As 46 out of 50 states have some mask guidelines in place, it seems that, moving forward, masking requirements will be the new normal—for compliance and for the safety of restaurant guests and employees.
Masks can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, but perhaps the biggest hurdle in the restaurant and hospitality industries is eliminating the “smile factor”. Facial expressions are a primary conduit for friendly service and clear communication, and it can be hard on restaurant workers to compensate with their mouths covered.
It is similar to a language barrier, as our vice-president, Jared Flowers, wrote about a few weeks ago. His experience with ASL helped to bridge the communication gap for a family at a restaurant’s grand opening, and it was also a woman connected to the deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) community who began working on a solution for masked communications.
Ashley Lawrence, a senior at Eastern Kentucky University, began the DHH Mask Project, her solution to considering DHH individuals in light of mask requirements. She created a surgical style mask with a clear window, making the mouth—and a smile!—visible.
Of course, safety and cleanliness are of greatest importance in the restaurant industry, and Yanko Design has built upon the idea of a transparent mask to create an FDA-registered, N99+ smart mask with UV-C sterilizing built right in. Plus, with disposable masks becoming an impending threat to nature, this design is reusable and high-quality with long-lasting filters to reduce waste. While the higher cost of this newly designed mask may seem too expensive for operators, the opportunity to reuse these masks plus the service with a smile may for many operators be a plus for the guest as well as the server and restauranteur.
Our restaurant clients are reorganizing budgets and other plans to ensure success after COVID. Anything that makes your guests more comfortable and can ensure a pleasant, easy experience, is a good investment.
For more ideas on a smooth reopening, our restaurant consultants are available. You can even reach out for a free consultation—we’ll look forward to speaking with you.