Rats in the Kitchen are no Laughing Matter
Within the hospitality industry, workplace hygiene is such a critical factor that it warrants its own specialized training program, which is specifically designed to ensure staff are aware of all operational procedures for maintaining a healthy workspace. That’s because nothing is more important than health and safety. Customers might be able to forgive bad service, or even a bad meal, but they won’t soon forget a bout of food poisoning. A reputation for below par health standards spells death for a business.
Such is the severity of transgression that being forced to close down could actually be considered the best-case scenario. Food poisoning can sometimes pose a severe health risk, especially in the case of the elderly and children. In such cases, employees could find themselves responsible for more than just a lost job or the closure of a business.
TripAdvisor.com has demonstrated the power of social media to punish and reward efficient service in the hospitality industry. Restaurants throughout Australia can expect the same treatment from the likes of Eatability.com.au. If there’s a rat in your kitchen, the internet will know, and putting a chef’s hat on its head and claiming it’s the lead character from Pixar’s Ratatouille won’t save you.
Examples of Hospitality Hygiene Procedures
Maintaining a healthy workspace requires close monitoring of the work environment, the food and the people handling the food.
Monitoring the staff
Staff members are expected to maintain personal hygiene and a clean workspace at all times. Customers would hope to see them wearing gloves when handling the food, or washing their hands with antiseptic.
Monitoring the food
Food that has spoilt and food that isn’t fresh are easily spotted and subsequently disposed of, but that’s not always the case with food that’s been contaminated. According to Australian Training Solutions, contamination can occur in several ways:
- Physical objects present in the food that shouldn’t be.
- Contact with harmful chemicals like pesticides.
- Contact with harmful bacteria, which is especially dangerous because the food will often look and taste fine.
Hospitality hygiene procedures stipulate all the measures that should be taken to prevent contamination, such as ensuring that:
- Food is kept covered.
- Food meant to be served hot is heated so thoroughly that the customer can see the steam rising from it (envirocleanfm.com.au).
- Food which requires cooking, such as raw meat, is kept separate from food that doesn’t, and cut on separate chopping boards.
Protecting the working environment
Many restaurants now have open kitchens to give customers peace of mind, but the kitchen isn’t the only place they’ll be concerned about. Dirty bathrooms are a major problem, as most customers who visit them and find them uncomfortably unclean are likely to never return.
Bad impressions stick, but failing to maintain health standards goes beyond bad business. This is why the businesses in the hospitality industry need to ensure that their workers are well-trained in health and safety procedures.
Matthew Flax writes for Now Learning, which promotes tertiary education in Australia with a range of courses and degrees, such as those in tourism and hospitality.