A restaurant’s reputation can be discredited by bad customer service, rude staff, and poor taste or inconsistent quality of food. These are all bad ways to ruin your restaurant image, but what’s worse is a case of food poisoning. Don’t ever put your restaurant in the limelight because of this reason. Here are ways to avoid causing food poisoning in your restaurant.
1. Know your food suppliers
The first step to ensuring you’re serving quality food is to choose the right suppliers. When choosing, put on your inspector hat. It’s not enough that you like the food they deliver. Know where their farms are, and investigate whether their claim about not using hazardous chemicals is true.
2. Keep prep area clean
Apply everything you learned during the food handling training sessions. After all, My Food Safety says these courses meet government requirements. Your kitchen area should be clean–from countertops to sinks. This should be kept clean all throughout the day, not only during opening hours. For instance, no matter how fast the tables are turning, use different chopping boards and knives for different kinds of food.
3. Store food wisely
Cooking food properly is not the only key to making sure your food is not contaminated. Different kinds of food should be assigned to different storage areas. This is another reason to monitor delivery schedules.
You don’t want to be forcing and shoving all ingredients in one refrigerator due to lack of space. In addition, observe proper temperature when storing food items.
4. Respect food labels
If the label on the bottle says ‘keep refrigerated’ or ‘refrigerate after opening’, follow them. Take note of ‘allergy warning’ labels. Most importantly, don’t disrespect the ‘best before’ dates.
5. Take out the trash
Don’t wait until closing to take out the trash. Assign someone to check the trash cans regularly. If you see that it’s about to overflow, take them out. Also, overflowing garbage isn’t a pretty sight.
6. Observe proper hygiene and grooming of employees
You shouldn’t skip grooming and sanitation when you design your operations manual. Aside from looking presentable, employees should have proper grooming and hygiene. It’s not only the customer-facing employees you should monitor; more importantly, the kitchen staff and those handling the food should comply. Don’t let sick employees report for work no matter how under-staffed you are.
7. Keep all things and areas clean
Utensils and glassware should be clean. Tables should also be dry, so avoid using damp cloth when wiping them. Don’t ignore areas that are not for dining, such as the bathroom and the areas where your non-food supplies are stored.
To avoid food poisoning, handle food properly in all stages. According to the Imported and Manufactured Food Program Inspection Manual, food safety hazards causing food poisoning or any other adverse health effects ‘may be introduced into the food supply any time during harvesting, formulation and processing, packaging and labelling, transportation, storage, preparation, and serving’. In short, there are no shortcuts.