To your customer, cleanliness and freshness are the most important factors when choosing your restaurant, cafe or hotel. Making your dishes safe starts with you and your staff’s personal hygiene.
What used to be as simple as ordering and unpacking is now a multi-step process. In the era of COVID-19, people now have the added pressure of finding places that are still open, ordering from more limited menus and, most importantly, keeping the eating experience germ-free. And while most aren’t complaining, it just adds stress to an already stressful time. There’s an opportunity for operators to provide the types of "little extras" that can make the safe transition of food into the home just a little bit easier.
Personal hygiene is often the cause of many food poisoning cases. However, it tends to be de-prioritised when it comes to food safety. Observing and monitoring your kitchen staff’s personal hygiene is crucial in preventing food contamination. Let’s start by taking a look at what your crew should wear...
- UNIFORMS. Wear a clean uniform every day and only put it on at the workplace.
- APRONS. Different full aprons should be worn at different prep stations (e.g. seafood and vegetables).
- GLOVES. Different disposable gloves to be used when handling raw and cooked food.
- SHOES. Wear only non-slip, closed shoes.
In addition to proper attire, there are simple actions that can have a huge impact on the quality and hygiene of your food. We also suggest conducting regular checks every morning to ensure that your crew is disciplined in maintaining their own personal hygiene.
DO. DON’T. Keep your fingernails short and clean. Sneeze into food. Keep your hair and beards neat and tidy – long hair should be tied up. Scratch your body when cooking/serving. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap. Rub your face/nose on your shoulder. Work on a clean surface. Clean your ears with your fingers. Use different plastic chopping boards and knives for cooked and raw food. Wipe off perspiration with your bare hands. Wear accessories. Come to work if you are sick.
Washing your hands in a commercial kitchen may seem obvious, but now more than ever it is the top priority. Here are our tips for proper handwashing practices:
- Use designated hand sanitiser solutions/soap with warm water and a scrubbing brush.
- Lather and scrub for at least 20 seconds.
- Dry hands with a clean, disposable cloth.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?
- Before you start your work in the kitchen.
- After going to the bathroom.
- After returning to work from a break or smoking/drinking/eating.
- After handling dirty utensils.
- After touching your hair/face/mouth.
- After coughing or sneezing.
- Before and after handling raw food to avoid cross-contamination with cooked and ready-to-eat food.
- After emptying the rubbish.
- As often as is required to keep your hands clean as you work.
It gets pretty hectic during dining hours, and the last thing you want is for somebody to get injured in the kitchen. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of such accidents occurring:
- DO NOT RUSH. Do not run around in the kitchen. While you need to serve your diners in a timely manner, staying calm and composed will speed up the process – and can prevent unnecessary messes or accidents.
- ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE ON THE STOVE. Do not leave stoves unattended – a naked fire may soon escalate into a burning kitchen.
- BE CAREFUL WITH THE GAS. You should also turn off the gas when not using the stove to prevent any fires or explosions.
- STORE DANGEROUS OBJECTS SAFELY. Do not place sharp or hot objects in exposed or hidden corners. During dining hours, kitchen staff may be unaware of the danger. Keep such objects in safe spots.
- GET THE RIGHT TOOLS. Use the correct equipment and utensils for their intended purposes.
- KEEP A FIRST AID KIT NEARBY. Always place a first aid kit and fire extinguisher within reach. Ensure that neither are expired.