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Est. 1996

Issue 150

August 2009

Cooking Up
A Clean Reputation

By Rachel Powell,
Market Manager, Food Service, JohnsonDiversey UK





Recent high profile cases involving restaurants and hotels have highlighted once again the importance of hygiene in food safety and the well-being of customers. The effects can be costly in terms of lost revenue and, particularly in the case of better known establishments, all-important reputation.

Faced with a food safety problem at your restaurant or hotel it is tempting to try and shift the blame. If you are high profile chef you will probably assume that customers think the food is all-important. But this should not be at the expense of downplaying the importance that other parts of the business have on reputation. Most people if they become ill after eating out will blame the restaurant, irrespective of whether the underlying fault is with poor hygiene or the food itself. Besides, this will only come out later and by that time the damage will have been done.

In many respects the two go hand in hand. Poor hygiene can cause problems with the food, and vice versa. Bad practice is bad practice. Customers won't make the distinction if they are up all night being ill.

So what to do? First, all restaurants should make cleaning and hygiene central to their food safety procedures. Of course, food safety is more than about cleaning and the appropriate food storage, handling and preparation processes should also be employed. Any decent chef or cook knows and understands this. What they may be less clear on is the importance of overall hygiene, not just to food safety but to the overall performance and perception of their business.

Good restaurant hygiene starts with good personal hygiene. It is vital that staff understand that their own behaviour affects the workplace. It should go without saying, but making sure that staff wash their hands regularly, and always after a break, going to the toilet or switching between tasks in the kitchen or elsewhere, is a minimum requirement.

Implementing good hygiene into kitchens need not be onerous. There are plenty of high quality products and tools to choose from and the leading suppliers will be able to offer advice, technical support and training to ensure best practice and optimum performance. It pays to work with a supplier that offers a solutions-based approach so that cleaning and hygiene is implemented with the best interests of the business as its main objective.

All areas and surfaces should be cleaned regularly and frequently with the appropriate tool. Providing a detailed list of procedures is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that there is almost certainly a product with a unique and carefully devised formulation for every cleaning task in the kitchen, washroom and front of house.

In the kitchen an essential weapon in the armoury will be an effective sanitiser that when used regularly will kill microbes and infections on hard surfaces. For front of house hard surface cleaning cloths, mops and other tools based around ultra microfibre can be used to remove dirt and bacteria with water alone and offer a quick, reliable and high performance alternative to cleaning with chemicals. They also avoid the risk of any chemical odours or residues spoiling the dining experience for guests.

Even if your restaurant or hotel never has a serious food safety problem there are still good reasons to take hygiene seriously. Independent research commissioned by JohnsonDiversey shows that 60 per cent of customers who enter a restaurant that they perceive to be unclean will leave without ordering, before they have completed their meal or will order less than they originally intended. Either way this adds up to lost business for the restaurant that could be easily reversed if more attention was paid to hygiene. The cleanliness of tables, including table cloths, cutlery and floors were the three most significant factors in assessing the restaurant's cleanliness and hygiene.

The decor and overall appearance of the restaurant is important to the customer but this is something that is generally not changed overnight. Cleaning on the other hand takes places every day, and should be more frequent in key areas, which means that it can make a big difference in a positive or negative way very quickly. Cleaning public areas frequently and appropriately when guests are present need not spoil their enjoyment and can even be turned into an advantage because it will be very obvious that hygiene is taken seriously by staff and management.

Further information on 0800 525525 or at www.johnsondiversey.co.uk





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Mood Food is published by FSR, London, England © 2009


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