Kitchen staff and servers have two main concerns: keeping food clean and being efficient. But the former is sometimes overlooked in their desire to avoid displeasing a customer or a high-strung chef. Here are ways to address the commonly overlooked food safety practices in restaurants.
Accredited Food Safety Supervisor
A huge part of reinforcing these safety measures is explaining the ‘whys’ with the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’. You need an accredited Food Safety Supervisor for this function and to implement strict OH&S procedures. Online courses are already available in Australia to equip your supervisor with the knowledge required to handle food safely, and to supervise the staff.
Hand-Washing and Personal Hygiene
Reinforcing frequent hand-washing and good personal hygiene is still a problem among many restaurants.
To address this, frequently bring this up during staff meetings. Make sure they understand why this is important. Do not assume that everyone understands how cross-contamination works or how dangerous salmonella is. Also discuss topics like bathing, proper work attire, and use of jewelry. Furthermore, put up signs in strategic locations to constantly remind your staff when they have to wash their hands.
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Identify objects in your restaurant that are frequently touched by employees and customers. Discuss how these items should be clean and when they should be cleaned. Some of the identified high-touch items in restaurants are:
- Condiment bottles
- Check holders
- Door handles
Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
Despite the increasing knowledge about allergies and dietary restrictions, not all restaurants are still equipped to address these. The safest route is to identify allergens in the menu and employ staff training. Your staff must never guess when they do not know the answer to questions about the ingredients. They must also inform the customer of any uncertainties in the source or content of an ingredient, or if they cannot accommodate the customer’s needs.
Minimising risks can be easy. With proper training and open communication, you will find that you will have to remind your staff about food safety hazards less and less.