A letter from Clara’s Owner, Ross Simpson
Dear Clara’s Guests,
We have missed you! With our restaurant’s re-opening after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back and to highlight what we have done to make your visit to Clara’s on the River as safe and fulfilling as possible. We have made substantial investments in our building’s infrastructure and in our operational practices to further protect the health and safety of our guests and staff from the spread of Covid19.
Upon you return to Clara’s, you will notice many changes to our restaurant. We believe these changes make us stronger and more resilient. Our preparation for your return has been an expansive process, and I am incredibly proud of the way our Team Members have implemented new operational guidelines for the safety of our guests and staff. We are even more prepared and eager to welcome our guests than ever before.
As I describe to you the efforts we have made to protect the health of us all, I would first like to point out that our collective safety depends, in part, on you. We ask that you please respect the safety of our staff and guests. Facemasks are required for entry and travel throughout the restaurant, though they may be removed upon your being seated at a table. You will notice that our staff are required to wear facemasks and gloves. Facemask rules are strictly enforced at Clara’s.
Please do not enter our restaurant if you or a family member you live with have currently tested positive for Covid19 or if you or any member of your party have any symptoms of Covid19 (cough, trouble breathing or fever). By entering our building, you are confirming that you are healthy, and it is safe for you to be in the company of others.
Once inside, look around. We have employed social distancing floor signage, plexiglass shielding at our host stand, directional signage for the routing of guests through our entry doors, closed our waiting areas, added outdoor seating for waiting, and added stanchions and roping in our lobbies, all to help minimize face-to-face encounters in the restaurant. You will also find hand sanitizer stations throughout Clara’s.
Every food entrée from our once 17-page menu is now offered in a single-use paper menu that guests are welcome to take home or which will be disposed of after it is used. Our separate drink and dessert menus are sanitized after each use. We have removed all items from the table such as salt & pepper shakers, ketchup, mustard, and other sauces. These items are now served in individual portion-controlled packaging. All silverware is now prewrapped by our staff, while wearing gloves and masks, and are placed on the table only as guest’s are seated.
We have gone touchless for your safety wherever we can. We have installed touchless automatic entry door openers in our lobby and to our patio. For our restrooms, we have touchless foot plate and arm hook door entry devices, touchless faucets, touchless flush valves, touchless soap dispensers, and touchless towel dispensers.
To help in our fight against infection, Clara’s utilizes a phone app developed in Canada for our staff check-ins prior to their arrival to work. Staff answer each of the CDC recommended health questions and report their answers and temperature from home through the phone app. The results of this pre-screening are reported to our management which are reviewed and confirmed before the staff can enter the building. Our vendors are also required to check-in and answer health related questions before their entry into Clara’s, as well.
We have enhanced our ongoing sanitation procedures, including all frequently touched surfaces throughout the restaurant. And, our management and staff have been trained on Covid19 safety procedures and completed Serve-Safe Training and Certification.
During the shutdown, we have re-built and reupholstered our booths with new vinyl seat covering, removing all cloth surfaces to allow proper sanitizing between each guest seating. We replaced our carpeting throughout the restaurant. Waiter/Busser stations have been rebuilt. And, we added a new phone system to the restaurant that is better functionally than our old one and is more easily sanitize-able.
In our kitchen, our guest’s food orders are now displayed on video monitors, eliminating the need for passing paper tickets back-and-forth. Our walk-in coolers have been rebuilt, and our refrigerated workstations have recently been replaced to ensure safe food storage for years to come.
And, of course, the restaurant has been detailed, cleaned, and sanitized before our re-opening. Even our heating & cooling systems, and our air ducts have been thoroughly cleaned and modernized.
For those who aren’t quite ready to enter a restaurant dining room just yet, or for those who wish to pick-up food for the family at home, we have added a Curbside Service addition to the front of our building for a way to enjoy our menu items without leaving your vehicle. This addition helps us better serve call-ahead takeout orders, and to provide service to our new drive-in Car Hop guests in designated spaces of our parking lot. We have added wireless point-of-sale ordering devices and touchless credit card devices for use by our servers to make these transactions easier and safer. We have also added on-line ordering to our new modernized website, claras.com. And, don’t forget, we have the most beautiful garden patio in Battle Creek if you prefer outdoor seating and service to indoors.
As you can see, Clara’s is taking our customer’s and staff’s health safety very seriously. We have made a major investment in the future. We believe our customers will recognize our commitment and dedication to a safe, pleasant, and unique dining experience. At Clara’s on the River, we have deep roots and a rich history. Yet, we are committed to staying on the cutting edge of our industry at the same time. We are looking forward to a wonderful future, together.
Clara’s on the River
June 27, 2020