Operators Put Their Trust in Trust20

Restaurant safety certification encourages customers to return to dining rooms.
A server wearing a mask and gloves delivers plates of food to a restaurant table.

Taco Tuesday is not over. Same for date night, dinner, brunch or other restaurant occasions. The pandemic has hit the dining out industry hard, but it will return. And Trust20 is helping operators respond and look to the future by reaffirming a commitment to the health and safety of employees and consumers.

Trust20 partners with restaurants through a certification program that focuses on 20 tactics in four areas: 

  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Social distancing
  • Employee health and safety
  • Diner health and safety

The trust factor is key

Safety always has been critical for restaurants, says Trust20 General Manager Nick Florek. “Going forward, Trust20 is there to help operators instill confidence in all the things they’ve invested in to create a healthy space.”

That’s essential for encouraging consumers to dine like before COVID-19. The Food Institute, in a December webinar titled “Health & Safety — The Future of Restaurants,” shared an Ipsos survey on consumer attitudes:

Top 5 Drivers of Return to Restaurants 

  1. Employee safety equipment provided by employer
  2. Store entrance opens automatically/without hand contact
  3. Employees wearing masks/face coverings
  4. Social distancing signage outside entrance
  5. Social distancing markers present inside/at checkout

Top 5 Drivers of Trust for Restaurants

  1. Hand sanitizer available at entrance/checkout
  2. Employees visibly wiping down high traffic areas with disinfectant
  3. Employee safety equipment provided by employer
  4. Employee safety equipment is consistent in appearance across all employees
  5. Organized management of store occupancy

Putting safety front and center

Trust20 works directly with operators to promote safety and raise awareness so restaurants can open their doors with confidence. The Good Eats Restaurant Group in Chicago has earned Trust20 certification at its Burger Bar, Sono Wood Fired, Sociale and Cafe Press operations. 

Good Eats Partner and Chef Martin Murch says it’s impossible to underestimate the value of protecting public health. “The first three words we use are safety, safety and safety when it comes to our employees and guests,” he says. “The foodservice industry is one of the more regulated industries, and we accentuated that with cleaning, hand sanitation, deep cleaning, wearing gloves—we integrated it all, whether it was a required idea or a recommended idea.”

The team at A. Marshall Hospitality Group in Tennessee agrees. “What I really liked is how Trust20 validated the certification process of what we were already doing,” says Chief Operating Officer Lyle Richardson. His six locations, which include Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Americana Taphouse and Scout’s Pub can document that they are doing what’s right for safety.

“I like the fact that someone is putting an effort into a certification process in order to help restaurants gain diner confidence,” he says.

How Trust20 works

Restaurants pay $249 to become certified. It starts with an inspection by a certified Trust20 expert. This helps operators affirm they are in compliance with the 20 tactics in the four focus areas. It also can pre-identify concerns that might be red-flagged by health-department inspections. 

All certified restaurants can display a Trust20 window decal that identifies the restaurant’s commitment to safety. Other benefits include special pricing on Array cleaning chemicals, e-learning training modules and physical signage and digital messaging material.

“It’s very similar to a membership—the benefits and discounts quickly pay for the cost of the program,” Florek notes. “Where we differ most from other programs is that we are focused very heavily on telling an operator’s story to diners.” 

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