Senior Cynthia Wan
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I work at Kizuki, the ramen restaurant. I like my job. It’s really fun getting to interact with different people each shift and hosting requires some brainpower. I’m the hostess at Kizuki so basically I take orders over the phone, I seat people when they come in, I am in charge of the waiting list when there is one, and sometimes I help with boba!
How has COVID-19 affected you and your job?
I followed coronavirus pretty early since I have family in China so I knew about it when they thought it was just pneumonia at the time. My dad actually was the one that was pretty skeptical that it was just pneumonia and thought it could be (Severe acute respiratory syndrome). I knew it would blow up, but I didn’t think it would be to the point where everything was shut down. In terms of my job, my parents actually temporarily had me leave so (March 15) was my last day until school starts. Coincidentally, on (March 17) I was notified that we were no longer doing in-person orders and only to-go orders. This meant that my manager had to cut down on staff anyways and since I’m not depending on that money to live, I wouldn’t have minded being cut.
How has your workplace reacted to COVID-19?
Since Kizuki is a sit-down restaurant, we no longer do that and can only do to-go orders. My manager said she would have to cut down the staff for the time being.
What tips would you give to workers who don’t want to be exposed to germs?
Honestly, for people who don’t want to be exposed to germs at all, they shouldn’t be out. Germs are everywhere and they shouldn’t expect anything else. Just this past weekend, I had two customers who were wearing face masks and I was thinking like if you’re that worried about contracting the virus, don’t come out to eat. We took a lot of sanitary measures at work such as cleaning the handles and surfaces every hour with Lysol plus cleaning areas we don’t usually clean. Of course, we do our best to keep our food clean and fresh, but germs are going to be everywhere. A lot of the staff did start wearing gloves though. I wore gloves even though I wasn’t touching food. It was just to protect myself and customers.
What tips would you give to customers who don’t want to be exposed to germs?
If you’re a worker and worried about germs, as with the customers, don’t go to work. There are going to be germs whether there is a pandemic or not. Back to the customers, if you’re just trying to stay clean, you can ask for disposable utensils since no one has used those before. Make sure to drink out of straws and not the cup directly. Wash your hands in the bathroom before and after eating. As a worker, make sure to wear gloves so that you protect yourself and you make the customers feel safe. Use hand sanitizer constantly. All of the staff were constantly pumping the hand sanitizer.
How busy has Kizuki been?
For restaurants, it’s actually the opposite of most grocery stores. It was incredibly slow. I hadn’t seen it that slow since the Super Bowl. People do not need to eat out so they don’t come in as opposed to grocery stores where you do need groceries. Even customers commented on how slow we were. Usually, on Friday and Saturday nights, you’re looking at an hour wait but it was almost as slow as a weekday.
What advice would you give to customers who still want to eat out despite the safety precautions?
If you really do want to eat out, I would recommend ordering a to go. Of course, the servers will prefer in-person since tips but you can always tip on a to-go order. The best times or slowest times would be lunch as opposed to dinner. Usually, the rush is around 6 or 6:30 pm. For us, the best items would definitely be ramen and boba to go with it is great too.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think although we should not panic, everyone should be extra cautious. Workers need to be mindful of where they’re touching. For example, the bussers who clear tables were told to wear gloves because you don’t want to be touching where someone’s mouth was. Customers should bring wet wipes or hand sanitizer to be clean. Don’t be afraid to ask too! We had a customer who asked if they could use the staff hand sanitizer and of course we were going to say yes.