MI Restaurants Launch ServSafe Dining Commitment Pledge

Borrowing a page once again from the Southwest Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a state association is working to help those who search diligently for restaurants and diners that are totally committed to the health and safety of staff and guests alike. Similar to what the local chamber has been doing for several months, the Michigan restaurant industry is stepping up to make identifying such businesses considerably easier going forward statewide.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) has launched the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment. It is designed to communicate to guests that restaurants achieving its credentials have exceeded all safety and sanitation protocols through extensive training and education. It is a demonstration of their pledge to prioritize the health and safety of all those who work and dine in their establishment.

The SWM Chamber version, launched two months ago, is called Southwest Michigan Safe and can be found online at this link: http://swmisafe.org

Justin Winslow, President and CEO of the MRLA, tells us, “The hospitality industry has always prioritized the health and safety of guests and employees above all else,” and adds, “In this era of COVID-19, the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment further demonstrates this as restaurants across the state continue to safely serve guests and make certain they feel comfortable when dining out or getting carryout or delivery by basing their commitment in education and proper accreditation”

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Importantly, only restaurants that have achieved ServSafe credentials can pledge the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment. Administered by the U.S. National Restaurant Association, ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program. The primary goal of ServSafe is to educate food service workers about food safety.

As part of the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment, restaurants commit to:

  • Adhere to MRLA, FDA and CDC reopening guidance…
  • Ensure at least one person per location has a valid ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification…
  • Have a minimum of ten employees per location trained with ServSafe Food Handler and ServSafe COVID-19 courses…
  • Comply with Michigan Executive Orders and local municipality rules…

ServSafe training and certification is recognized by more federal, state, and local jurisdictions than any other food safety certification. The ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification signifies completion of the course teaching about foodborne illness, how to prevent it and how to train employees in food sanitation. The ServSafe Food Handler course covers Basic Food Safety, Personal Hygiene, Cross-Contamination & Allergens, Time and Temperature, and Cleaning and Sanitation. ServSafe COVID-19 courses teach how to recognize symptoms, understanding how to prevent the virus and guidance on operational changes to maintain social distancing.

Jeff Lobdell, owner of Restaurant Partners, Inc. and board member of both MRLA and the National Restaurant Association, says, “Restaurant Partners Management is very excited to see the launch and availability of the MRLA ServSafe Dining Commitment through the National Restaurant Association.” He adds, “The ServSafe brand is the standard bearer in our industry with regards to all things hospitality and food service training and this program will surely assist restaurants and their guests across our great state to ensure maximum workplace and dining safety during these challenging times. We are all in this together and everyone’s health and safety is our top priority.”

In turn, restaurants are encouraging guests to commit to the following when dining in or ordering carryout from their establishment:

  • Wear a face covering while not seated, in accordance with Executive Order 2020-153…
  • Have patience with staff as extra precautions are implemented for guest safety…
  • If feeling sick, order delivery or contactless takeout…
  • Maintain proper social distancing…

Jennifer Szewc, Joint Venture Partner at Outback Steakhouse Detroit, says, “The health and safety of our team members and guests are our top priority, and we take providing a clean and comfortable environment very seriously.” She notes, “All of our employees must complete this enhanced safety training with an emphasis on personal wellness, food safety, and sanitation before returning to work. The MRLA ServeSafe Dining Commitment complements our existing high standards. ”

Restaurants ready to make the Commitment can go to this link: http://commit.servsafe.com

Customers will start seeing the ServSafe Dining Commitment logo at participating restaurants later this summer.

Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) is the recognized leader of Michigan’s hospitality industry, providing essential services to the foodservice and lodging community. Founded in 1921 as the Michigan Restaurant Association and now known as the MRLA, the Association represents over 5,000 Michigan foodservice and lodging establishments. The industry plays an integral role in Michigan’s economy, employing nearly 600,000 people and creating $40 billion in annual revenue. For more information, visit www.mrla.org.