10 Essential Tips to Increase Restaurant Food Safety

tips increase restaurant food safety restaurateur coronavirus compliance

Do you own or manage a restaurant? Or maybe you’re working in one? With the current COVID-19 pandemic, food safety has never become more important. 

Many restaurants in the United States reinvented the ways they prepare food. Employees wash their hands more frequently. Restaurants also placed a cap on the time customers can dine and stay inside.

However, restaurant food safety involves more than basic hygiene. It also covers food sanitation and restaurant safety, among others.

But how exactly do you increase food safety? What are the food safety tips you need to practice? Continue reading below as we discuss 10 essential tips you need to implement today.


1. The Clean Rule

The first and most fundamental of all restaurant food safety tips is the “clean rule.” This rule covers different aspects that directly and indirectly affect food safety. 

For starters, make sure everyone in the restaurant washes their hands between jobs. Proper handwashing requires antibacterial soap and some warm bubbly water. The washing process must be 20 to 30 seconds long.

Thereafter, thoroughly dry the hands with a clean towel. Make sure everyone washes their hands after going to the bathroom, touching trash, and handling raw fish, chicken, or meat. 

The same thing applies after using mobile phones, coughing, blowing, or sneezing, and eating during breaks.


2. Proper Cooking Time

Moving over to the food, you need to focus more on the area where you prepare them. Any food residue or dirty dishes must not come into contact with the ones you are preparing.

Make sure to wipe all counters round-the-clock. Eliminate any pooling liquids and food particles. Sanitize all silverware, knives, plates, and utensils.

Also, replace all prep pans every night.


3. The Need to Chill

Your staff should also practice proper food storage. The way you keep your food can make or break its quality. It can also reduce its nutrient content.

Thus, you need to chill your food whenever necessary. The rule of thumb is not to leave prepared or perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours. Leaving them beyond that timeframe increases the chances of bacteria developing on the food.

If you feel that you left your fish, poultry, meat, or salad exposed for more than two hours, don’t hesitate to discard them. This is better than losing money on a lawsuit if your customers become ill.


4. Monitor Disposable Items

Make sure to monitor all disposable items accordingly. This means replacing used gloves, towels, rags, and sponges.

These things are excellent breeding grounds for bacteria to grow and multiply. Don’t reuse your washable items continually. Instead, consider limiting their use to a minimum. 

Discard your sponges every four to five days. Wash your cleaning rags daily. 


5. Employee Training a Must

Like the engine inside a car, it is your employees that make your restaurant run. Hence, you need to give them proper training in food sanitation.

Start with the behavior of your employees. It is easy for them to disregard certain rules especially if they fail to understand the rules’ significance. Most of the time, it is those small lapses that compound and eventually turn into a health disaster.

Thus, instill in your employees the need to pull back or restrain their hair. This is crucial especially for the cooks and staff who directly handle the food.

Also, everyone in the kitchen must keep their jewelry while they’re working. This covers watches, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. It is best if you can get lockers for your employees for them to have a safe place to keep their valuables.

Additionally, make sure your employees clip their nails. Food can easily squeeze inside long fingernails.


6. Invest in an HACCP System

If you’re managing a large restaurant, you should also look into implementing a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. This system plan helps restaurants manage all safety issues and food hygiene.

Moreover, consider hiring a reputable food safety consultancy to perform food hygiene audits and general risk assessments. 


7. Mind Your Ventilation

When was the last time you checked your restaurant’s ventilation? Make sure it has proper ventilation and room temperatures. This is crucial especially in the areas where you prepare food. 

Take note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released strict standards for restaurant ventilation. They require restaurants to vent all fumes and vapors outside the facility.


8. The Exterior Counts

Food safety and hygiene don’t only involve the kitchen. You must also keep the exterior of the restaurant clean. Thus, maintain the surrounding premises of your restaurant.

Make sure the drainage is working. Don’t leave trash hanging around the back portion. Garbage can easily attract cockroaches and rodents.

Also, consider investing in monthly pest control.


9. Avoid Cross-Contamination

Going back to food preparation, make sure you don’t cross-contaminate them. This happens when you store raw food and cooked food close. 

Keep in mind that bacteria from raw food can transfer to your cooked food. But if you need to store both in the same space, make sure to store them in individual shelving units. Also, your raw food should never be in a spot that is above the cooked ones.

This will help prevent any liquids from dripping over the cooked food. Additionally, make sure to use different cutting boards. Designate one for raw food and another for cooked items.


10. Health is Paramount

Last but not least, the health of everyone on the team is paramount. This means encouraging your staff to stay at home whenever they’re sick.

Moreover, they should never handle food if they have diarrhea. The same thing goes if they have continuous coughing and sneezing, and the common flu. Also, they should stay away from food if they have infected wounds.

If they cut their finger while cutting, make sure they cover it before returning to the kitchen.


Go Beyond Restaurant Food Safety

Understanding restaurant food safety is non-negotiable. If you want your business to grow, ensuring the cleanliness of your food is a must. But food sanitation is only one of the many areas you need to cover.

Check out our other blog posts to learn more about growing your food business. We discuss important topics that will help take your business to the next level.

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