This year’s events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have had a severe impact on the catering, restaurant and hospitality industry. Government mandated closures and requirements as well as cancelled reservations were main issues to face.
In many countries restrictions have been lifted for the summer and food businesses had time to participate in the restart. Thankfully, the food industry has always been a sector where hygiene is a high priority and due to that is well acquainted with general preventive practices and Good Hygiene Practices.
This new reality certainly put an extra emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness. Staff and guests will want to know and see what is being done to ensure their health. It’s on you to uphold hygiene requirements to keep everyone safe, but also to keep the reputation of your business intact.
We have gathered some information about what the current expectations for hygiene measures relating to food businesses are.
Hygiene Culture – a team effort
Coming from a phase of uncertainty, it’s important to develop a clear plan on how to improve the hygiene situation in your establishment. You’ll need to assess risks and measures and keep track of your progress throughout the days, weeks and months to come.
We’ve mentioned the importance of working on measures like this as a team in previous blogs already. Just like a food safety culture, there needs to be a hygiene culture through all ranks of your staff – it’s a team effort!
In times of extreme vigilance, first impressions are crucial. Regaining the confidence of customers from before the shutdown is the ultimate goal. But remember, anything that doesn’t meet hygiene standards just creates another hurdle for your business, when there are already many other obstacles in the way of survival!
5 Hygiene Practices for your Food Businesses
1. Training and Communication
In the area of food safety, much emphasis is already placed on training and education. The same should happen for practices related to hygiene as well. Especially staff who previously had not to deal with cleaning duties might need a refresher course.
Clear communication about measures taken to protect them is key to assure guests and staff alike that everything is being done to keep them safe.
2. Social distancing
Local governments and health authorities have issued different requirements for social distancing in general, but also for food businesses. Familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to your establishment, assess the local situation, and make sure there is enough room to sit and move around.
Trained staff helps immensely to support the procedures.
3. Mask up!
Maintaining social distancing of staff and guests will not be feasible at all times. Therefore, using masks for staff, that has to serve all over the premises, is a good solution for everyone’s protection.
Your staff should be sure on how to use the masks and when to change them – you want the measure to be effective!
4. Hand Hygiene - What’s on your hand?!
Hands are a main path of infections and spreading pathogens. It’s crucial to regularly wash hands and use hand disinfectants to limit everyone’s exposure.
Make sure to give access to disinfectants, e.g. as wall-mounted dispensers or free-standing hygiene stations.
The right choice of product is key, make sure it’s effective against coronavirus and has a high enough alcohol content (over 70%).
5. Disinfecting (hand contact) surfaces
Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can remain on surfaces for several days. Especially mentioned are stainless steel and plastic, but other smooth surfaces fall into that category too.
This calls for regular disinfection with a focus on surfaces with frequent hand contact. This should be reflected in the cleaning plan, including disinfection times throughout the day to reduce the risk of transmission.
Sensire, always on your side
Checklists are said to be the foundation of a restaurant system. They allow you to set up standards for cleanliness, product quality or monitoring of critical control points. You can literally checklist anything, e.g. new processes for cleanliness and disinfection.
Implementing and carrying out a cleaning plan, hygiene measures or any other kind of tasks, mostly depends on the staff responsible for it. If you can’t make sure the necessary procedures are performed every day, everywhere, they become less useful.
Now, don’t go running around your business with pen and paper and draw up checklists to copy for everyone. There is a better option, a complete digital management solution from Sensire.
The cloud-connected Sensire Quality App and Dashboard enable you to streamline the whole process of creating and performing checklists, tasks, monitoring and reporting. Easy to use confirmation steps included, ensuring easy compliance and accountability for top results.
This new COVID-19 reality comes with a lot of uncertainties, make sure that the safest possible restaurant environment for your staff and guests is not one of them.
If you have any questions, want to see how we might be able to help you in digitalizing your food safety management or HACCP and quality processes, please get in touch with us, ask for a demo or book a consultation.