Owning and operating a restaurant can be quite difficult. Especially when you’re supervising many different people at the same time. From chefs to waiters, someone is bound to make a mistake at some point. While someone may decide to store raw chicken in the same bowl as raw vegetables for a salad, others might decide it’s unnecessary to wash their hands again if they did so 20 minutes ago. However, you need to ensure your employees understand that it’s all in the details. Any careless decision could result in food contamination, poisoning or even worse, fatal incidents. Since foodborne illnesses are a top concern in the food industry, the slightest of mistakes could lead to a bad reputation for you and your business.
We would definitely not want your restaurant being shut down because of a small error that could’ve been avoided! Hence, we’ve made a list of steps you could take to reinforce a positive food safety culture amongst all your employees.
Here are 5 steps you could take to create a food safety culture:
To make sure that the message spreads across the board, it is essential to make sure that the top management get the memo. Start with your managers, partners and other prominent figures within your company. The best way to go about this is to lead by example. The better you do and the standards you set will pave the way for the rest of the members on your team.
Though you might be an expert within the food industry, it wouldn’t be right to assume that everyone has the same level of knowledge as you do. Explain to your employees why certain things need to be done a certain way. For example, your sous chef might not think it’s important to check food temperature using a thermometer but explicating why it’s necessary might result in him doing things differently the next time around.
As in any good restaurant, food must be inspected before it is sent out for service. If no one is checking the food before it leaves the kitchen, you might end up sending out a meal that is not up to your restaurant’s standards. Additionally, encourage your employees to check food when it reaches your facility. If food is rotten or contaminated upon arrival, there is no going back to revive it. It must immediately be tossed out and this would translate into a loss for your business. Ask your employees to refuse unsafe food on arrival.
Even the best of the best sometimes make mistakes. Encourage your employees to maintain standards with every meal served throughout the day. Conduct self-inspections every now and then to ensure top quality food is leaving the kitchen.
Food Allergy Protocols:
While chefs are well-versed in food allergy protocols, make sure the rest of your employees are too. This is essential to guarantee that no mistakes are made at all. Everyone involved in meal prep should double check every meal; they should also use clean gloves, knives and other tools. Employees also need to be aware of harmful mistakes that could be lethal. For example, decorating a plate with peanut garnish for food being served to someone who may be allergic.
There are many more protocols that you can enforce onto your employees but make sure it is done positively, in a healthy environment. If you are able to, we’d suggest enrolling your top employees at Australian Institution of Accreditation, especially those involved in food preparation, to take courses on food handling and food safety supervisors.