New coronavirus era restaurant job: sanitation specialist

Specialist at Denny's to wear armband or vest and disinfect areas after each customer leaves

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The coronavirus pandemic has killed several jobs in recent weeks, but it is also creating new sanitation roles in restaurants as more states gear up for reopening.

Family-dining chain Denny's Corp is one food company that is actively looking to add sanitation specialists to restaurant crews for customer safety. John Miller, Denny's CEO, shared that all restaurants are encouraged to have this dedicated role, which requires the specialist to disinfect areas after every diner.

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"This person wears an armband or a vest that identifies their role and leaves a card on every table notifying new guests that the area has been disinfected," Miller explained in a first-quarter earnings call.

High-touch surfaces will be cleaned with a two-step clean-and-disinfect process that is quickly followed up with sanitization.

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"We have also removed high-touch items like table caddies and condiments from tables and continue to utilize single-use menus," Miller added. "Our employees are expected to wear face masks and gloves, and we've supplied all restaurants with instructions and suppliers for mandatory temperature checks using no-touch forehead thermometers."

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Denny's is not alone in its quest to maintain a sanitized facility. Recent job postings for sanitation specialists can be found on major recruitment websites.

Blue Apron, Land O'Lakes, The Hershey Company, Dominos and Whole Foods Market are just a few food companies that are looking to add sanitation team members.

The rest of Denny's employees will also be asked to maintain high cleaning standards to minimize the chance of coronavirus exposure.

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"Employees will be required to wash their hands and apply an alcohol-based sanitizer every 20 minutes," Miller said. "In addition, guests will also have easy access to hand sanitizer, and we are encouraging the installation of sanitary shields at each cash register."

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These changes have been put in place for diners who "don't want to touch anything," Miller explained. The company is even considering the implementation of kick plates on bathroom doors.