What Is It Like Working In A Restaurant During the Pandemic?

What Is It Like Working In A Restaurant During the Pandemic?

Nikki Gomez, Staff Writer

Every public place has made adjustments due to COVID, especially restaurants. As an employee at Cracker Barrel, we have made a lot of changes to our restaurant due to the pandemic. 

It is certainly different working now than it was before March. We cut our dining room capacity by 50%, and the tables are separate following CDC guidelines. As a server, we have to sanitize all the condiments and wear masks at all times, and to refill a guest’s drink, we have to get them another drink instead of just refilling it. Condiments are by request only, and nothing is left on the table. Jellies, jams, and butters when recycled are required to sit for a 72 hour period in the cooler to kill any bacteria remnants. 

 Before corona, I was a hostess and just recently made the transition to serving. While hosting, I had to wipe down all the menus with disinfectant spray. We used to have paper menus, but switched to reusable menus so we are able to clean them after every use.

At one point during the peak of the pandemic, 67% percent of business was to-go’s. The to-go’s has increased significantly, and there are always pages of to-go orders. We were one of the busiest Cracker Barrels for to-go’s in the district. 

As I’m sure with many other restaurants, business has slowed significantly after covid. We used to be on a wait every weekend morning, having 40-50 on the list with many people crammed in the retail store waiting to be seated. Now if we’re on a wait, only a certain amount of people are allowed in the store, and the rest have to wait outside on the rockers. We as employees are required to wear masks, however at our Cracker Barrel, it is not required for entry, but guests are free to wear their masks.

Weekday nights have been picking up, we’ll get random rushes at night, but for the most part it’s been slow. The majority of our customer base is older people, so corona has really affected our business. To compensate for the loss, prices have increased by 10-15 cents. Slowly but surely business will return to usual. Our prime is usually during the holidays and Thanksgiving, and hopefully by then, things will go back to usual.

It has been an experience working during a pandemic. A lot of change that everyone’s still getting used to. However, this situation will have public places sanitizing more than they did before, and that is a positive outlook we should focus on during a time of uncertainty.