When you’re running a restaurant, a lot of eyes are on you to provide food that is not only tasty, but is also safe to eat. There are measures you can take to keep your customers safe and happy, while not feeling like you constantly have to watch your back. In this post I’ll give you a few quick compliance monitoring tips I observed when I worked at a restaurant.
1. Assign managers & supervisors to food-related control logs.
Temperature checks are not something that should only be done if someone remembers to do them. Without proper monitoring, you could be serving unsafe food to your customers. Even though your managers and supervisors are busy, temperature checks should definitely be on their daily task lists. This is just one more safe guard ensuring temperature checks get done, and get done correctly.
2. Have specific people assigned to each certain control activity during every shift.
Take for example a restaurant with three registers. Whoever is assigned to register 1 is responsible for keeping the bathroom clean. Whoever is assigned to register 2 is responsible for keeping the condiments bar fully stocked. Finally, whoever is on register 3 is responsible for keeping the doors clear of fingerprints. This not only helps keep the restaurant in great condition, it helps the managers with compliance monitoring by enabling them to hold people responsible for the tasks they are assigned.
3. Have a cross contamination policy and educate your employees about it frequently.
I sat down with Tressa Retallick, a Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management graduate of UW-Stout to see what she had to say about food safety. Here is her advice:
“Cross contamination is an issue that can be avoided by enforcing standard procedures. Ensuring that your staff is educated on preventing this issue is crucial. Cross contamination is caused by the transfer of bacteria from contaminated foods (normally raw) to ready-to-eat foods by direct or indirect contact. Direct contact can be using the same cutting board for strawberries as you used for chicken. The establishment should have designated cutting boards for different types of foods and those cutting boards should always be washed and sanitized after use. An easy way to designate kitchen equipment for different foods is by color coding. Indirect contamination can occur, for example, when an employee doesn’t wash his hands or change his gloves after handling raw burger and then prepares a salad. Employees must wash their hands between tasks, as well as changing their gloves at appropriate times.”
With every bit of advice above, you should document it – in pen. Should an incident arise (e.g. a customer complains that there’s a huge mess in the bathroom), you can see who was responsible for what activity at what time. And, sure, maybe your employee just didn’t get to check the bathroom because it’s lunchtime and he was taking orders, but since you wrote everything down, you can prove that.
These are quick tips because you can easily implement them at one restaurant or 1,000. All it takes is a little tweak to your current documenting procedures to have these activities go a long way for you.