of effective policies and compliance auditing will include:
- Confident staff and customer interactions.
- Increased customer satisfaction driven by confidence in Virus security protocols.
- For contract or concession caterers your company’s strengths reflect well on your client’s business or venue and may help their business grow or visitors return with confidence.
- Faster re-growth of own business with returning customers passing on confidence through social media.
- Ability to confidently market the business as safe and virus secure environment for continued trading.
- Increased cleanliness and hygiene standards at site driven by increased awareness amongst staff of microbiological risks.
- Reduction of potential financial penalties.
Operators looking to for auditing support to effectively monitor virus security compliance should visit www.venners.com/compliance for further information.