If you are in charge of a busy commercial kitchen then you will know the importance of food safety and hygiene standards. Not only do you have a moral obligation to keep your customers healthy, you also have a legal obligation to make sure that safety standards are kept as high as they should be. No restaurant or catering outlet wants to get a reputation for poor safety and cleanliness standards, so it’s important that you go all out to make sure that your working environment is as clean and as safe as possible. Below are our top tips for ensuring you and your staff members create and maintain a safe kitchen in your premises.
Every single new member of staff should undergo food safety training before they are allowed to start work. They should each receive refresher training once a year too as things change and things can also be forgotten. Make sure they understand all about the cold chain, how to handle food and how to make sure that bacteria etc. is not allowed to grow. They should learn how to effectively clean a kitchen so that it is free from germs, and they should also learn about how to minimize trip, slip and fall hazards within the working environment.
Have a clear fire procedure
A kitchen is highly at risk from fire because of all the hot equipment that is contained within it, so it is really important that you have a good fire evacuation procedure should anything happen. Your customers should be able to read the procedure clearly too so make sure the muster point is indicated. You should have a combination of different fire extinguishers for different types of fire, and every member of staff should know what to do in the event of a fire. This should also be part of their induction training so that they are aware of the risks in your particular business.
Have good equipment
A commercial kitchen should have equipment that is in good order. Surfaces and shelving should be made out of stainless steel as this is the material that is the easiest to disinfect and therefore keep away germs and bacteria. Your fridges, freezers and ovens should be regularly serviced, and there should be a rigorous cleaning rota for areas such as the kitchen sink and the floor which are both breeding grounds for germs.
Set and maintain the procedure
Your health and safety procedure should be set out clearly in your employee’s handbooks so that they can refer to it whenever they wish. Make it clear that the rules are important and if they are broken then you need to have a disciplinary procedure in place. Keep cleaning rotas up on the wall, and be ready for an unannounced health and safety inspection – at any given time they could turn up.
All employees should wash their hands during work
Another important thing to keep in mind while working in a commercial kitchen is that hand washing stations should always be within close proximity of the kitchen employees. Their hand washing should be frequent, because you know it is obvious. If an event requires indoor catering, there should be hand sinks nearby either in the washroom or kitchen. Whereas, for outdoor catering the employees should be provided with portable hand sinks or a set up mobile hand washing station. Moreover, maintaining cleanliness in commercial kitchens is a legal requirement. So you should make sure your kitchen crew stays clean and keep those pesky germs away.
Keeping your commercial kitchen sparkling clean is the most important thing you can do for your business – how could you improve the standards in your kitchen?
Today’s feature writer, Leslie Kramer is a professional chef who often blogs about food and lifestyle online. She writes for USA Equipment Direct which deals in a range of stainless work tables for restaurants. Her hobbies include painting and sculpting. Log on to usaequipmentdirect.com to know more about her work. You can also follow her on twitter @les_kramer.