SAFER is RA's safety and wellbeing platform in response to COVID-19. SAFER encompasses all health and safety measures as well as engaging communications to keep everyone informed and confident. SAFER keeps health and safety top of mind as we continue to deliver hospitality excellence to our clients and guests and remain a safe place to work for our team members.

SAFER in the Media

RA's COVID-19 Safety Czar, Anthony Capozzoli, is sharing his knowledge and expertise to fellow restaurateurs and the general public. Looking for more information? Make sure to review our key takeaways from each SAFER webinar. You will find it farther down below on this page. 

Watch the Inside Edition interview.

Watch the IG Live recorded interview with Jennifer Baum of Bullfrog+Baum @bullfrogandbaum

  Follow SAFER on instagram! @S_A_F_E_R_A

Restaurant Associates Forms New Safety Role with a Laser Focus on COVID-19 Related Safety and Health Measures

New York, NY, May 11, 2020 – As the onsite dining industry continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and supports clients in re-opening plans, Restaurant Associates, the nation's premier onsite dining management company, announced the formation of a new role, RA COVID-19 Safety Czar. The position ascertains a laser focus from the company on COVID-19 related safety measures ensuring the health and wellbeing of team members and guests.

The position is held by Anthony Capozzoli, a 13-year Restaurant Associates veteran. A graduate of Johnson and Wales University, Anthony has held a variety of front and back of house positions for Restaurant Associates and was most recently Senior Director of Strategic Projects, directing all new unit openings and refreshes as well as coordinating quality assurance and workplace safety programs with a series of communications, awareness programs, specification of protective gear, and consistent follow-up.
"We believe this is a critical time to make expert resources available for our clients and operators to ensure everyone's safety and well-being," said Michael Gallagher, President, Restaurant Associates. "I cannot think of a better person than Anthony to lead this effort. In order to stay current and provide accurate information in a timely manner, we have formed an Advisory Board to guide and support Anthony."

The Advisory Board supporting the RA COVID-19 Safety Czar role is comprised of industry experts with years of experience:

Beth Torin: Beth was the Executive Director for the NYC Department of Health Office of Food Safety for the past 14 years. In that role, she was responsible for over 25,000 food service establishment inspections per year. Beth has experience in food service operations, design and assessment, and food safety.

Dr. David Buckley: Dr. Buckley serves as the Director of Retail Food Safety for Diversey. David earned a BS in biology and chemistry from East Carolina University and a doctorate in microbiology from Clemson University. David is a classically trained virologist with a focus on a variety of environmental and foodborne pathogens, such as noroviruses, Salmonella spp., E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes.

Ted Diskin: Ted is President of Health and Sanitation Systems since its inception in 1986. After receiving a Master's degree in Operations Research from NYU and a Master's degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the City University of New York, Ted became a member of its graduate faculty. He is a Registered Sanitarian through the NYS Registry of Sanitarians.

Lena Darrell, MPH, REHS/RS, RD, CDN: Lena has managed Quality Assurance for Compass Group for the last 6 years after 9 years industry experience. Lena holds an MS in Public Health and a BS in Food Science and Nutrition from Hunter College. She is REHS/RS (Registered Sanitarian from NEHA) as well as a Registered Dietitian.

Amanda King: As Workplace Safety Manager for Compass Group for the last 10+ years, Amanda focuses on preventing workplace accidents and promoting health and safety awareness and education.

Aaron Salsbury: As VP of Data Analytics with 9+ years of experience building strategy for foodservice, Aaron is a new senior leader dedicated to RA from E15 Group, Compass Group's data services and consumer insights arm.

The Advisory Board will function as a think tank examining information and guidelines to form protocols, counsel operators and clients, guide internal and external communications, as well as share best practices from across business sectors and industries.

"I am extremely excited to kick off this effort to translate guidelines into action plans and bring innovative solutions to our clients while supporting our managers and associates," said Anthony Capozzoli, RA COVID-19 Safety Czar. "My two main goals are to nurture a culture of enhanced safety and to foster a sense of guest confidence."

A network of RA COVID-19 Safety Champions across the regions will support the implementation and auditing of the programs, training of managers and team members, and coordinating cleaning and sanitizing services through Restaurant Associates' sister sector Eurest Services.

"Since our early years, Restaurant Associates has made the health and safety of our employees and guests our number one priority, it's in our DNA and an integral part of our culture of CARE." said Dick Cattani, CEO, Restaurant Associates. "We want to dedicate our best resources to safely manage the re-opening plan and beyond, hence appointing this unique position."

Read more about it in Food Management "Restaurant Associates creates new safety czar position, stresses 'facts over opinions'" and Ad Week "Eateries Hope to Lure Wary Diners Back With New Task Forces and Covid Czars: Restaurant Associates just announced a new position, and others may soon follow".

June 16 SAFER Webinar 


Below are the key takeaways from our second webinar. Panelists included:

•Anthony Capozzoli (Moderator): Restaurant Associates COVID 19 Safety Czar
•Dr. David Buckley: Director of Retail Food Safety for Diversey
•Jugveer Randhawa: CEO, Compass Digital Labs
•Aaron Salsbury: Vice President of Analytics, E15 Group

may 19 covid-19 safety webinar for ra team members, clients, and partners

Below are the key takeaways from our first COVID-19 safety webinar, held on May 19th hosted hosted by Restaurant Associates and the COVID-19 Safety Advisory Board. Our goal is to bring subject matter experts from across safety, sanitation, consumer insights, and operations together to shape an effective COVID-19 response. The Advisory Board will review and deliver information and best practices while being a trusted resource for our team members and clients. We are sharing this information in the hopes that everyone can benefit from our discussions and findings; by working together we will overcome this pandemic and keep as many people as we can SAFER.

The first webinar provided a general overview of what we know and what you should know about safety, sanitation, and our expected government response to reopening food service establishments.


  • Anthony Capozzoli (Moderator): Restaurant Associates COVID-19 Safety Czar
  • Dr. David Buckley: Director of Retail Food Safety for Diversey
  • Tom Ford: Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety for Compass Group
  • Beth Torin: Former Executive Director of the NYC Department of Health Office of Food Safety

Key Takeaways:

  • The transmission of the virus is mainly person-to-person. This means that while we need to be vigilant about our cleaning efforts, especially high-touch areas, social distancing and masks are the best forms of mitigation.
  • Testing: The RT-PCR test has proven to be the best test so far to ensure timely and accurate results. We should be wary of antibody/antigen tests because a number have lower accuracy and can lead to false-positive/negative results.
  • Survival on Surfaces: The virus can survive on surfaces, but its lifespan and potency reduce over time. Lab testing shows it survives on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours and cardboard for up to 24 hours.
  • The difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting:
    • Cleaning is the most important step in the hygienic process. Cleaning with detergent removes germs and materials and allows sanitizer/disinfectants to be effective. After using detergent, don't forget to rinse.
    • Sanitizing reduces food-borne pathogens to a safe level. It is important in food service areas, but not applicable to COVID-19. Sanitizers are not to be rinsed and should be used after you clean a surface. By definition from the EPA, sanitizers cannot be used to inactivate viruses.
    • Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean surfaces or remove germs, but when used after cleaning reduces the risk of spreading infection. The disinfectants being used by Compass are effective against COVID-19.
  • Specific to deliveries, you do not need to wipe down products. Wear a mask and gloves during and wash your hands after. Should the product allow it (i.e., not require refrigeration), you can leave for 24 hours as an additional measure.
  • We do not recommend a change in the way you treat produce. Operators should continue to treat and wash produce as they have been. Everything we see shows that produce and food are not known-vehicle for COVID-19.
  • Electrostatic Spraying (i.e., spray backpacks) can be effective, but an untrained user will not use it correctly. There are also potential regulation adjustments coming from the EPA. Therefore, we are hesitant to recommend it.
  • Antimicrobial films (i.e., tables prefabricated with protective covering) we have seen are not effective. Any amount of soil quickly negates its effectiveness.
  • We are monitoring UV Light cleaning products, but have not recommended any products yet. These can be effective and require additional training. If used incorrectly, UV Light is not effective.
  • We are expecting guidelines, not requirements to come from local and state authorities. We expect capacity limitations starting at 25%. It is important to note that you can still find ways to accommodate your guests by opening up other areas in your building for seating and service.
  • Restaurant Associates mandated COVID-19 Training for all managers and associates before returning that includes safety and care elements.
  • Notes around PPE and other new equipment:
    • Masks: Ensure your employees and guests have masks, whether cloth or disposable.
    • Gloves: Staff should wear gloves at all times and frequently change them after handling food.
    • Plexiglas barriers: Barriers between tables, or at your point-of-sale, are a good additional step.
    • Signage: Signage reminds guests and employees of their responsibilities (handwashing, distancing, masks). It is also a chance to communicate protocols you are doing to keep them safe.
    • Overt sanitation: Go above and beyond to show your guests the frequency of your cleaning.
  • Compass Group Quality Assurance team is treating this similar to a natural disaster. The QA team put in place a detailed reopening checklist that addresses all the cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection of equipment and spaces.
  • A comprehensive mandatory training program around safety and compassion will be deployed to all team members prior to re-opening.

our safety commitment

We are committed to everyone's safety. When you dine with us, your health and safety is of paramount importance.

You can rest assured we are taking many steps to ensure a safe dining environment. This includes:

  • Specialized pandemic & COVID-19 safety training for all associates.
  • Employee temperature and health checks before every shift.
  • Masks worn by all associates.
  • All associate workspaces with a minimum of 6 feet of space between them.
  • Maintaining strict cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting protocols.
  • Ensuring CDC guidelines for handwashing and hygiene etiquette.
  • Reinforcing Food Safety Management System & HACCP standards for food preparation and service.
  • Suspending self-service and moving to packaged items and attended stations to minimize transmission of viral particles.

catering & conference dining

With the health and safety of our clients and staff in mind, we are taking many steps to ensure a safe catering experience:

  • Specialized pandemic & COVID-19 safety training for all associates.
  • Employee temperature and health checks before every shift.
  • Masks worn by all associates.
  • A new pair of gloves worn by associates for each delivery.
  • All associate workspaces with a minimum of 6 feet of space between them.
  • Maintaining strict cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting protocols.
  • Ensuring CDC guidelines for handwashing and hygiene etiquette.
  • Reinforcing Food Safety Management System & HACCP standards for food preparation and service.

Additionally, our teams have developed new catering menus and have exciting programs in the pipeline including informational webinars and trainings on planning meetings with these new guidelines, catering vouchers, special offers, and more.

CxRA has developed a detailed plan on events reimagined. Click here to view.

protect yourself & others

The following guidelines are intended to keep you and everyone around you, including our associates, safer:

  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Maintain a 6 feet minimum distance from others.
  • Please try to touch only what you plan to purchase.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as your phone, keyboard, and desk.
  • If you are showing symptoms, please notify your health provider and stay home.


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