Location, location, location they say, is the key to a successful restaurant. If someone gets food poisoning after visiting your eatery however, you may need to change the mantra to food safety, food safety, food safety. To keep the restaurant busy (while keeping the Health Department away) here are the six factors that are likely compromising your restaurant’s food safety. Not enforcing the cleaning schedule properly. Restaurant managers are solely responsible for ensuring that a cleaning schedule is in place and strictly adhered to. These cleaning schedule pointers, suggested by Reigate-Banstead County Health Department are excellent guidelines for managers.
  • What is to be cleaned? – An inventory of all areas and equipment that need to be cleaned should be documented.
  • When is it to be cleaned? – The frequency of which these areas should be cleaned should be clear.
  • How is it to be cleaned? – The method of cleaning, together with the equipment and detergent/sanitiser to be used, should also be indicated.
  • Who is responsible for cleaning? – Ensuring staff know their duties and possibly using a system for ‘signing off’ the job.
  • How effective has it been? – It is important having set up the procedure to make regular checks to ensure that it is being followed correctly and is achieving the right results.
Inadequate hygiene practices amongst staff. There should be colourful and reader-friendly posters dotted around the restaurant (but mainly in the kitchen and at staff ablution facilities) insisting that staff wash their hands at regular intervals The washing of hands is a powerful mitigator of disease. Read more about why hand-washing is so crucial, here. Dirty grease traps. Grease traps prevent fats, oils and grease (FOG) from entering the delicate drainage system. They catch up to 90% of the FOG.  Grease traps are usually out of sight and really unpleasant to clean, but if not adequately cleaned, can create hygiene havoc. In addition, many pests such as flies, rats and cockroaches are attracted, and just like that, any food safety best practice goes out of the window. To prevent FOG from accumulating, a cleaning specialist will provide your restaurant with a biological dosing system (that’s environmentally friendly to boot), that dispenses a SABS-approved degreaser.
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Lax kitchen cleaning. The Department of Health insists on clean commercial kitchens. Get a pest control specialist to exterminate the usual suspects; clean the kitchen canopy; clean the grease trap, and to supply a regular deep clean of the kitchen. A professional cleaning services expert will do an initial assessment of your premises, and then make suggestions to help you to keep the kitchen spit-spot. Incorrect storage of food. Basic food storage training should be given to all staff. This should include throwing things away that are past their sell-by-dates, using fresh ingredients as much as possible, not reheating and reusing oill and freezing perishables. In addition, meat and poultry should be kept on the bottom rung of the fridge so as to avoid any raw meat runoff from dripping on other food. There are downloadable posters that set out ‘refrigerator rules’. The last thing your restaurant needs is to be associated with food poisoning or the spread of the EColi bacteria. All cleaning is done in-house. Regular deep cleaning of your kitchen is essential, and only professional cleaning companies can assist with this. Commercial cleaning services work around a programme that’s been specially designed for you. The Specialists will send a representative to your restaurant, assess your needs and then devise a maintenance plan. This includes monthly kitchen canopy and grease trap cleaning, as well as regular ablution cleaning. In addition, pest control services are available, making for an integrated food safety plan that will keep your restaurant spotless.

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Image credit - Bayside Restaurant
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