One case of cross-contamination at your restaurant can lead to food poisoning. If the affected person makes the right noises this can seriously damage your reputation and attract the interest of the regulatory authorities.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media to damage your reputation. It’s surprising how many people one person can speak to. That’s why you must implement the following five tips to prevent cross-contamination and enjoy a successful restaurant experience.
- Use The Right Equipment
You can use any equipment to prepare food in your restaurant. However, using high-quality industrial food machinery will make the job easier. After all, it’s designed to handle the production of food on a large scale.
More importantly, the right equipment is easy to clean and ensures you have separate working stations for all the different dishes or stages of preparation. This dramatically reduces the risk of cross-contamination as the equipment is all separate, ensuring the food remains the same.
It’s a simple thing but surprisingly effective at eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination. The right equipment actually makes everyone’s life easier.
- Personal Hygiene
Most bacteria can flourish on work surfaces and food, or even your hands. But, the process of washing your hands with soap and warm water kills the majority of these bacteria. Preventing cross-contamination is as simple as creating a good hygiene plan in the kitchen.
That means washing your hands before you touch food and then washing them again after you’ve handled the food. This makes it very difficult for cross-contamination to happen and it’s surprisingly easy. All you have to do is make sure your staff are aware of the hygiene protocol and stick to it.
It’s not just a matter of washing hands. Bacteria can also live on the surfaces. That means they need to be regularly washed over with warm water, a cloth, and some disinfectant spray. This will help to eliminate any bacteria and keep the food safe to consume.
- Store Things Properly
Preparing food in the right area is a good starting point. But, you also need to consider where the food is stored. Chilled food needs to be kept in the refrigerator, uncooked food must be kept lower in the refrigerator than cooked items. In addition, food stored in cupboards should be kept in sealed containers. This makes it much harder for the foods to come into contact with each other.
As an added bonus the food is less appealing to pests, decreasing the likelihood of a pest issue. This is important as a pest problem can give you and your staff a serious headache, not to mention potentially close your business down.
- Wash Down At The End Of The Day
Alongside separating food and keeping areas clean, you need to make sure the kitchen is fully washed down at the end of the day. There are too many places where food can hide. This causes bacteria to build up which could be an issue when serving food. In addition, the debris left behind can simply get into the fresh food, affecting the taste and the freshness. That’s just as bad for your reputation as a case of food poisoning.
It’s important that all staff take the time to thoroughly wash down the surfaces at the end of the day and ensure the kitchen is spotless ready for the next session.
- Apply The Same Principles To The Restaurant
Most cases of cross-contamination start in the kitchen. But, that doesn’t mean this is the only place where these standards should be adopted. It’s important to ensure that the main eating area is also washed down thoroughly between sessions and that all tables and chairs are wiped over with disinfectant spray.
This ensures the dining area is bacteria-free, reducing the likelihood of cross-contamination. Don’t forget that having safe food preparation procedures isn’t enough. What initially counts to the customer is how your restaurant appears. They need to feel instantly that it is comfortable, welcoming, and clean. This will encourage them to sample your food and perhaps even create a positive review.
You should note that the preparation and hygiene of the restaurant should extend to the toilets. Most customers will use the toilet and are likely to base their visit on the quality of the facility.
You don’t need to provide a royal throne, but you do need to ensure that the toilets are clean and everything the customer needs is available. This will encourage them to enjoy the experience at your restaurant
Of course, your procedures should be designed to avoid any cross-contamination. But, if you should discover an issue it’s important to deal with it promptly. This will help to maintain your reputation and ensure the issue doesn’t happen again.