As Mask Mandates Spread, Training for De-Escalation Strategies

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants

Foodservice Training Portal releases its newest course, Smart Tactics eStart on August 10. Using recommendations and de-escalation protocols from leading crisis management organizations and law enforcement, this online micro-training provides de-escalation strategies for restaurants and foodservice employees to use when dealing with and adhering to mask protocols.

16% of U.S. adults said they hardly ever or have never worn a mask inside a store or other business during the past month.
Pew Research Center

Customer mask mandates are spreading among states across the country. At the same time, viral videos and news reports of anti-mask customer outbursts reveal another threat to worker safety created by COVID-19. Employers risk liability for not protecting their workers from customer harassment based on race or other characteristics protected by federal civil rights law. According to Baruch Fellner, a veteran workplace safety lawyer who represents employers for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, “Employers could insulate themselves from OSHA citations related to customer outbursts over mask policies by adopting virus-protection protocols that mirror guidelines from the CDC and industry standards.”

Foodservice Training Portal provides this type of training through its existing Healthy Habits eStart course.  Healthy Habits eStart is online infectious disease awareness training for employees that uses CDC, FDA and NIH recommendations & protocols to educate on best practices in the foodservice and restaurant workplace. The course provides staff with critical information to respond to and prevent the spread of viral illness- the common cold, flu and COVID-19/Coronavirus.

Now, as a companion to Healthy Habits eStart, Foodservice Training Portal is releasing Smart Tactics eStart. The CDC recommends that people wear face coverings while in public to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. However, 16% of U.S. adults said they hardly ever or have never worn a mask inside a store or other business during the past month, according to the Pew Research Center. Foodservice employees are left to deal with potential customer abuse, difficult conversations and uncomfortable interactions with patrons.  Smart Tactics eStart™ is currently being used by select clients and provides employees with immediately actionable tools to mitigate conflict, de-escalate confrontations and create positive situations out of possible skirmishes.

“As restaurants re-open and work to regain their footing in the marketplace, operators want to focus on their food and service. Not mask mandates,” stated Eric Webster, Managing Director of Foodservice Training Portal. “With Smart Tactics eStart™, operators are protecting their employees and their business by implementing de-escalation protocols that could ideally reduce or eliminate problems with customers who do not want to wear masks. Understanding these techniques can help your employees better deal with disruptive behaviors and tough customers leading to more successful interactions, improved customer service while adhering to safety and compliance standards within your operation.”

Smart Tactics eStart can be utilized as a standalone course, as a companion to Healthy Habits eStart or as part of Foodservice Training Portal’s comprehensive Foodservice Success University offering:  


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