In business, it’s important to always put your customers first. But what happens when you don’t? Well, unfortunately, things can go downhill pretty fast. In this post, we’ll outline 7 deadly sins that restaurants should never commit if they want to keep their customers and employees safe. Keep reading to learn more!
Poor hygiene practices – including unclean hands, improper food handling, and poor personal hygiene
From Norovirus to E. coli, there are countless ways that poor hygiene can lead to a foodborne illness outbreak. And while no restaurant is immune to the occasional slip-up, there are some hygiene mistakes that are simply unforgivable.
Hands are one of the most common sources of contamination in the kitchen. That’s why it’s so important for employees to wash their hands thoroughly and often. Unfortunately, many restaurants cut corners when it comes to handwashing, resulting in countless cases of food poisoning each year.
Improper food handling
The way you handle food can make all the difference in preventing foodborne illness. That’s why it’s so important to avoid cross-contamination and to cook food to the correct temperature. Unfortunately, many restaurants fail to take these basic precautions, leading to serious illness among customers.
Poor personal hygiene
Personal hygiene is just as important in the kitchen as it is anywhere else. Employees should be encouraged to practice good hygiene habits such as regularly washing their hands and face, and wearing clean clothes. Unfortunately, many restaurants overlook these simple steps, putting both employees and customers at risk.
“Restaurants play a critical role in ensuring proper hygiene practices are followed. This is essential not only for the safety of diners but also for the reputation of the restaurant”, mentions a restaurant entrepreneur from Arthur Street Café.
Serving expired food
Many people don’t realize that serving expired food is not only a health hazard, but it can also be deadly. Each year, statistics show that there are over 100,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths due to foodborne illness.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that there are an estimated 1.2 million cases of foodborne illness each year in Australia. This results in an estimated 6,000 hospitalizations and 95 deaths annually.
Serving expired food is one of the deadly sins restaurants should never commit because it puts both your customers and employees at risk. When food expires, bacteria starts to grow and multiply. This can cause serious health problems, especially for those with compromised immune systems.
In some cases, it can even be fatal. If you’re serving expired food, you’re not only putting your customers’ health at risk, but also your employees. Foodborne illness is costly, too.
The Australian government estimates that each year, foodborne illnesses cost the country $1.2 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity. Not to mention the damage to your reputation if someone gets sick from eating at your restaurant.
Not following food safety guidelines
When it comes to food safety, restaurants can never be too careful. From handling raw meat to storing leftovers, there are a number of potential hazards that can put customers and employees at risk. The following are some of the most common food safety offenses, as well as tips on how to avoid them.
One of the most common mistakes restaurants make is failing to properly clean and sanitize surfaces. This includes everything from cutting boards and countertops to utensils and dishware. In addition, restaurants should also regularly clean and disinfect areas like bathrooms and break rooms to prevent the spread of germs.
Another common mistake is failing to properly store food. This includes both refrigerated and non-refrigerated items. Raw meat, for example, should always be stored below cooked meat to prevent cross-contamination. In addition, all food should be labeled with the date it was prepared or purchased to ensure that it is used within a safe timeframe.
Finally, restaurants should never serve food that has been mishandled or that has passed its expiration date. This includes both cooked and uncooked food. If a customer complains about illness after eating at your restaurant, be sure to investigate the matter immediately. By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your customers and employees safe from foodborne illness.
Allowing pests in the restaurant
Pests can contaminate food, spread disease, and cause extensive damage to the restaurant’s physical structure. Given the potential risks, it is essential that restaurants take proactive steps to prevent pests from gaining access to their premises.
Common sense exclusion strategies like sealing cracks and crevices, removing potential food sources, and regular cleaning and sanitation will go a long way towards keeping pests at bay. While some restaurateurs may be tempted to cut corners when it comes to pest control, doing so is ultimately a recipe for disaster.
Having an inadequate fire evacuation plan
A single spark can easily cause a devastating kitchen fire, putting customers and employees at risk. That’s why it’s so important for restaurants to have a comprehensive fire evacuation plan in place. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t give fire safety the attention it deserves. As a result, they may find themselves ill-prepared in the event of an emergency.
Never underestimate the power of a fire. A small flame can quickly grow into an inferno, engulfing everything in its path. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place for quickly evacuating the premises. Every restaurant should have a clear and well-marked exit route, and all employees should be trained on how to use it.
Never assume that someone else will take care of fire safety for you. The responsibility for keeping your restaurant safe from fire lies squarely on your shoulders. You can’t simply rely on the local fire department to keep you out of harm’s way – you need to take proactive steps to protect your business. That means having an up-to-date sprinkler system, maintaining clear exits, and investing in quality fire extinguishers.
Fire safety is no joking matter – but by taking these steps, you can help ensure that your restaurant is prepared for anything.
Failing to keep clean premises
Failing to keep clean premises is a deadly sin that restaurants should never commit. Not only does it put customers at risk, but it can also lead to asbestos exposure and other health hazards
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and exposure to it can cause lung cancer and other serious illnesses. It can be released into the air when flooring or walls are disturbed”, mention asbestos testing and inspections specialists from Northern Rivers Demolition and Asbestos Removal.
In addition to asbestos, restaurant owners need to be aware of the many other health hazards that can be present in their establishments. These include mold, lead paint, and rodents. Carpet and flooring can be breeding grounds for mold, while lead paint is often present in older buildings.
“Regular cleaning and maintenance can help to prevent mold and lead paint from becoming a problem”, adds carpet flooring expert from Chapman Floor Coverings.
Not checking references or performing background checks on employees
One of the most important things a restaurant can do is to properly vet their employees. This means checking references and performing background checks. Unfortunately, far too many restaurants skimp on this process in an effort to save time or money. This can have deadly consequences.
In 2015, a server at a Texas Roadhouse was arrested for drugging and sexually assaulting a co-worker. The server had been hired without having his references checked. A year later, an employee of a Waffle House in Georgia was arrested for sexually assaulting a female customer. Again, the employee had been hired without having his references checked.
Sadly, these are just two examples of what can happen when restaurants fail to properly vet their employees. By taking the time to check references and perform background checks, restaurants can help protect their employees and customers from harm.
Restaurant owners and employees play a crucial role in keeping customers safe. By avoiding the deadly sins of restaurant safety, you can create a safer environment for everyone involved. Implementing these safeguards may seem daunting, but it’s definitely worth it to protect your customers and employees.