Business leaders in Pittsburgh launch Greatest Practices web site


R.Restaurant owners, caterers and other food service entrepreneurs have been sifting through an ever-changing array of information and regulations since Governor Tom Wolf first ordered a shutdown on March 16 in response to the then-emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

After more than two months of take-away-only service, Wolf slowly began easing restrictions in late May, aided by low virus counts and improved science-based knowledge of transmission vectors. However, as the number of positive cases began to rise, it was partly fueled by the bad behavior of a segment of restaurant and bar patrons and a minority of business owners who decided that short-term profit is more important than long-term. The public interest (and frankly long-term gain), Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and two weeks later Wolf have been limited to what is allowed.

Keeping up is a challenge for even the most dedicated restaurant owners and diners.

A group of leaders in the restaurant industry recently joined forces to launch Safe Service PGH, an initiative to gather and organize the best resources available to address the COVID-19 crisis. Ehrrin Keenan, formerly Special Sales Director of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, oversees the Safe Service website as director. For the past few months she had been collecting links and sharing them in a Google Doc. She noticed that there were other lists running around. “Many small businesses have struggled on many fronts to protect their employees and customers. It has been difficult for consumers to figure out where to support small businesses that take security seriously. “

This feeling is borne out by Kate Romane, owner of Black Radish Kitchen and one of the founders of the organization. She noted that catering business owners like hers had a hard time figuring out what the latest allowances meant for their operations. The confusion was often the same with their chefs and farmer friends. “We are all in a desperate situation and we all feel we are on our own lifeboats. If we could do one thing together, it would be more effective for all of us, ”she says.

To do this, the Safe Service website has a resources page that is divided into five sections: Current Policies, Reporting and Enforcement, Training and Courses, Best Practices and Templates, and Financial Resources. These sections contain well-organized, verified information to help food service business owners make decisions that put safety first. “It’s difficult to navigate through blanket guidelines. Every company has its own challenges. We want to help each other to find solutions, ”says Romane.

Safe Service can also be a resource for diners and people looking to hire a catering company. Participating Companies – a growing list of restaurants such as Scratch Food & Beverage, Station, and Spirit; Catering companies such as Black Radish Kitchen and All in Good Taste Productions; and local venues like Churchview Farm are asked to make a pledge promising to adhere to a set of guidelines. If it works as intended, the Participating Businesses section of the website provides consumers with a place to find restaurants that they are comfortable with.

It is also recommended to the guests how they can be a good customer with a “Save Service PGH Pledge”. These include promises like wearing face covering if they don’t eat or drink, be patient and kind with staff, and stay home if they feel sick. “Let’s use positive peer pressure to get people to stick to the guidelines and make sure everyone is safe,” says Keenan.

Comments are closed.