It seems that every few weeks there is a new scandal about a
restaurant or market unintentionally poisoning its customers with food-borne
pathogens. Few things will ruin your reputation faster. There are several ways
you can protect yourself from such incidents, although nothing is every
We all know that fish should smell clean – as if fresh from
the ocean. Vegetables should be in good shape, no mold or rot, and insects
should be non-existent. Arrange for shipments regularly. This lets you serve
the freshest ingredients and avoid some food-related problems.
Your meat, seafood, and poultry should be fresh and not
sitting in bags of questionable liquids. Nothing should smell “off” or funny.
Consider if you would be willing to eat any item before you prepare it for
someone else. It is easier to make a few last minute changes than it is to
explain a case of gastrointestinal distress.
Store Things Properly
It doesn’t matter how fresh your goods are when you get them
if you don’t keep them stored appropriately. Put everything away as soon as you
have inspected them. Clean only what is to be used in short order and keep each
batch separate from the other. Pack raw, cut ingredients on ice and change it
regularly. Use self-draining containers. Maintain recommended temperatures.
Always place meats below other ingredients so that there is
no chance juices can drip down and contaminate other ingredients.
Prepare for Success
Single-use gloves, stiff brushes for root vegetables,
sanitized surfaces and knives, and so forth will ensure that your properly
stored foods arrive at the table clean and safe. Everything should be properly
washed; leafy greens get a leaf by leaf treatment, fruit is again inspected for
soft spots and damage, etc. Prepare small batches so nothing has to sit at room
temperature for long.
Easy to Clean Tables for
There are some tables that are just easier to keep clean.
They have smooth, non-porous surfaces, don’t get cracked or chipped, and can
withstand high temperatures. These are
ideal in any restaurant environment. Your tables should be wiped down with a bleach
solution after every party and any spills should be addressed immediately.
Chairs for a restaurant can be very ornate, especially if
you have a high-end theme. Unfortunately, those swirls and decorations are breeding grounds for
bacteria. If you must have such
furniture, have each piece cleaned with a stiff brush on a regular schedule.
Use a commercial disinfectant or a bleach solution to ensure good results.
Keeping your restaurant free from food-borne pathogens
requires a certain level of commitment. If your employees seem uncertain about
how to do so, have a staff meeting when the restaurant is closed and walk them
through the whole process, slowly. It only takes one customer getting ill and
years of reputation building can fly out the window. That single bad Yelp
review can costs you dearly.