The buffet chain is also offering paid sick leave to diagnosed employees.

Joining other restaurant brands, Golden Corral announced Friday that is will grant paid sick leave for company-operated workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

In addition to the benefit, the chain reported its aggressive cleaning measures such as sanitizing surfaces and changing utensils every 30 minutes, requiring employees to wash their hands every 20 minutes, and ensuring all hand sanitizer stations are stocked and operating properly.

“The health, safety, and well-being of our co-workers, guests and communities are always our top priority and we are deeply committed to delivering on that promise,” Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenary said in a statement. “Our brand specializes in serving our local communities across the country. We implemented additional preventive measures to address coronavirus concerns and to maintain a clean and safe environment for our co-workers and our guests.”

The announcement is likely meant to calm the fears of consumers, who are concerned about the safety of sitting in a full-service restaurant next to others.

According to a survey from Datassential, 49 percent of respondents believe visiting a buffet-style restaurant would increase the likelihood of contracting coronavirus. Seventy-seven percent believe self-serve food would increase their chances of being infected.

Pamela Ritz, MS Food Safety, who has advised Golden Corral on its coronavirus preparation, said that since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, it cannot be contracted through food.

“Consumers can also do a great deal to help protect themselves and prevent the spread of the disease when dining out including washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands; and, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands,” Ritz said.

The news comes after Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants granted paid sick leave to its employees and McDonald’s announced pay for quarantined employees at corporate stores. Starbucks expanded catastrophe pay for COVID-19 care and Noodles & Company implemented emergency paid sick leave for employees at company-owned stores.

Here’s a breakdown of what Golden Corral is doing to combat coronavirus concerns.

  • Placing co-workers at company-owned restaurants on paid leave for scheduled hours during a 14 day quarantine resulting from a confirmed diagnosis
  • Sanitizing the surfaces of all key guest touch-points every 30 minutes
  • Changing all serving utensils every 30 minutes
  • Diligently following current cleaning procedures using proven and effective sanitizing products
  • Reinforcing stringent handwashing practices requiring employees to wash their hands every 20 minutes or between tasks
  • Making sure all hand sanitizer stations are stocked and operating properly, as well as adding additional sanitizing stations throughout the restaurant
Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Consumer Trends, Feature, Food Safety, Golden Corral