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
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
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