Holiday at home 2021 – We are ‘Good to Go.’

‘A small step to a giant adventure’ is the new campaign, launched today across the province encouraging staycations. The French Rooms and Maison Bushmills are ready to welcome visitors from across NI who plan to support our tourism industry this season. This support is vital for our industry’s survival and offers a unique opportunity for us all to enjoy the incredible visitor attractions and experiences on our doorstep this year. As of May 28th approaches, we are looking forward to welcoming our team and guests back to great service and the opportunity to champion the best of local produce. In the background, there has been lots of hard work to ensure everyone is ‘Safe & Alert’ & Good to Go.‘ We want to tell you about our menus, new dishes, and cocktails you have been yearning for. We don’t really want to bore you with talk of risk assessments and PPE, but it is important, and we have outlined our measures for those interested. If you see the Taste Causeway ‘Safe and Alert’ or the ‘Good to Go’ sticker logo or sticker displayed on-premises, you can be assured that the operators have completed a Level 2 Health and Safety Working Practices accreditation to support businesses to develop all-important safety mitigation measures and complete a robust Risk Assessment.  Bushmills can boast high numbers of our local cafes, restaurants, and hotels completed this detailed course making it a safe destination to visit.

Each business is different in terms of layout and therefore individual risk assessments are key, which is why establishments have different measures in place. At the French Rooms we have made alterations and are introducing the following measures (it is not an exhaustive list) :-

  • We completed the above course and have allocated a member of the team to oversee the management of our Safe & Alert plan.
  • The entire buildings is being deep cleaned by a small team before staff and customers return.
  • Pre-opening – our entire team are being trained and briefed on the additional measures in place.
  • We have introduced a detailed staff protection plan and are conducting a return to work conversation with all team members.
  • We are introducing an online reservations system to make it easier for our guests to reserve tables in advance so we can manage capacity and social distancing with ease by staggering bookings. It will also assist in managing the time required to sanitise between guests.
  • Guests contact details will be recorded to assist ‘Track and Trace’.
  • We have introduced a new hand washing station near the entrance which includes 2 sinks (spaced out) for arrivals and a hand sanitising area beside the door for exiting guests.
  • Introduced a ‘keep left’ strategy front and back of house, with priority given to guests at ‘pinch points’ of which we have identified 2 areas.
  • The entrance area and ‘please wait to be seated’ area have been cleared and modified with signage to assist safe queuing. The changes will also facilitate a one-way system.
  • Screens have been erected at the bar and reception area, credit card payments will be encouraged, and integration has been set up to reduce contact.
  • We have modified our menu to facilitate turnaround times to reduce contact and ensure viability as we manage with reduced capacity. The menu also facilitates a smaller kitchen team working in segregation, and we have taken onboard the regulatory advice to reduce the use of multi dishes where possible. Some favourites and smaller bites are not on right now, but we will continually review our offering.
  • We will be using single-use menus primarily; guests can order from our Facebook page or website. We have purchased new ordering tablets to reduce the risk of infection at till points and reduce the need for sharing equipment and access to the kitchen. We are also considering an ordering app. Menu boards are also available.
  • Condiments will be single-use, table lay-up will be carefully managed.
  • We have removed almost all fabric seating, ensuring all tables and chairs are suitable for sanitisation between guests.
  • We have introduced signage for our team and guests to remind them of key messages and instructions, hand washing and social distancing being key.
  • Our team will have their temperatures checked and recorded at the start of each shift.
  • An isolation room has been allocated if a team member or a member of the public develops symptoms.
  • We have reduced tables to ensure that guests are socially distanced.
  • Toilet facilities – we have 4 separate guest facilities, including disabled, converted to single-use facilities.
  • Sanitation routine during service – a team member has been allocated to continual sanitisation and checking of public areas, toilets, door handles, delivery bay to ensure that all contact surfaces are regularly sanitised.
  • PPE Station for our team – one of the guest suites has been converted into a storage area for the management of PPE to ensure that team members have access to what they need, the PPE is sanitised, and no cross-contamination occurs.
  • We have introduced a new delivery bay area outside the kitchen area with sanitisation facilities with clear signage for our suppliers.
  • All of the above will be regularly reviewed; risk assessments will be reviewed in detail every 2 weeks to ensure compliance and introduce improvements and modifications.
  • Regulations and mitigations have yet to be finalised by the NI Executive for indoor licensed dining; therefore, further measures may be put in place when we are furnished with the details.

Without the help of Taste Causeway and Hospitality Ulster, we would be struggling to get our heads around this. Their support through this crisis has been incredible. All of the above measures are in addition to our 5-star Food safety rating. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back from the 28th May 2021 and hope you love our new menus and the redecoration improvements! Online reservations and more information available via our website The French Rooms.

Stella & The French Rooms Team.

Published by


Chef owner of The French Rooms restaurant in Bushmills which is a French inspired experience soon to be offering six luxury guest suites.

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