Wisconsin restaurants take pledge ‘Ready to Serve Safely’

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Like many industries, restaurants are struggling to stay open through the pandemic.  Some help may be on the menu, thanks to a new program by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

We all know of someone who works in the restaurant industry.

“Collectively restaurants represent the second largest private sector employer in the country so it is a huge economic driver,” said Kristine Hillmer, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

And once the pandemic hit, their job may have turned into a question mark.

“The restaurant industry was the first one to be shut down and has been one of the hardest hit in the entire nation,” said Hillmer.

To keep restaurants open, a group of owners are working together to encourage customers to safely dine-in, through the Ready to Serve Safely program.

“We’re helping consumers understand that restaurants are really doing everything they can to help keep not only their staff safe, but customers safe as they come in their restaurants,” said Hillmer.

The program follows CDC and FDA guidelines, to include hyper sanitization efforts, masking, social distanced tables, and the following of all local health department guidelines.

“They’re making a pledge, so that when you go into their restaurants they’re doing everything they can to keep you safe,” said Hillmer.

If restaurants abide by these protocols, and they’re a member of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, they’re invited to join the program.

“We are continuingly adding restaurants everyday as more and more come on board,” said Hillmer.

Drawing diners and dollars,  back into the restaurant industry, with safety at the top of the menu.

Two local restaurants are already on the Ready to Serve list; Outback Steakhouse in Onalaska, and Pappi’s Taqueria y Mas in West Salem.