Business Insights

How Prioritizing Food Safety Can Boost Your Reputation

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Article By NCCO

Food safety standards have been around for centuries to keep diners safe as they enjoy their meal. The rules as we know them today were established in 1938, when the FDA was given oversight of U.S. standards. Since then, restaurants have only gotten better at prioritizing the safety of their diners and making sure their kitchens are sanitary and safe.

That doesn’t mean food safety is no longer an issue, however. It simply highlights the importance of strong food safety practices in restaurant kitchens, the need to remain diligent with staff so no guest ends up sick, and how quickly a restaurant’s reputation can falter when food safety is not taken seriously.

The Importance of Food Safety in Your Restaurant

Here’s the thing – food safety is one of the most important concerns in the kitchen, but also one of the easiest pieces for food service staff to ignore. When a restaurant kitchen is swamped with orders in the middle of a rush, it can be easy to cut corners just to get an order out the door.

Process and Standards for Food Safety

Proper food storage practices include never letting perishable food sit out for more than two hours and following FIFO (First In, First Out) practices to ensure nothing is served past its due date or forgotten on the shelf.

  • Monitoring food and equipment temperatures – keep information on file for 6+ months.
  • Proper hygiene – always wash hands and surfaces!
  • Avoidance of cross-contamination
  • Employee Illness protocols – sick employees should never be at work
  • Cleanliness and sanitation –Keep prep and service areas, utensils, and equipment clean

Easy, right? And the benefits are manifold: Not only is your kitchen sure to pass your next food safety inspection, but you’ll know that you won’t put your guests in danger and risk ruining your hard-earned reputation with poor food handling practices or contaminated kitchen surfaces.


How to Handle Food Safety Incidents

Even with all processes and standards in place, food safety incidents can still occur. Accidents happen. And the unfortunate truth is that when you’re dealing with food, especially in restaurants serving raw or undercooked menu items, there are some things for which you simply cannot plan.

Should this happen, handling the situation in a quick and professional manner to protect your reputation is key.

How to Handle a Food Safety Crisis

  • Respond immediately – Identify the problem and its scope, and then contain the risk by isolating contaminated food and cleaning everything the contamination might have touched
  • Investigate and correct – By conducting a thorough investigation, you can to identify the root cause and implement corrective action so it doesn’t happen again
  • Communicate and recover – Being transparent and taking responsibility is hard, but it will earn you respect in the long run. Communicate with customers promptly and transparently and let them know the steps you are taking to remedy the situation
  • Prevent reoccurrence – Establish a comprehensive food safety training program to ensure the same issue doesn’t arise again. Develop a detailed food safety plan for everyone in the kitchen and conduct regular food safety audits. Maintain a clean and sanitized kitchen, cook food to proper temperatures and store food appropriately as outlined above

It’s important to identify the cause and correct the problem as quickly as possible to limit negative effects. The best thing a restaurant manager can do in this situation is review procedures and implement an action plan to address the issue. After the situation is resolved, get feedback from the team on how they addressed the problem, and how they will mitigate future problems to let customers know they are in good hands.


Food Safety Products

NCCO offers a DateIt™ Food Rotation Labeling System to improve inventory management, prevent cross-contamination, and help keep customers safe with a variety of FDA-approved styles. Speak with your Shamrock Foods Sales Representative about food safety solutions for your operation.

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