Health and safety are a huge priority for any business owner. Not only do you have a responsibility to protect your staff, but you need to look out for your customers too. Accidents that take place on your premises can result in staff being laid off sick, customers refusing to return to your store and even law cases that could see you pay out heavy compensation fees and fines. However, few entrepreneurs need to focus on this area quite as ardently as the restaurateur. Negligence in the food industry can have devastating effects: from food poisoning to allergic reactions which could even prove fatal. So, if you are planning on opening a restaurant or already own one and simply fancy brushing up on your knowledge, here’s everything you need to know in order to ensure the quality and hygiene of your establishment and the health and safety of everyone within it.
Basic Health and Safety
Like every public premise, a restaurant must have basic health and safety regulations that should be maintained at all times. Before allowing any staff to work for your company, ensure that they are fully trained in your brand’s procedures. This should include fire procedures (including meeting points), basic first aid training and a working knowledge of the equipment available in the restaurant space and its location (fire extinguishers, first aid kits, etc). Signage should be readily available to indicate wet floors or slip hazards.
Food establishments have a unique problem to watch out for: allergens. You will need to ensure that any allergens in dishes are clearly stated on your menu. You should also inform customers if you are creating allergen free dishes in a kitchen which handles other products that could be detrimental to their health. Avoid cross contamination at all costs, by ensuring that all kitchen members are using color coded chopping boards and that raw ingredients are stored in individual, sealed containers.
All food served should be fresh, clean and well within its use by date. Certain foods are more likely to cause food poisoning amongst people eating it. Particularly problematic foods tend to be undercooked meat, fish and reheated food items. Invest in specialist hygiene equipment from companies like Unifood.tech which will effectively wash fish products, optimizing them for cooking and consumption. Make it company policy that food should not be reheated, especially products like rice which can spawn bacteria quickly. Also ensure that stock is monitored, with every item having its use by date clearly displayed and stale or expired products being disposed of safely and efficiently. If customers ask to take food away, ensure that they sign a disclaimer, freeing you of responsibility for illness caused by ill handling of a product once it has left your store.
It is important that you stick to the alcohol sales regulations of your country or state. Alcohol can have a detrimental effect on individuals’ health and should only be sold to consenting adults. Never offer free or complimentary alcoholic drinks to customers and refuse to serve those who are already intoxicated. You can be held partially liable for their consequent actions or well being if you do.