Best Practice for Mask Mandates and Conflicts | Modern Restaurant Management


As new varieties spread across the country, some states are encouraging the wearing of masks again. As a business owner trying to keep your restaurant open, you might want to ask for this for your guests. Regrettably, not everyone is on board with a mask. This can create instant tension in your home and conflict between your staff and guests.

Whether you live in an area that requires masking or just needing them for your business, how do you deal with anti-masking conflicts?

Make sure you inform your patrons correctly

When you own a business, you make the rules. Restaurant owners have always had the right to refuse service to anyone who does not follow these rules. Most people have heard of the saying “no shoes, no shirt, no service”. For many, however, that list now includes masks. It is critical to establish rules that you believe will benefit your business and protect both your customers and your employees. But make sure you are transparent about them.

The first people who should know about rule changes are your employees. Hold regular meetings to keep your employees informed of any changes you make. Remember that your employees enforce the mask requirement on the floor. So if you make sure they are properly trained, life will be made easier for them.

Next, make sure your customers know the rules. Let them know of the mask requirement before they enter your facility by posting a sign on the door or an A-frame sign on the sidewalk. Keep your website and social media pages up to date with your needs. The last thing you want as a restaurant is that a guest accuses you of not making your rules public. The more you can inform them of changes before they occur, the less likely it is that conflicts will arise. If you don’t like these rules, it is your decision to leave your business to someone else.

Have your employees ready

Train staff on all pandemic logs and make sure they stay safe. Your exercise program should include:

  • This is how you keep things hygienic
  • Cleaning practices
  • Up-to-date virus spread statistics
  • Mask guidelines
  • Vaccination guidelines

You should also train your staff on how to deal with angry or contentious customers. If someone walks into your facility and argues about not wearing a mask, your staff needs to be prepared.

You can also train your staff on de-escalation techniques, including everything from listening to an angry person with words, to acknowledging, apologizing, and clarifying. Some customers won’t let up, but de-escalation skills can help your reps keep a calm, positive environment.

Offer other options

Try to offer your customers other options that limit direct contact between them and your employees, such as: B. Delivery, contactless roadside pick-up and take-away orders

While diners still have to wear a mask to enter your restaurant, most people don’t complain so much about having to wear one for 30 seconds while picking up and taking food home. Self-ordering kiosks can also be helpful, especially if you put them in front of your restaurants. These are gaining traction across the country due to the current labor shortage.

Reducing the risk of conflict in your business is one of the best things you can do. As an employer, the safety and wellbeing of your employees should be your top priority. If it ever escalates between an employee and a customer, make sure you are ready and willing to step in and help.