Experienced managers know that the greatest challenge in the business, when it comes to food safety is training. Restaurant and hotel staff turnover rates are the highest of all businesses (generally 300 percent). Restaurateurs who spend time and effort to train properly can expect to loose a well-trained employee within four to five months to their competitors. The key to food safety is increasing awareness – leading by example, and constantly reminding employees that cleanliness bring customers back.
Like most other cities in Canada, Toronto and other major urban centres in the province or for that matter in all law and order states all over the world, have laws in place to ensure public food safety.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) procedures play a major role in the legislation but are time-consuming and difficult to enforce.
Good safety programs rely on communication. Given the fact that many minimum wage employees possess a limited knowledge of English (at least in English speaking countries), proper training becomes a time-consuming proposition. In other countries the problem may be the same or even more difficult to solve.
The least expensive and most effective way to improve food safety is proper and frequent hand washing. Even this seemingly logical act seems to be difficult to enforce. Experienced managers know well what actually happens in many kitchens and poor sanitation habits of servers after using washrooms.
Foodstuffs in North America are as safe as one can reasonably expect from perishable food, what causes food poisoning is careless human intervention. Hand washing breaks the cycle.
Every year, some 76 million North Americans get sick from food-borne illness. Unreported cases would bring this number easily to 80 million. On a continent with ample water supply, there is virtually no excuse to run an unsanitary food operation.
Restaurant patrons check out the cleanliness of an establishment and most, if not all, will refrain from returning to an establishment if they perceive it to be managed with little respect to sanitation. Some customers even go as far as to inspect the washroom facilities before deciding to patronize the establishment – the logic being, if public washrooms are clean, the kitchen must be clean too- while the logic is flawed, as a restaurant owner it behoves to have super clean washrooms.
Sanitation education is generally free through chemical suppliers and/or local health boards. There are many tools an operator can use to facilitate operating a food-safe-restaurant-colour coded cutting boards, digital temperature monitoring equipment and clear storage containers.
Here are the most important aspects of running a food-safe restaurant:
- Insist that all employees wash their hands properly and frequently when warranted
- Maintain correct temperatures for food and avoid the danger zone 4 – 60 C.
- During operational meetings stress the importance of cleanliness and your commitment to run a food-safe restaurant
- Develop a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule
- Pest-proof the restaurant and contract pest professionals to available if and when a problem occurs
- Only purchase from reliable, reputable and approved sources
Consumers patronize restaurants where wholesome, healthy, nutritious, and safe food is served professionally.
Sanitation and Hygiene