The 5 Stars of Hygiene
Did you know that analysis of 250,000 restaurants, including those of large chains, found that 1 in 20 were given a failing hygiene rating in 2019?
As a restaurant or takeaway, your first priority should be hygiene. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best food in town, if you’re not scoring a good hygiene rating, you’re not going to get the customers you need. No one wants to eat at an establishment where they run the risk of falling ill from an uncooked chicken burger, or a contaminated piece of fish. Hygiene doesn’t just apply to your customers, either - it affects your staff as well. You don’t want your staff ringing in late when they come into contact with some contaminated food.
Hygiene has the potential to cost you a lot of money, as the FSSAI frequently dishes out hefty fines, often up to £7,100, and even closures to establishments who don’t match with their standards. Delivery companies are taking note of this customer expectation, with many not allowing establishments with under three stars to advertise on their platform. It is now more important than ever to ensure that your establishment is up to scratch, or face some detrimental consequences.
But how can you ensure that you’re meeting standards, and what steps can you take to get your takeaway or restaurant a good hygiene rating?
It starts with your staff
When you walk into a restaurant one of the first things your customers see, before even the menu, is the staff. If you find yourself greeted by a disheveled waiter, it’s unlikely you’ll be very impressed, friendly demeanor or not. Customers want to be welcomed by tidily dressed and professionally presented staff, and it’s important to train them as such.
It’s also probable that if your staff aren’t taking care of themselves, they’re more than likely not taking the proper precautions in your kitchen or service room. All staff should be provided with clean clothing, hair nets, proper gloves and the necessary hygienic items and tools as a baseline.
Good personal hygiene is a must no matter where you work, but it is extremely important in a restaurant. No one wants their food to be handled by someone who doesn’t wash their hands, or use the correct sanitizers. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of food borne illness, and hands must be washed before, during and after service.
Inspections, Inspections, Inspections
You should be checking your restaurant all over at least 4 times a day. You want to make sure that you’re looking for key areas that your restaurant should be nailing every single hour of every single day. Not just your kitchen, either - your restaurant service should be checked as well. Make a checklist with a list of all the things that should be perfect - something like this:
- All surfaces that come into direct contact with food should be spotless, and sanitized
- Floors should be clean and clear of mess
- Fridges should be clean, and out of date produce should be removed and disposed of
- Equipment should be clean and sterilized
- All equipment and furniture that customers come into contact with, such as bar tops, chairs and tables should be immaculate and sterilized
This is just a few things you should think about - go through your entire establishment, and make a comprehensive checklist of things to inspect.
Think like a safety inspector
Safety inspectors will be looking in every nook and cranny of your restaurant or takeaway - and so should you. Every day when you get into work, you should be looking around and wondering whether a safety inspector would bring something to your attention. Another way to think about it would be looking through the eyes of your customers. Are your window ledges, tables and bar dust free and unsticky? Is the floor clean and clear? It is important that you consider the cleanliness of your establishment based on a customer's expectations, especially considering that they often base whether or not they will eat with you based on their first impressions of your restaurant.
Only the best
You should always use the most effective cleaning products you possibly can, and make sure that you’ve got the right cleaning apparatus for the equipment you have in and around your establishment. Find out what will work best for each and every appliance, and use the best possible cleaning solution that you can find.
Get some outside help
There are times when there is no one at your restaurant - and during this time, your establishment is gathering dust and grease. Hire a cleaning company that can come in and out of your restaurant when you’re not around, and clean the entire thing from head to toe. Remember this doesn't mean you can slack off during the day - instead, it makes your life easier when you’re cleaning in the daylight hours.
There are also a whole host of systems and services that are dedicated to helping you keep your establishment clean, presentable and properly maintained. Be it a drainage system that will reduce waste food and grease, to cleaning products that will revolutionise the cleaning of your kitchen. Obviously, these systems can cost - but it’s important to remember the benefits that they can provide for you, your team, and most importantly, your restaurant. Invest in cleaning systems and inspection reporting procedures and save a lot in potential fines.
Hygiene is extremely important, and is becoming more and more of a concern for the modern restaurant. Guidelines from the government are becoming stricter, and customers are evermore concerned with whether the place they are eating is clean and hygienic. As the owners of restaurants and takeaways, we need to be more vigilant than ever, taking every precaution possible to get the highest hygiene ratings possible. The Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo has an extensive selection of solutions and products that will make getting that 5* hygiene rating much easier. Find out more here.